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July 7, 2016 3:07 pm

Watchdog Blasts BBC’s Persian Website for Falsely Claiming Elie Wiesel Accused Israel of Genocide in Gaza

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BBC's Persian outlet falsely claimed recently deceased Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel accused Israel of genocide. Photo: BBC Watch.

BBC’s Persian outlet falsely claimed recently deceased Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel accused Israel of genocide. Photo: BBC Watch.

A BBC watchdog group called out the news outlets Persian-language website on Thursday for attributing a false anti-Israel claim to recently deceased Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel.

According to BBC Watch, in an article published on July 2, the BBC reported that Wiesel accused the Jewish state of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in the summer of 2014.

“Two years ago, Elie Wiesel, together with 300 Holocaust survivors, criticized Israel because of its attack on Gaza, and accused the Israeli government of genocide,” the report stated, as confirmed by a professional Farsi translator.

Wiesel, BBC Watch said, did not lend his name to any such statement, which was part of a move organized by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and publicized in the New York Times.

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The IJAN statement, BBC Watch said, even “included direct criticism of Wiesel and was made in response to an earlier advertisement criticising Hamas’ use of human shields which was put out by Wiesel himself.”

The watchdog group slammed the BBC for promoting this “falsehood,” especially in light of the fact that “it took it upon itself to amplify that IJAN statement extensively at the time.”

Wiesel’s death has sparked controversy throughout the international media as anti-Israel activists, authors and journalists are using it as an opportunity to defame him and Israel.

As reported by The Algemeiner, famous Israel-hater Max Blumenthal — writer for AlterNet and the author of the anti-Israel book Goliath and The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza — tweeted upon learning of Wiesel’s death, “Elie Wiesel is dead. He spent his last years inciting hatred, defending apartheid & palling around with fascists.”

In another tweet, Blumenthal wrote, “Elie Wiesel repeatedly lauded Jewish settlers for ethnically cleansing Palestinians in East Jerusalem.” Referring to Wiesel’s support for Israel, Blumenthal tweeted that Wiesel “went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them.”

Following immense backlash, including from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Blumenthal — whose father is closely aligned with her — deleted his tweets. He nevertheless wrote a long article in which he doubled down on his anti-Wiesel attacks.

Wiesel passed away on Saturday at the age of 88. Born in Romania, Wiesel published 57 books, including the famous Night, which is based on his experiences in the Holocaust. He served on the boards of numerous influential organizations and was the chairman of the Algemeiner Tribute Committee.

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