Netanyahu: The boys were kidnapped by Hamas
The Nobel Peace Laureate told "Globes" that Iran cannot create a second Auschwitz.
Few people in the world today represent the Holocaust and its commemoration like 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. He survived Auschwitz - the symbol of the unprecedented catastrophe - and Buchenwald. Iran is a threat, but it cannot make a second Auschwitz, he told "Globes". “I don’t compare anything to the Holocaust."
"Globes": The Holocaust has become common currency in every conflict. It is always used for comparison, even in political debates.
Wiesel: "I don’t like this. It is unacceptable and impossible to make comparisons with the Holocaust. For example, there are the haredim (ultra-orthodox), who put yellow stars on their children in protests - and in Israel of all places. What have we come to?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently compares the Holocaust to the threat facing Israel from Iran.
"Iran is a danger, but to claim that it is creating a second Auschwitz? I compare nothing to the Holocaust."
The German people have turned remorse over the Holocaust into part of their identity. But most countries do not normally express remorse over genocides they have committed. Do you appreciate the Germans' choice or do you criticize the nations that do not act in this way?
"Both. I oppose declaring collective punishment. Only the perpetrators of the crime are guilty. There are German students who study with me and are wonderful people. It is heartwarming to see how they are accepted by other students. They feel guilty, even though they are not. Interestingly, the people who should feel guilty, do not."
The Holocaust generation is dying out. Do you fear about what will happen to the memory of the Holocaust in the next generation?
"No. When I began teaching at university 40 years ago, there were few courses on the subject. The situation is different today. I've never taught so many subjects related to the Holocaust in so many countries. There have never been so many conferences and so many books published about it. Anyone who listens to a witness who experienced the Holocaust becomes a witness himself, and today they are listening to us."
Over the years, Wiesel has been engaged in opposing extreme violations of human rights. He has fought against Apartheid in South Africa, Argentina's Dirty War and its desaparecidos (disappeared) in the 1970s and 1980s, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the early 1990s, the suppression of the Kurds, the Rwanda genocide of 1994, and the contemporary Darfur genocide in Sudan.
Which of these events remind you of the Holocaust and the lesson 'Never Again'?
“None of them reminds me of the Holocaust. Only Auschwitz was Auschwitz. I went to Yugoslavia when reporters said that there was a Holocaust starting there. There was genocide, but not an Auschwitz. When you make a comparison to the Holocaust it works both ways, and soon people will say what happened in Auschwitz was ‘only what happened in Bosnia.’"
In 2007, Wiesel turned down an offer by then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to become Israel's president. "I refused because I am not Israeli and I don’t live in Israel. He said, 'I'll make you an Israeli in five minutes.' There was pressure on me to accept the offer. In Israel, when you say no, the pressure is only increased. But I said that it wouldn’t happen, because I'm not suited for the job and that my wife would divorce me. Six weeks after the offer, I made a visit to Israel and I was welcomed like never before."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 19, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
You comment was recieved and soon will be published.
Thank you for posting your comment, which will be reviewed for publication.
Load more comments
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatens "dire consequences" following the kidnapping.
Questions over police response to kidnapping
Hours passed before a search operation was launched. Netanyahu holds Palestinians responsible.
Netanyahu bought furniture at public expense - report
"Yediot Ahronot": Attorney General is investigating if Netanyahu family bought furniture for its Caesarea private home.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer questioned by police again
Ben-Eliezer's son Yariv is also suspected of receiving money from Avraham Nanikashvili.
Reuven Rivlin elected president
Rivlin defeated Meir Sheetrit 63:53 in the second round vote in the Knesset.
Meir Sheetrit discloses owning five homes
The Presidential candidate has bowed to public pressure and declared his assets.
Police find $600,000 cash in Ben-Eliezer's bank
The source of the money found in Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's safety deposit box is unclear.
Presidential candidate Ruby Rivlin discloses assets
Dalia Dorner also disclosed her wealth, but Meir Sheetrit refused.
Dalia Itzik bought Tel Aviv home for NIS 4.6m last year
The Presidential candidate and former Knesset Speaker also owns two apartments in Jerusalem.
The venture capitalist who wants to transform Israel
Labor MK Erel Margalit tells "Globes" about his plans to improve the Start-Up Nation.
Combat cameramen disprove Palestinian propaganda
A unit of highly trained combat soldiers uses cameras to document military operations.
Truth is proving stranger than folktale as Turkey's spins out of Prime Minister Erdogan's control.
Prof. Zvi Eckstein supports NIS 3.30-3.40/$ floor rate
The former deputy Bank of Israel Governor is the first senior figure from the financial system to advocate a floor rate.
2014 will be year of change
Forces reshaping the Middle East are coming to a head, with Russia taking a close interest, and the West seemingly indifferent.
Gains and losses for Middle East secularists
Recent developments in Egypt, Syria and Turkey have clarified some issues, and obfuscated others.
Developing robots for warfare
Israeli research sees the future battlefield dominated by robots and unmanned devices.
Geneva changes Middle East strategic map
As the consequences of the nuclear agreement with Iran emerge, regional powers are scrambling to adapt.
Egypt has no time to lose
Unless economic reforms are introduced quickly, the country is liable to relapse into Islamic extremism.
Strange goings on in Turkey
Two recent decisions by Turkish prime minister Erdoğan make it look as though he is losing his grip.
See you in six months, Rouhani
Israel may look isolated over the nuclear deal with Iran, but the cards could yet fall its way.
China is changing
The Third Plenum of the Communist Party of the Peoples' Republic of China marks a turning-point in all areas of Chinese life - with consequences for Israel.
French gov't proposes building 2 Tel Aviv light rail lines
The Green Line from Herzliya to Holon and the Purple Line from Kiryat Ono to Tel Aviv would cost NIS 30 billion to build.
Israel's factious coalition looks wobbly on Iran
Besides US opposition, the state of Israel's government makes an attack on Iran unlikely.
Budget cuts threaten 10,000 defense industry jobs
Senior executives warn many factories are in danger of closing due to the drying up of defense ministry's orders.