Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cockburn rakes the muck on Wiesel

The prominence of Elie Wiesel is a mystery.  We are often told that Night, his first book (published in French in 1958), which purports to be a memoir of his time in Buchenwald, is the founding text of 'Holocaust literature', but even the status of this work is open to question.  Meanwhile, Wiesel is better known for his work promoting 'peace', which apparently has included support for black South Africans in the apartheid era, Bosnian Muslims, the Kurds. 

But preeminently, Wiesel's support has been for Jewish and Zionist causes.  He has declared that the Holocaust was a genocide incomparable to other murderous 'cleansings', notably the Armenian genocide.   He has supported the Kadima party founded by Ariel Sharon and led by Ehud Olmert.  He has criticized the Obama Administration for its pressure on the Netanyahu government to cease settlement construction in East Jerusalem, and since 2011, he's served as chair of the Ir David organisation, which seeks to create a Jewish majority in that part of the city.

During Operation Protective Edge, Israel's murderous bombardment of the Gaza Strip last summer, Wiesel was at it again, publishing an advertisement in Ha'aretz celebrating the increasing Jewish population of East Jerusalem.

How all of these positions amount to support for 'peace' is unclear.  This makes Alexander Cockburn's stinging attack on him, originally published in Counterpunch's  print edition in 2006 and now republished on Counterpunch's brilliant website, all the more apposite and enjoyable.

Truth and Fiction in Elie Wiesel’s “Night”


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