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.

5 Comments

  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.