44 thoughts on “Elie Wiesel’s Decidedly Mixed Legacy – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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    1. @Silene:

      Why? Elie Wiesel lied about the Palestinians, the Lebanese, and the Iranians with every breath he could muster.

      He stood with people who pretended that Zionism didn’t and doesn’t call for the wholesale ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. People who want to wipe Iran off of the map.

      Wiesel wasn’t a perpetual victim the rest of his life just because he survived the holocaust. He was a morally perverted man instead.

      May his memory be erased. Isn’t that what they say in the context of Judaism? May his memory be erased?

      1. @ Kyle Renner:

        May his memory be erased.

        this is the 2nd time I’ve warned you that yr comments have crossed the line of decency. I have increasingly less tolerance for it. The next one will earn you moderation.

        You can criticize someone with whom you disagree w/o bring offensive. If you can’t you don’t belong here.

        Do not appropriate the sayings of another culture or religion unless you understand the nuances of how they are used. You don’t.

  1. Some may have risen to heights from ashes, and in their old age perhaps even fallen again.

    Many, many others, will never in their lives raise beyond pettiness and jealously.

    Any way you look at it, it’s pretty sad.

  2. It was only a few weeks ago that Hedy Epstein, who was also a holocaust survivor, died. The contrast could not be starker as between her and Elie Wiesel.

    Hedy Epstein was one of the children on the Kindertransport to England which the Zionists had opposed (on the grounds that if Jewish children were to be saved then Palestine should do the saving). Ben Gurion infamously declared to the Jewish Agency Executive that:

    If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.

    Hedy Epstein, till the end of her life, devoted herself to opposing racism and injustice. Wiesel used his experience of Auschwitz, not to generalise the campaign against injustice to all groups, including the Palestinians, but to provide Israel with a moral credit it didn’t deserve, despite the fact that he was well aware of Zionist indifference and worse to the Holocaust when it was actually happening.

    Hajo Meyer who died nearly two years ago was, like Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz. He too used his experiences to rail against the Judeo Nazi policies of Israel. Wiesel will be praised by all manner of war criminals who disguise themselves as statesmen, but he ended up a grubby manipulator of history for immoral purposes.

    1. I was thinking about Hedy Epstein too yesterday when I heard about the death of Elie Wiesel, and to show the constrast of these two Holocaust survivors (I know many consider Epstein wasn’t a ‘reel’ survivor’ ….), one of them making a living out of it (Wiesel was paid unto 500.000 dollars to speak about the unspeakable ….), the other being active in many human causes, nothing better than this video: Heby Epstein interrupting Elie Wiesel during one of his self-deserving speeches in Saint Louis in december 2009, one year after Cast Lead: “Breaking your silence and come with us to Gaza” (min 4:25). Wiesel just says “I heard you” and turns his head.

    2. I have read “Leben auf dem Acker des Todes” which is about Auschwitz Monowitz and the death marches from that camp and Birkenau to the railhead at Kattowice where inmates were pressed into cattle cars like sardines in a tin (standing room only). My dad who was also in Monowitz is mentioned in that book albeit under a different name. He survived only because he stood at the center of the humanity in his cattle car. When they arrived at Buchenwald most of the men of his car were frozen to death.
      One cannot possibly compare the experiences of Wiesel and Epstein. In fact I hold that such a comparison is immoral. Wiesel experienced hell. Epstein experienced unpleasant English weather.

  3. This is what called in Hebrew “זקנתו מביישת את בחרותו”. The later deeds embarrasses the early ones

    1. As usual, Richard comes out as a hypocrite!

      Less than a month ago, Richard wrote on Twitter “Be proud of desecrating name of dead. Shame. Are you human?” https://twitter.com/richards1052/status/744739983441956865

      So… it isn’t OK to write about Jo Cox b/c you agree with her opinion but it is completely fine to desecrate Elie Wiesel because you dislike his opinion?

      I don’t expect this comment to last very long. Freedom of speech is something Richard promote only where it fits his opinion, not when he is on the receiving side of criticism!

      1. @Jo Cox never joined the board of a settler group which uses fraud to steal Palestinian homes & replace them with Jews. Jo Cox never supported wars & said she could never criticize her country for its them. Jo Cox never supported a UK terror group as Wiesel did the Irgun in the 1940s. Jo Cox never said she only cared about Brits or Christians & the rest can go take a hike as Wiesel did to Palestinians & Roma.

        My critique has always acknowledged the importance of Wiesel’s work earlier in his career. It is balanced & careful. I’m evaluating his full life & legacy, warts & all. If you don’t like it, too bad.

        1. I guess it isn’t about the desecration of the dead but the desecration of someone who supports the same ideals/ideas as you do. If someone desecrate a person you disagree with, then it is open season.

          Your tweet then should have been “Be proud of desecrating name of SOMEONE I AGREE WITH. Shame. Are you human? (SINCE YOU DISAGREE WITH ME, How dare you???).
          You couldn’t care less about the honor of a dead person! Just used it as a way to look down at someone from a moral point of view. Than did the exact same which makes you a hypocrite.

          Same old liberal ownership of truth and moral.

      2. @Hasbara:

        Yawn. And the hypocritical slander campaign commences once again!

        Jo Cox wasn’t Elie Wiesel. Everything said about “the weasel” (no offense to the mustelid) here is accurate.


        1. @ Malka: The U.S. supported the Shah who killed thousands of his countrymen. We also killed 300 Iranians when we downed an Iranian civilian jet. We also supported Iraq in its war with Iran, which killed 1 million Iranians.

          Israel has killed scores of Iranians in terror attacks & assassinations by Israeli proxies recruited by Mossad: MeK & Jundallah among them.

          1. You might also point out the Iran is not responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. At least there is no evidence for such a claim. Though you are correct that the US and its proxy Israel is responsible for the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands Iranian.

    1. @Malsbara:


      Despite the fact that no Americans were “murdered” in Beirut, the rest of the allegations claim that Shi’a Iran was working hand-in-glove with Salafi Jihadist and Wahhabi organizations.

      To be sure, only a demented pro-Israel hack could actually believe that kind of nonsense.

      Elie Wiesel? Just a demented hack for the so-called “Jewish state”. A relentless, fanatical propagandist seeking to demonize and dehumanize the Palestinian and Lebanese people, people who’ve had to defend themselves from repeated acts of Israeli aggression.

      A fanatical propagandist against the Iranian people. What does it say about a man’s morality, that he would rather see a hot war against a country as opposed to any kind of legitimate détente?

      May Wiesel’s memory be erased. Enough said.

      1. Don’t erase him; remember him in how he used his prestige to support a Zionism that did nothing to save him from the camp, because Sighet Jews were not Zionist.

  4. Elie Wiesel also supported and defended the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, years before he got the Nobel Peace Prize (if at least they’d given him the litterature Prize ….), and of course he also supported the American invasion of Iraq.
    Here’s what Wiesel said in front of a Jewish audience in 1972 (quoted in: “Elie Wiesel and the Politics of Moral Leadership” by Mark Chmiel, on the net, chapter 4: The Diaspora Apologist: Israel and the Fate of the Palestinians):
    “My loyalty to my people, to our people and to Israel, comes first and prevents me from saying anything critical of Israel outside Israel. That is the price I pay for living in the Diaspora. As a Jew I see myself as a ‘melitz yesher’, a defender of Israel. I defend even her mistakes. Yes, I feel that as a Jew who resides outside Israel I must identify with whatever Israel does – even with her errors. That’s the least Jews in the Diaspora can do for Israel: either speak up in praise or keep silent” (p. 87).
    On the invasion of Lebanon Wiesel said (beginning of Sep 1982) that Israel “is forced to take cruel and distressing measures” and he claimed that the anti-Israeli feelings that arouse at that moment were based on anti-semitism, and that no country had the right to give moral lessons to Israel.
    In the “Industry of the Holocaust”,Normal Finkelstein also discusses the role of Elie Wiesel in the fact that the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC initially only mentioned Jewish victims, Wiesel opposed the mentionning of the Roma victims, to Wiesel there is only one Holocaust, the Jewish Holocaust.

    1. The problem is that people think Night is a memoir and not a novel made out of personal experiences and things Wiesel was told had happened. I’ve tried to talk about this stuff elsewhere and been given the cold shoulder, but Wiesel’s non-factual, mystical approach to the Holocaust paved the way for an odd form of intellectual fraud. The worst thing about Night is that it spawned imitators like 1965’s The Painted Bird (which also was seen as a memoir, even though Jerzy Kosinski survived the Holocaust living as a fake Catholic) and that horrible total fake Fragments (1995), whose author wasn’t even Jewish! He was a Swiss orphan named Bruno Dössekker (born Bruno Grosjean in 1941) who used his childhood life experiences as a template for the things “Binjamin Wilkomirski” experienced in Nazi-occupied Poland. And worse yet, that book paved the way for the fakes Misha aka “Wolf girl escapes Holocaust” and Angel at the Fence aka “Meet cute at Auschwitz.” And you know for every one of those, there have to be two others from smaller publishers. History is being undermined by schlock.

    2. @ Michael Santomauro
      ” (…) the alleged Holocaust”
      That’s where I stopped reading ….

        1. I’ve been around here for years, and I know that if Richard hasn’t reacted to this it’s simply because he missed it.
          Don’t try to make him complicit of Holocaust denial !

          1. [comment deleted: Comments must be substantive. Snark is not. Respect comment rules or pay the price.]

          2. @ OneIsraeli
            Why don’t you find a website closer to your ideological standpoints or sensitivity. You think I would go to Arutz Sheva and rant about their “selective sensitivities”. There are literally thousands of websites out there for you to chose.

    1. @ joe: You’re confusing things you don’t like or prefer to ignore with “ignorance.” If anything I’ve written here is factully incorrect prove it.

      Don’t use common names like “joe” as your nickname. It’s too easy to get confused with the 100 other commenters who may’ve used that name before you.

  5. Eli Wiesel in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

    “And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

    I don’t think that there are many people who believe that they can in all honesty maintain that he lived by that credo. He didn’t. And why not? Deir Yassin has already quoted statements from him that pointed to his inverted racism.

    Just these days I was reading an old interview with Wiesel’s contemporary, George Steiner, who spoke about a totally different kind of Jewish “racism”:

    “There are mornings when I ask myself in Jerusalem, “Why aren’t you here?” That is to me a much more disturbing and urgent question. I’ve polemicized against Zionism my whole life because I detest nationalism, because I have a kind of racial snobbery. I’m a racist to the tip of my fingers in an ethical sense. That is to say, for me the fact that a Jew has to torture another human being, as they have in the Israeli secret police in order to survive, is something I can’t live with rationally. It seems to me such an enormity. If I’m asked why it is worse than for any other human being, I say that to me it is infinitely worse. We were the people who because of our helplessness, because we were hunted, had the fantastic privilege and aristocracy of not torturing anybody else, of not making others homeless.
    Years ago, I slipped into the back of a lecture by Edward Said at Columbia. We know each other only by sight, but he had spotted me and without even giving a sign that he had recognized me, he brought up Martin Buber’s distinguished book, I and Thou, and he said, “George Steiner may be interested to know that that book was written in the house from which my parents and I were driven for our lives on a certain night in (I think it was) 1948.” And I knew he had won in a terrible way, in an almost transcendental way, the privilege of that mock, of that taunt. We Jews have never been the subject of that taunt because of our impotence in a paradoxical sense.”


  6. Wiesel, in his later years, allowed himself to be used by charlatans such as “America’s Rabbi,” Shmuley Boteach. It is interesting that Shmuley has been falling all over himself publicizing his friendship with Wiesel following his death. He couldn’t even wait for the corpse to cool down to room temperature. But anything Boteach will do for publicity, he’ll do. Witness his pandering on behalf of his bochur, Michael Jackson.

    1. When Wiesel was taken to the cleaners by Bernie Madoff he was left with just a single, solitary commodity to sell to the highest bidder: his name recognition.

      Enter that sad excuse for a human being, Shmuley Boteach.

      Once Schmuley slouched into the room there was not much doubt that he was going to buy Wiesel lock, stock and barrel, and from that point on it was Elie Wiesel was nothing more than a sock-puppet.

      Not that Shmuley made Wiesel into the bigot that he undoubtedly was – far from it – but that was the moment when Wiesel revealed what a shameless weasel he really was.

  7. @silverstein after reading so many of your blogs, I finally figured it out, just took a long time.
    Actually it’s easy. You’re being paid to write this stuff. There’s no other explanation why a Jew would disgrace Elie Weisel after his death.
    That said, curious to know who’s funding you.
    Of course there’s one other possibility, that the name’s a phoney and you’re really not Jewish…

    1. Before banning your ass for being an idiot & liar, I’ll point out the stupidity of almost every claim you make.

      You haven’t read “so many” of my blogs [sic].

      You didn’t figure anything out.

      If it took “a long time” then you’re stupider even than you appear.

      I’m paid to “write this stuff” by no one except my readers who donate to support it. If you have any proof that anyone other than that supports this blog, bring it. OTherwise, you’re a liar.

      So asshole, at least 10 or more well-known commentators including Christopher Hitchens, Mitchell Plitnick, 972 Magazine & me who’ve criticized Elie Wiesel’s legacy.

      As for whether I’m Jewish, I think it’s you who aren’t Jewish. Judean, yes. But not Jewish. Your religion is idolatory and worship of power, land & bullets. That’s not Judaism.

  8. Haaretz did not fail:

    “And so we see that Wiesel represented not only his generation’s greatest triumph, but perhaps also its greatest failing. As Wiesel demanded we set ourselves apart, he closed his eyes to reality and denied Palestinian suffering.

    What are we to do with the fact that while touring our Hillels, synagogues and communities, Wiesel was head of the board of Elad, an organization at the forefront of expelling Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem? That he worked to further a violent religious nationalist agenda? Or of his fierce opposition to the hard truths in the Goldstone report? 

    Wiesel, the man who wrote “the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference,” signed a letter as the chairman of Elad that actively cheered on Jewish settlers who had evicted a Palestinian family from their home in Silwan.

    Wiesel’s ad read, “We are happy to congratulate the dozens of Jewish families that are joining the Israeli settlement of Ir David… by your act of settlement you make us all stand taller.” ”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.728991

  9. Bottom line, Wiesel cashed in on the Holocaust. It made him a rich man. For that alone he deserves our contempt. Btw, this used to be an opinion that was articulated by many Israelis I knew when I lived there back in the 80’s. Clearly things have changed.

    1. It’s like that line in Chinatown, “Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.” Wiesel said enough nice things about Israel that the Establishment made itself forget how Elie Wiesel turned the Holocaust into a business for himself. Also, the longer he did it, the more it somehow seemed normal.

  10. In Amsterdam, Netherlands Jews who had voluntarily surrendered or had been captured by the SD were first brought to the Hollandse Schouwburg on the Plantage Middenlaan. However very young children were kept in a nursery across the street. Courageous Dutch persons succeeded in smuggling some of these children out of the nursery. In every case, when possible, they asked permission of the parents because these children would be brought to a variety of non-Jewish homes. In a number of cases they might become baptized as Christians for their protection. The record shows that most of the parents agreed.

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