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University of Haifa
Elie Wiesel smeared by Ilan Pappe

[alef] Elie Wisel - The True Story

pappe at poli.haifa.ac.il pappe at poli.haifa.ac.il
Thu Mar 3 17:28:12 IST 2005

Pastor James Gerling
32 North Brook Street
Geneva, NY  14456

Dear Pastor Gerling:

In the March issue of The Geneva Presbyterian it was stated that the adult
Sunday school class will be shown a film narrated by Elie Wiesel, a "great

Might I caution your readers not to be fooled by the mystical charm of Elie
Wiesel, who is the icon of what Norman Finkelstein (in his book by the same
title) calls The Holocaust Industry.  Far from being a great humanitarian,
Wiesel, as Noam Chomsky contends, is simply "a terrible fraud."

Wiesel is often quoted as saying that "the opposite of love is not hate; it is
indifference."  He has devoted his life to carefully crafting articles and
speeches about oppression, genocide, and man's inhumanity to man.  Yet when
asked about the oppression and dehumanization of Palestinians by Israel, he
"abstains" and dismisses the subject claiming "I cannot say bad things about
Jews," or "Such comparisons are unworthy."

His eloquent, unwavering support of Zionism has caused him to condemn
Palestinians, who are the victims of the colonial expansionism epitomized by
the illegal settlement of over 420,000 Jews in the occupied territories of the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  He degrades Palestinians with racist remarks,
such as claiming they use their children as shields for adults throwing stones
and worse.

In a 2001 editorial Wiesel dehumanized Palestinians and Muslims far more than
his usual "indifference."  He argued that only Jews should have sovereignty in
Jerusalem because the name Jerusalem appears more than 600 times in the Bible
while it does not appear at all in the Koran.  If this is not convincing
enough, Wiesel will tell you that Jerusalem is the most holy city for Jews
while it is only the third holiest city for Muslims, and therefore Israel
should exclusively control it as an eternal part of the Jewish state.  Of
course, as a loyal Zionist, Wiesel is never troubled by the fact that over half
of the people within the borders controlled by Israel are not Jews, so that it
is impossible to have "the Jewish state" and a democracy at the same time.

But it is the quest by Palestinians for their "right of return" that causes
Wiesel to move from "indifference" to outright lies.  In the same editorial he
wrote, "In 1948 David Ben-Gurion reached out to what was to be the Palestinian
state," but the Arabs rejected peace and invaded Israel.  Wiesel knows that
this is patently false.  He knows that widespread ethnic cleansing of Arabs
took place before the declaration of the state of Israel and the opposition by
Arab armies.

He knows from personal experience that on April 9, 1948 Arab civilians,
including women and children, were murdered in cold blood in the village of
Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem by Jewish terrorists known as the
Irgun and the Stern Gang.  Wiesel worked for the Irgun, not as a fighter, but
as a journalist and knows the details of this infamous (but not the only nor
the largest) massacre of Arabs by Jews.  And while he piously demands public
apologies for atrocities committed against Jews (for example in 1946 at Kielce,
Poland), he has never been able to apologize for the atrocities committed by his
own employer.

Wiesel pontificates that Auschwitz "represents a grave theological challenge to
Christianity." The implication is that Christians created the Holocaust and
should apologize to Jews repeatedly and never criticize Israel.  That is the
essence of his ecumenical deal: we Jews may some day forgive what you
Christians did to us (and only to us) in the Holocaust (spelled with a capital
H) if you promise to ignore what we have been and continue to do to the
Palestinians in our Zionist quest to build a Jewish state.  Questioning any
aspect of the Holocaust discourse is to be considered "Holocaust denial" and
therefore evil.  So is mentioning the concentration camps built by Israel to
incarcerate Palestinians  (e.g., Ketziot in the Negev Desert); so is mentioning
the relentless persecution, dispossession, and murder of Palestinians in the
name of Zionism for over 100 years.

Wiesel supports "the right of return" for Jews, but only for Jews.  An American
Jew, who can trace his ancestors back to the Revolutionary War, has the right
to return to Israel, obtain dual citizenship, obtain subsidized housing on land
expropriated from Palestinians, and drive to settlements on roads "for Jews
only."  Palestinians who can trace their ancestors to the same land for
centuries and who have a title and key to property from which they were driven
in 1948 have no right to return.  Why not?  Because, Wiesel explains, it is
"unthinkable; young Palestinians faces are twisted with hate; it would be
suicide for the Jewish state."  This is incredible hypocrisy especially from a
professor of humanities and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Perhaps it is not feasible for all Palestinians to return to their homes lost in
1948.  But Wiesel cannot even bring himself to tell the truth about what caused
their diaspora.  He continues to spread one of the most insidious myths in
Zionist discourse saying, "Incited by their leaders, 600,000 Palestinians left
the country convinced that, once Israel was vanquished, they would be able to
return home."

Wiesel knows Arab leaders did not tell their people to leave; that lie was
thoroughly disproved by historians years ago.  Second, he knows that the best
estimates are that 750,000 Palestinians fled in 1948.  (Note the outrage by
Wiesel and others whenever anyone dares to question the number of 6 million
Jews killed in the Holocaust.)  And third, these original Palestinian refugees
did not just leave; they were driven out, often by the very terrorists for whom
Wiesel proudly worked.  The massacre at Deir Yassin was emblematic of this.

For years Wiesel has remained silent regarding the suffering and injustices
committed against the Palestinian people by Zionists, including Christian
Zionists like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Franklin Graham.  Many students
and scholars found his silence to be hypocritical, especially after his trilogy
entitled Against Silence wherein he passionately and piously encouraged readers
to fight oppression in all of its forms.  But it is this very indifference
towards the Palestinians that takes away any "moral high ground" that might
otherwise be attributed to him.

Even when Wiesel goes to Jerusalem and stays at the King David Hotel, he cannot
help but see Palestinian faces.  (One wonders what he thinks when he is alone
in the famous hotel that was bombed by his employer, The Irgun, killing scores
of Englishmen and 15 innocent Jews.)  He can go to the Jewish quarter of the
Old City and pray at the Wailing Wall.  But on top of that wall are those same
goyim praying to his God whom they call Allah.  And when he goes to the most
famous Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem one wonders if he is refreshed to be in
"Jewish Jerusalem" or is he haunted by the thought that the museum is built on
the Arab lands of Ein Karem.  When he walks through the new tunnel at Yad
Vashem to emerge in the sunlight and face the Jewish settlement of Har Nof, is
he at all troubled by the fact that he is also looking at the homes of Deir
Yassin?  Can he see the Palestinian faces of those who were piled up and burned
in the quarry on the hill directly across from the museum?  And when he goes to
the settlement called Gilo, does he speak with Moshe Ben Eitan who ordered the
wounded Arab women and children at Deir Yassin to be shot so they would not
tell what his and Wiesel's employer did there?

The answer to these questions is "No, no, and no again."  And the answer to the
question, "Is Elie Wiesel a great humanitarian?" is also a resounding "No."


Daniel A. McGowan

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