FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Madman or Commissar?

by MICKEY Z.

Parade Magazine took full advantage of Independence (sic) Day falling on a Sunday by hiring none other than Elie Wiesel to pen a little something called “The America I Love” for their patriotic cover story. Over a two-page spread, the “Nobel Laureate” explained how America “for two centuries, has stood as a living symbol of all that is charitable and decent to victims of injustice everywhere…where those who have are taught to give back.” The perpetually disheveled Wiesel explained that in the U.S., “compassion for the refugee and respect for the other still have biblical connotations.”

Those same thoughts coming from a housewife in Peoria or truck driver in Boise are typically chalked up to ignorance so, perhaps Elie Wiesel is just an idiot…too simple-minded to discern reality from fantasy. But we can’t let him off the hook so easily when, after reminding us-yet again-of his Holocaust experiences, the winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom admits, “U.S. history has gone through severe trials” (apparently this is how Nobel Peace Prize winners think: it’s “history” that undergoes trials). Ever careful to point out his bearing witness to the civil rights movement (and equally careful to avoid explaining what that means), Wiesel calls anti-black racism “scandalous and depressing.” But, take heart, black America, because dear Elie adds “racism as such has vanished from, the American scene.”

Roll over, Mumia…and tell Leonard Peltier the news.

Wiesel deigns to mention a few more of America’s indiscretions but is at the ready to explain: “No nation is composed of saints alone. None is sheltered from mistakes and misdeeds” (more scholarly talk: “mistakes,” not “policy”). “America is always ready to learn from its mishaps,” he writes. “Self-criticism remains its second nature.”

This is the territory of madmen and commissars. Who else speaks such words…and is convinced they speak the truth? Precisely what kind of man is this professional sufferer, Elie Wiesel? Here are two peeks behind the myth:

While Wiesel’s documentation of the Nazi Holocaust has earned him international acclamation and a Nobel Peace Prize, he is not always predisposed to yield the genocide victim’s spotlight. In 1982, for example, a conference on genocide was held in Israel with Wiesel scheduled to be honorary chairman, but the situation became complicated when the Armenians wanted in. Here’s how Noam Chomsky described the incident: “The Israeli government put pressure upon [Wiesel] to drop the Armenian genocide. They allowed the others, but not the Armenian one. He was pressured by the government to withdraw, and being a loyal commissar as he is, he withdrew…because the Israeli government had said they didn’t want Armenian genocide brought up.” Wiesel went even further, calling up noted Israeli Holocaust historian, Yehuda Bauer, and pleading with him to also boycott the conference. “That gives an indication of the extent to which people like Elie Wiesel were carrying out their usual function of serving Israeli state interests,” Chomsky explains, “even to the extent of denying a holocaust, which he regularly does.” Why not welcome the Armenians, you wonder? Chalk it up to two conspicuous factors: the need to monopolize the Holocaust(tm) image and the geopolitical reality that Turkey (the nation responsible for the Armenian genocide) is a rare and much-needed Muslim ally for Israel.

In Parade, Wiesel also speaks of brave American soldiers bringing “rays of hope” to the people of Iraq. However, such rays were not welcome in Central and South America when Israel served as a U.S. proxy for proving arms to murderous regimes like that of Guatemala. In 1981, shortly after Israel agreed to provide military aid to this oppressive regime, a Guatemalan officer had a feature article published in the army’s Staff College review. In that article, the officer praised Adolf Hitler, National Socialism, and the Final Solution-quoting extensively from Mein Kampf and chalking up Hitler’s anti-Semitism to the “discovery” that communism was part of a “Jewish conspiracy.” Despite such seemingly incompatible ideology, Israel’s estimated military assistance to Guatemala in 1982 was $90 million. What type of policies did the Guatemalan government pursue with the help they received from a nation populated with thousands of Holocaust survivors? Consider the words of Gabriel, one of the Guatemalan freedom fighters interviewed in 1994 by Jennifer Harbury: “In my country, child malnutrition is close to 85 percent. Ten percent of all children will be dead before the age of five, and this is only the number actually reported to government agencies. Close to 70 percent of our people are functionally illiterate. There is almost no industry in our country-you need land to survive. Less than 3 percent of our landowners own over 65 percent of our lands. In the last fifteen years or so, there have been over 150,000 political murders and disappearances. Don’t talk to me about Gandhi; he wouldn’t have survived a week here.”

Similar stories can be culled from countries throughout the region, but apparently have had no effect on the rulers of the Jewish state. For example, when Israel faced an international arms embargo after the 1967 war, a plan to divert Belgian and Swiss arms to the Holy Land was implemented. These weapons were supposedly destined for Bolivia to be transported by a company managed by Klaus Barbie…as in “The Butcher of Lyon.”

One Jewish figure that might be expected to find fault with such policy is, of course, Parade cover boy Elie Wiesel. Here is an episode from mid-1985, documented by Yoav Karni in Ha’aretz, which should put to rest any exalted expectations of the revered moralist: When Wiesel received a letter from a Nobel Prize laureate documenting Israel’s contributions to the atrocities in Guatemala, suggesting that he use his considerable influence to put a stop to Israel’s practice of arming neo-Nazis, Wiesel “sighed” and admitted to Karni that he did not reply to that particular letter. “I usually answer at once,” he explained, “but what can I answer to him?”

One is left to only wonder how Wiesel’s silent sigh might have been received if it was in response to a letter not about Jewish complicity in the murder of Guatemalans but instead about the function of Auschwitz in 1943.

In Parade, Elie Wiesel claims he discovered in America “the strength to overcome cynicism and despair.” It sounds like what he’s actually overcome is honesty and compassion.

MICKEY Z. is the author of two brand new books: “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press) and “A Gigantic Mistake: Articles and Essays for Your Intellectual Self-Defense” (Library Empyreal/Wildside Press). For more information, please visit: http://mickeyz.net.

 

More articles by:

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail