Elie Wiesel has died. I was never a fan of him in spite of his many successes in life, mostly selling the Holocaust industry. I found him fake and considered him a disingenuous person: a hypocrite of our time. He was in the habit of making things up, in a way that his many subsequent detractors could identify as not untypical of his modus operandi: grasping with deft assurance what people important to his future would want to hear and, by the same token, would not want to hear.
Alexander Cockburn writes, "There are some rather comical instances of Wiesel’s relaxed attitude to autobiographical truth, as excavated in Norman Finkelstein’s book, The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth. Wiesel was one of Goldhagen’s main supporters. In his 1995 memoir, 'All Rivers Run to the Sea,' Wiesel writes that at the age of 18, recently liberated from Auschwitz, “I read The Critique of Pure Reason [don’t laugh!] in Yiddish.” Finkelstein comments, “Leaving aside Wiesel’s acknowledgement that at the time ‘I was wholly ignorant of Yiddish grammar’ The Critique of Pure Reason was never translated into Yiddish.” Imagine the lacerations Frey would have endured for making that sort of empty boast."
Another writer [who was upset with Eli’s position on a much publicized gruesome crime in the USA; “Death is not the answer” for men who tie girls to their beds, rape them, douse them with gasoline and set them on fire, says Elie Wiesel] wrote: "It seems Wiesel wants to prevent Gentiles from getting justice for evil done to them, while justice for Jews has always required full punishment … an eye for an eye. He recently called for bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to trial as a war criminal at The Hague simply because he has said he doesn’t believe in the mythical Holocaust. Wiesel wants to make holocaust denial a crime in the U.S. and put “deniers” in prison. Yet he also wants these child rapists and soul-less murderers to remain in prison for life, being fed, clothed and given health care, side by side with holocaust deniers!" [The writer continues: In addition to his offensiveness to Petit and his sister and mother who attended the trial with him, Elie Wiesel is a hypocrite because he never said “Death is not the answer” when Germans were being put to death by the hundreds as “Nazis” and Nazi collaborators. He never said “Death is not the answer” when Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to die by an all-Jewish court proceeding in Israel. He never said “Death is not the answer” as Israelis murdered Palestinians in secret prisons. But once he decided to make a reputation for himself as a humanitarian, he has taken up opposition to the death penalty.]
Wiesel famously said: “Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.” Wiesel also said “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil” and “When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant”. Yet Wiesel, the self-adulating guardian of the weak and the innocent, is in conflict with Wiesel, the Zionist and shameless apologist for Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign and serial butchery in Lebanon and Gaza. He was criminally silent on such crimes, when he said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.” In the Middle East Wiesel has made his choice and it is to champion the powerful against their victims and to defend the occupier against the dispossessed. If it's not hypocrisy, what is?
Eli's hypocrisy was quite obvious in the early days of the Bosnian crisis when nearly a quarter million Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered. [Interested readers may like to read my comments from those days to understand his highly deplorable double-standards.] After some harsh criticism, he later changed his position and became a supporter for the cause of survival of the Bosnian Muslims, and that too, with some reluctance.
Wiesel was for war against Iraq when the case was not there for invading Iraq for the supposedly WMDs. He urged George Bush for the war on Iraq as a necessary moral act, declaring that “the world faced a moral crisis similar to 1938” and “the choice is simple”. He was wrong, and delusional!
As stated above, in spite of serious war crimes of the state of Israel, Wiesel was its greatest admirer and supporter, which I found very problematic, if not immoral and inexcusable. In an interview published in the second volume of Against Silence, Wiesel says that, as a Diaspora Jew, the “price I chose to pay for not living in Israel . . . is not to criticize Israel from outside its borders.” In another interview, published in the London Jewish Chronicle for September 10, 1982, he lamented criticism of Israel during the Lebanon invasion and asked these rhetorical questions:
“Was it necessary to criticize the Israeli government, notwithstanding the spate of lies disseminated in the press? Or would it not have been better to have offered Israel unreserved support, regardless of the suffering endured by the population of Beirut? In the face of hatred, our love for Israel ought to have deepened, become more whole-hearted, and our faith in Israel more compelling, more true.”
In Koteret Rashit, a liberal weekly, the Israeli journalist Tom Segev wrote of Wiesel:
“He is always careful not to criticize his nation. . . . What does he have to say about the situation in the territories? When people from Peace Now asked him to criticize the Lebanese War he evaded the request. He’s never been in the habit of standing up seriously against Israeli leaders. . . . What in fact has he done to realize his fine intentions? Bob Geldof has done more. . . . How nice it would have been if they had divided the prize among those truly good people of the world, those still alive, those people who endangered their lives at the time of the Holocaust in order to save Jews.
“Who symbolizes the lesson of the Holocaust as they do?
“Who is as worthy of the respect of the world as they are?”
Elie claimed to be against terrorism, and yet upon release from the Nazi camp, he joined a terrorist organization Irgun in 1947, which already earned the reputation for bombing and shooting scores of innocent Arabs in Palestine. In the 1930s the Irgun planted deadly bombs in Arab marketplaces, most notably in Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They also blew up buses and trains. By the mid-1940s the Irgun put the British colonial government in its sights. In 1946 the terrorist group killed 91 people in a Christmas bombing of the King David Hotel. They also kidnapped, tortured and hanged two British Army sergeants. And in an outrage which occurred after Wiesel joined the Irgun, the group killed some 254 unarmed Palestinian civilians at Deir Yassin in order to terrorize Palestine’s Christian and Muslim population and encourage their flight.
Wiesel was a propagandist for Zionism, and quite dishonestly asserted in a New York Times op-ed that “Incited by their leaders, 600,000 Palestinians left the country convinced that, once Israel was vanquished, they would be able to return home.” Not only did Wiesel know the truth about the Palestinian Nakba from his work for the Irgun, but when his piece appeared in the Times in 2001 Israeli historians like Benny Morris had already entirely debunked the myth of voluntary Palestinian flight. Further, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s autobiography revealed David Ben-Gurion’s order to drive out the Palestinians:
“While the fighting was still in progress, we had to grapple with a troublesome problem…the fate of the civilian population of Lod and Ramle, numbering some 50,000…We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question: ‘What is to be done with the population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said, ‘Drive them out!’…The population of Lod did not leave willingly. There was no way of avoiding the use of force…”
As aptly noted by John Taylor (in a 2014 article), "Lying about Israeli ethnic cleansing was not enough. Wiesel, ever the propagandist, even tried to discredit the Palestinian struggle against Zionism by conflating indigenous Arab resistance with Nazism. Wiesel wrote in his autobiography, All Rivers Flow to the Sea, “gangs loyal to the grand mufti, the pro-Hitler Haj Amin el-Husseini, former ally and protégé of Himmler, attacked Jewish villages and convoys.” Of course Wiesel said nothing about Avraham Stern, leader of an Irgun splinter group, the Lehi, who actually sought an alliance with the Nazis against Great Britain during World War II."