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Elie Wiesel: America Should Adopt a ‘Very Harsh, More Truthful’ Line With Iran

October 1, 2013 10:20 am 5 comments

The panel discussion featuring Paul Kagame (L) and Elie Wiesel (R).

Nobel laureate and Algemeiner Advisory Board Chair Elie Wiesel sharply objected to U.S. overtures to Iran at a panel discussion Sunday night, saying that America should adopt a “very harsh” and “more truthful” line with the Islamic republic in the country’s standoff with the west.

“I am against it, absolutely, come on, of course” Wiesel said, when asked by event moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach about his is attitude towards “the overture to Iran amidst this genocidal rhetoric toward Israel.”

When asked if he thinks the “United States should be negotiating with Iran before they renounce those genocidal aspirations,” Wiesel said, “I think America should adopt a very harsh line, a more truthful line and say to Iran that you cannot continue like that, not with our consent you can’t.”

“And maybe they do that, I hope they do, we don’t know it, but they do,” he ventured subsequently.

Wiesel shared that he has spoken to many world leaders about the issue of Iran. “Look I speak to people, I speak to leaders all over the world, and about Iran I have done a lot,” he said. “I cannot tell you what because it is always personal, but I have done a lot, I believe Iran is a danger.”

The world renowned writer and globally recognized humanist lamented what he said were the limitations of his own influence. “The problem is, look, in this world two categories of people have power, politics and finances, I am not involved in politics and I am very poor in finances. So therefore, if they listen because I spoke, it is because it is not nice not to listen to me,” he said. “I know very well that the moment I leave them they go on to the next writer.”

“Therefore I need a lot of work on myself not to become cynical,” he added, “But I know very well that my influence is so weak […].”

The event which took place at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, was hosted by Boteach’s This World: The Values Network organization. Titled “Genocide,” the forum included Rwandan President Paul Kagame and philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt.


  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This is a burning topic in my heart right now. I have discussed it with my students in my college classes at College of Lake County in northern Illinois and with many Israeli friends on Facebook. Although I cannot speak as one who knows and has spoken with world leaders as has my mentor Professor Wiesel, I can speak as a Jewish-Israeli-American citizen of both countries, and educator, and one who is about to make aliyah to Israel on December 25, 2013. Those who would placate the Iranian ayatollah would be guilty of having learned nothing from the Holocaust. I wonder whether President Obama is as gullible and inane a presidential figure as Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister of Britain in signing a peace treaty with Adolph Hitler, Chancellor of the Third Reich. I wonder whether US Secretary of State John Kerry is as fickle and equivocal in his pursuance of peace with Teheran as he has been with Ramallah. Just as the PA leadership has not offered anything in return to Israel, such as agreeing to demilitarize its entire domain, and has demanded that Israel cease building in Judea and Samaria on “their land,”the Iranian leadership has not offered any cessation of the centrifuges and full access to all of its nuclear facilities both above ground and underground throughout Iran.If any reasonable scholarly evaluation of both the Palestinian issue and the Iranian issue be made, one would not need to look beyond the content presented by international law concerning disputed territories in Judea and Samaria and international laws as well as UN Security Council sanctions pertaining to hostile countries who would engage in purifying fissionable plutonium to nuclear weapon grade.
    On January 27, 2014, International Holocaust Day, the Israeli Knesset will participate in a wondrous display of chutzpah and solemn conduct at the Auschwitz Death Camp, the largest cemetery in human record where not one grave can be detected. Instead of an honor guard military flyover as in 2003, this time the Knesset will be taking minutes with Survivors of the Holocaust as witnesses. This time the agendum will focus on security for the Jewish people among other issues. This time the children and grandchildren of survivors will speak of the necessity to defend the Jewish people in addition to two million Arabs in the Jewish State of Israel against the megalomanic Iranian leadership and the Machiavellian Palestinian leadership.
    The way it stands now, Israel may very well have to stand alone against Iran and the PA because President Obama has thus far and will probably continue to equivocate, obfuscate, and very unfortunately side with those who would destroy Israel and gravely harm the United States. It takes backbone to stand up for the defense of human life. It takes backbone to avoid indifference as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not do during the Holocaust in not bombing the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz. It takes backbone to act the leader of the Free World instead of following the lead of third-world countries. It takes backbone to stand up for what is right in the face of what is evil.It takes backbone to act honorably when the alternative is to walk away or close one’s eyes to “someone else’s” existential problem. It takes backbone to do what one says, to act on one’s intention, to support and defend one’s close ally whose very existence may depend on such support and defense. As an American citizen, one who was born, raised, mostly educated in US schools, and one who has taught thousands of American children in the United States, I am ashamed and appalled at this president’s pusillanimous stance toward outrageous, outright malevolent intentions of the Iranian and Palestinian Authority leadership.

  • Elie Wiesel is a class act. He is exactly right and I hope the US Administration will heed his advice.

  • Elie W. do not know a lot concerning anything, he should never accept the Nobel Prize, because Norway have hands full of Jewish blood, Norwegians intellectual calls Elie W. a racist, because of Jews accepting the Nobel Prize Jews have a problem of been something they should not be, having a dignity by not swallowing a fake manipulating machine of the Nobel Prize comities. After all Albert Einstein did hold a lecture at the building of Stockholm Nobel P. about something he didn’t not get the Nobel Prize for. Put that in mind! It is why Eli W. is weak! No Jew should accept the Nobel Prize. We see what is happening in Egypt! The Nobel Prize to an Egyptian was the start for the ” Arab Spring”. And of course Iran speaks as the Nobel Prize people do! False and unreal.

  • I agree with Eli Wiesel. He is correct. I read two of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s books years ago. I live in London. I still have them in my bookcase. One of was called Kosher Sex and I have forgotten the other one. Never trust an Iranian as far as you can throw him! And as for that ex-President Armarni Dinner Jacket. Well he was a right hypocrite with his Western clothes and his wife done up in a black rubbish bin liner!

  • The reason for this great mans’s statements is because there is no such thing as moral persuasion in the world of today. The high moral ground simply does not exist in the context of people with power.

    I am not holding my breath. The Iranian charm show is just the excuse Obama needs to embrace more Islamist terrorists. I am sure he is very grateful for the opportunity.

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