• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683.


Elie Wiesel for President?


Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has suggested Elie Wiesel to replace Moshe Katzav as President of Israel. Katzav is being forced to resign amid charges of rape.

Wiesel’s qualifications for the job are unimpeachable. He is the icon of what Norman Finkelstein has called "The Holocaust Industry’ and as such he has served as a prop to "get the Jewish vote" by every American President since Gerald Ford. He defends Israel as "the Jewish state," in spite of the fact that over half of the population in the lands controlled by Israel is non-Jewish, mostly Palestinian Arabs. He won’t call Ketziot or Gaza a concentration camp; he won’t call the "security barrier" a wall; and he won’t admit that Israel is an apartheid state where Jews have the hegemony and where non-Jews have lesser rights or none at all.

To Wiesel the Holocaust concerns only Jewish suffering, a culmination of 2,000 years of persecution by the goyim. Like the virgin birth, the parting of the Red Sea, and Noah’s ark, the Holocaust is mystical, unfathomable, and unquestionable. For Wiesel "Auschwitz cannot be explained nor can it be visualized…. The Holocaust transcends history…. The dead are in possession of a secret that we, the living, are neither worthy of nor capable of recovering…. The Holocaust [is] the ultimate event, the ultimate mystery, never to be comprehended or transmitted." (Elie Wiesel, "Trivializing the Holocaust," New York Times, 16 April 1978.)

He is a multi-millionaire, but carefully cultivates the image of a perpetually disheveled professor. Although he has won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Guardian of Zion Medal, and the Oprah Book Award, many people in Israel resent the way he has used the Holocaust to make his living. Some Israelis refer to him as a "sho’an." The word "sho’a" is Hebrew for Holocaust; with the suffix it indicates a professional specializing in the subject. So it is both funny and derogatory, not unlike Norman Finkelstein referring to Wiesel as the "resident clown" of the Holocaust circus.

Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor who lived and worked in Israel, referred to Wiesel as a "patriotic liar," a patriot not of Romania, the country of his birth, nor of the United States, but rather a patriot of "the Jewish state" of Israel. Wiesel is said to have pressured Clinton to pardon fugitive financier Marc Rich and he has long advocated the release of convicted Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard. But he remains silent when Israel kidnaps Mordechai Vanunu (for whistle blowing that Israel has nuclear weapons), jails him for 18 years, and continues to confine him under virtual house arrest. The further incarceration of Vanunu, after serving a full sentence, was disturbing even to arch-Zionist Alan Dershowitz, but not to Elie Wiesel for whom Vanunu was not a hero to the anti-nuclear world, but simply a traitor to Israel.

In 1948 Wiesel worked as a journalist for the Irgun, a gang of Jewish terrorists who committed the massacre at Deir Yassin, arguably one of the most pivotal events in twentieth century Palestinian history. Yet this "world-renowned humanitarian" refuses to apologize or even acknowledge the murder, mayhem, and ethnic cleansing caused by his employer. He frequently goes to Yad Vashem, the most famous Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and from the Children’s Museum he looks across the valley to Deir Yassin. But he never acknowledges what his employer did there; as a patriot he simply "will not say bad things about Jews."

Wiesel often quotes the great Jewish spiritual thinker and scholar, Martin Buber. But he ignores that Buber said, "The Deir Yassin affair is a black stain on the honor of the Jewish nation." Like the ever-obedient patriot Wiesel consistently ignores the butchery committed by Jews at Deir Yassin and at Sabra and Shatilla and at Qana and in Jenin.

Wiesel pontificates, "The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference." And it is complete indifference that he has repeatedly shown to the Zionist dispossession and dehumanization of the Palestinian people. Proclaimed a "messenger to mankind" at his 1986 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Wiesel "swore never to be silent when human beings endure suffering and humiliation." Does that mean that he considers Palestinians to be less than human? Perish the thought that he regards Palestinians as Untermenschen like the Nazis considered Jews and Gypsies.

Many Israelis think Wiesel should have settled in Israel after the war instead of moving to France and then to the United States where he became a citizen in 1963. He proclaims, "A Jew may be Jewish far from Jerusalem; but not without Jerusalem. Though a Jew may not live in Jerusalem, Jerusalem lives inside him." Now at age 78 it is perhaps Wiesel’s last chance to move there and to serve his country at the same time.

DANIEL McGOWAN is a Professor Emeritus at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the current director of Deir Yassin Remembered, a group of Jews and non-Jews working to build a memorial at Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem. He can be reached: mcgowan@hws.edu


October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots