Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →