Two Faces of Elie Wiesel

by Mark Chmiel

1.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

–Elie Wiesel, advocate of interference, champion of human rights

2.

“By politicide I mean a process that has, as its ultimate goal, the dissolution of the Palestinian people’s existence as a legitimate social, political, and economic entity…. Politicide is a process that covers a wide range of [Israel’s] social, political, and military activities whose goal is to destroy the political and national existence of a whole community of people and thus deny it the possibility of self-determination. Murders, localized massacres, the elimination of leadership and elite groups, the physical destruction of public institutions and infrastructure, land colonization, starvation, social and political isolation, re-education, and partial ethnic cleansing are the major tools used to achieve this goal.”

— Baruch Kimmerling, citizen of Israel and champion of Palestinian human rights

3.

“Do not ask me, a traumatized Jew, to be pro-Palestinian. I totally identify with Israel and cannot go along with leftist intellectuals who reject it. Perhaps another generation will be free enough to criticize Israel; I cannot.”

–Elie Wiesel, champion of Israel, advocate of non-interference

4.

“Israel’s occupation of Palestine is the crux of the problem between the two peoples and it will remain so until it ends. For the last thirty-five years, occupation has meant dislocation and dispersion; the separation of families; the denial of human, civil, legal, political and economic rights imposed y a system of military rule; the torture of thousands; the confiscation of tens of thousands of acres of land and the uprooting of tens of thousands of trees; the destruction of more than 7,000 Palestinian homes; the building of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands and the doubling of the settler population over the last ten years; first the undermining of the Palestinian economy and now its destruction; closure, curfew, geographic fragmentation, demographic isolation and collective punishment….Occupation is about the domination and dispossession of one people by another. It is about the destruction of their property and the destruction of their soul. Occupation aims, at its core, to deny Palestinians their humanity by denying them the right to determine their existence, to live normal lives in their own homes. Occupation is humiliation. It is despair and desperation.”

–Sara Roy, opponent of neutrality, daughter of Holocaust survivors