Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Elie Wiesel: Not A Champion for Human Rights

Letters to the Editor do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.

The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University organized a major exhibition titled “Champion for Human Rights: The Life and Work of Elie Wiesel” on Sept. 27. Indeed, Wiesel has been awarded numerous awards — including the Nobel Peace Prize. However, to say that he is a champion of human rights is to be at odds with reality.

Being a loyal supporter of Zionism, he continues to condemn Palestinians, who have been the victims of the colonial expansion characterised by the illegal settlements in the occupied territories of West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights. He speaks of the Palestinians with a racist framework, famously condemning Hamas for “the use of children as human shields” in the 2014 conflict between Gaza and Israel, known as Operation Protective Edge. That particular statement of his appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times and other newspapers on August 4, 2014. Wiesel endorsed another advertisement in The New York Times, urging lethal actions against Iran because of its nuclear energy program.

The late historian, Howard Zinn, who also taught at Boston University, called Wiesel’s refusal to include the suffering of non-Jews at the hands of the Nazis at the United States Holocaust Museum, along with the exhibits documenting Jewish suffering, one of the most “shameful moments” in recent memory. Wiesel reasoned his actions by proclaiming that the inclusion of the sufferings of non-Jews in the Museum would be an attempt to “falsify reality” and such calls were equivalent to “stealing the Holocaust from us.”

Wiesel has asserted that Jerusalem “belongs to the Jewish people,” his rationale being that Jerusalem was mentioned more than six hundred times in the Torah while not a single time in the Qur’an. Going by his line of reasoning, Prophet Muhammed is named five times by name while Jesus is mentioned twenty five times by name in the Qur’an. So what would his conclusion be, then? He has not only ignored and distorted history, he has also advanced the lie that Israel was attacked in 1967 to justify its occupation of Jerusalem and other Arab lands. In light of the June 1967 war, the UN Security Council resolution 242 explicitly stated “the inadmissibility of acquisition of land by force” and called on Israel to withdraw from its recent occupation of Arab lands. As the resolution was not heeded by Israel, the UN Security Council passed another resolution in May 1968 that “deplored the failure of Israel to comply with international law” and “considered that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including the expropriation of land and properties, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”

It is quite illuminating to look at Wiesel’s own life. During 1947-49, he worked as a journalist for a Zionist group called Irgun — a terrorist group, designated by the British. So, it is undoubtedly true that he would know about the 1948 Deir Yasin massacre of innocent Palestinians and other groups perpetrated by his own organization, which at the time was headed by Menahem Begin and Yitzak Shamir. However, Wiesel goes onto argue that that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left their homes in 1948 voluntarily. He consistently goes on demanding public apologies for crimes committed against Jews but never once for the crimes committed against Palestinians. It is not surprising since he has publicly stated, “I support Israel — period. I identify with Israel — period. I never attack, I never criticise Israel.”

Noam Chomsky has called Wiesel “a terrible fraud” and for good reason. I have illuminated only some of those reasons. By no means is he a champion for human rights. One can say he is a champion of Jewish rights — a champion that distorts history and reality to advance the Zionist agenda. More than anything, he is an Israeli apologist.

Yash Kothari,  ykothari@bu.edu (although I prefer topologicalduality@protonmail.com). 


  1. I’m just wondering what kind of a self absorbed, self gratifying, self glorifying, dumb— you must be… I can honestly call you an anti Semite without a trace of doubt. Go read a history book. Go watch the news (try something that isn’t biased… Not CNN or NBC, although I’m sure you support their propaganda). Better yet, go live there. Go live in Gaza. Let’s see how long you last there. Be a little smarter than a piece of bread, please.

  2. Huh, so telling the truth is now a crime? It’s a fact that Hamas uses civilians – men, women and children – as human shields. It’s a fact that Hamas places military forces in civilian buildings (hospitals, schools, homes) surrounded by other civilians building for the purpose of increasing civilian casualtie and waving the bloody flag. You don’t like the truth? Tough.

  3. Another example of a person whose religion places him at odds with his endeavors. BEN CARSON: In the late 1970s, I worked as an editor for a real estate sales and marketing consultant firm, the owner-family active Seventh Day Adventists. My first week, the office manager left “The Watchtower” on my desk. At the time, 7th Day Adventists did not vote, nor celebrate any of the national holidays even birthdays. Carson’s religious beliefs have not yet been fully aired, but I think this might be an interesting question. “Do you now vote because in your faith, isn’t the heavenly kingdom of God the only government? Strange as a member of this your church, you would run for President of the United States”

  4. Where do I begin? As one of Prof Wiesel’s first fortunate students the ignorance and spewing of BDS mantras is more than disturbing in this misinformed rant. Those who sow in hatred and bias will never feel the pain of the oppressed. The terrorism that Israel has faced since 1948 before the catch words “occupation and settlements” continues. Either we are respected as neighbors or there will be a strong response to the ongoing terror and hatred
    Let us fight cancer and create wonders with our hearts and minds. This writer can’t possibly understand. Prof Wiesel is indeed a champion for suffering worldwide. This article is a sham

  5. Please join the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University for a tribute to Elie Wiesel, this Sunday night at 7pm at the Tsai Performance Center. This will be a world-music event, curated by composer Matti Kovler and produced by the Boston Jewish Music Festival, with the participation of musicians representing many cultures. Inspired by Elie Wiesel’s “Melodies of my Childhood” and the work of Israeli composer Andre Hajdu, Matti Kovler presents an evening that will take the Hassidic Niggun (chant) as its point of departure. The performance will explore surprising parralels between the Nigguns and other world incantations. The diversity of the program — and the cast — will mirror the variety of faiths and ethnicities — that share similar approaches to sacred song. Closing event of Matti Kovler’s Floating Tower Series at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. Supported by BU Jewish Cultural Endowment, BU Arts Initiative and BUCH. Free with BU ID. One show only. Come out and sing with us!