FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Treason of the Nobels

Elie Wiesel modestly calls his benevolent foundation the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.  Under its flag he has gathered the signatures of 43 Nobel laureates in support of the resistance inside Iran (New York Times, February 7, 2010, p. 19).   Although Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace (1986), his appeal is anything but a call for a peaceful and negotiated resolution of the “Iranian problem” in West Asia.

May I remind the Nobel laureates who have signed this appeal of one of Jean-Paul Sartre’s main reasons for voluntarily declining the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964:  “It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner.  A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form.”

Apart from his support for its dissidents Wiesel is a long-standing super-hawk on Iran, which he confirmed immediately following the publication of his appeal.  In a quasi-postscript in the form of an interview he avowed that he would not shed a tear “if he heard that Ahmadinejad was assassinated” and, calling him “a pathological danger to world peace,” he averred that Iran’s President “intends to destroy Israel and bring disaster to the entire world.”  Wiesel also seized the occasion to blast the Goldstone Report as “a crime against the Jewish people.”

Concerning Iran Wiesel is patently in complete harmony with Shimon Peres, the hard-line President of Israel who incongruously shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat (1994).

We can only hope (against hope?) that President Barack Obama, the latest Nobel Peace Laureate, will turn out to merit the honor conferred on him prematurely (which in the spirit of Sartre he might have considered refusing).   America’s Imperial President could help rehabilitate the letter and spirit of Alfred Nobel’s wish that the yearly prize reward “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Arno J Mayer is emeritus professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions.and Plowshares Into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Verso).

 

 

More articles by:

Arno Mayer is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton. He can be reached at mayer@princeton.edu.

November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail