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.