Elie Wiesel claims he doesn’t ‘know anything’ about Operation Cast Lead

Israel/Palestine
on 32 Comments

Elie Wiesel’s statements about Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza don’t add up.

On September 29, Wiesel appeared alongside Sheldon Adelson, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Shmuley Boteach to talk genocide and about how the “strong” can protect the “weak” in the context of the chemical weapons attack in Syria in August. “Israel is part of our lives. It is truly part of mine,” Wiesel said on stage.

At the conclusion of the bizarre event, Max Blumenthal and I asked the world’s most famous Holocaust survivor an obvious, though unasked, question: who would protect the people of Gaza from Israel?

His first answer (minute 6:20 in the video above) was that “all human beings should be protected everywhere.” When I pressed him about the 300 children killed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and whether he supported the assault, his response was: “I don’t know anything about it.” Blumenthal and I each tried one more time, and Wiesel again said he didn’t know anything about Cast Lead.

But Wiesel knows about Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza. In September 2009, Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Elliott Abrams and others signed an NGO Monitor letter that criticized Human Rights Watch’s reporting on the “recent Gaza conflict.” In February 2010, Wiesel told Haaretz that the Goldstone report, which documented human rights violations committed by the Israeli army during its assault on Gaza, was “a crime against the Jewish people.”

Richard Goldstone and his team personally confirmed the deaths of 47 children in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

But Wiesel says he doesn’t know anything about the killing of children in Gaza. How seriously can we take his pronouncements on Israeli policy or international affairs if he’s not aware of these basic facts?

(H/T Max Blumenthal.)

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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32 Responses

  1. Tzombo
    October 8, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Of all the things he could say I didn’t expect ‘Ich habe es nicht gewusst’…

  2. Nevada Ned
    October 8, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Wiesel always drones on about the importance of memory.
    And history.
    He means, of course, the memory of the Holocaust. He does NOT mean the memory of the Nakba.

    What about Operation Cast Lead? He claims that he knows nothing about it. He has a short memory. Short and highly selective.

    As a young man, Wiesel was a member of Menachem Begin’s terrorist Irgun. Wiesel did not (as far as I know) shoot anybody. He was a journalist. That was his contribution to the Israeli cause. So he wasn’t, personally, a terrorist. Instead he was a propagandist for Israel, whose leaders (e.g. Begin) were definitely terrorists.

    Some things don’t change. Elie Weisel is still an Israeli propagandist.

  3. pipistro
    October 8, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Perhaps I can help you with that hump.
    What hump?

  4. Woody Tanaka
    October 8, 2013, 5:13 pm

    I hear him saying in the voice of Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes, “I know nothing! NOTHING!”

    What a clown this guy is.

  5. braciole
    October 8, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Just like Berliners (not the doughnut) knew nothing about Oranienburg and Munichers knew nothing about Dachau.

  6. seafoid
    October 8, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Wiesel is a sociopath. I suppose it makes sense that the death camps hosted all kinds of people. He is odious. Reminds me of Condi Rice.

  7. Cliff
    October 8, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Elie Wiesel is the chief clown of the Holocaust Industry. He is a shill who tours the world to inflict and perpetuate the conceptualization of Jewish suffering as Israel’s sword and shield.

    Wiesel also leveled fierce criticism at the Goldstone Report, which accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

    “One thing is clear to me, that document was unnecessary,” he said.

    Of the report’s main author, South African jurist Richard Goldstone, Wiesel said, “That man has a good name, and I’ve known him for years… He should have refused to head the committee, because of the anti-Israel mandate under which it was established.”

    “I can’t believe that Israeli soldiers murdered people or shot children. It just can’t be, and Goldstone certainly should have thought twice before taking a role in such a body,” Wiesel said.

    link to jpost.com

    Was there ever a doubt that this sophist had any integrity?

    He is a Zionist first and foremost. His ‘concern’ for genocide and blah blah is within a pro-Israel political framework. He will never criticize Israel’s behavior and crimes or the ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.

  8. bilal a
    October 8, 2013, 5:37 pm

    Gaza is evidently one of those things that may have happened but are not true:
    [Wisel on truth and stories]

    About people you knew? “Yes, about people I might have known.” About things that happened? “Yes, about things that happened or could have happened.” But they did not? “No, not all of them did. In fact, some were invented from almost the beginning to almost the end.” The Rebbe leaned forward as if to measure me up and said with more sorrow than anger: That means you are writing lies! I did not answer immediately. The scolded child within me had nothing to say in his defense. Yet, I had to justify myself: “Things are not that simple, Rebbe. Some events do take place but are not true; others are – although they never occurred.”[51]

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • just
      October 8, 2013, 6:45 pm

      Weisel is a Rumsfeld/ Condi/ GW/ Cheney/ Powell…………

      “The Unknown
      As we know,
      There are known knowns.
      There are things we know we know.
      We also know
      There are known unknowns.
      That is to say
      We know there are some things
      We do not know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns,
      The ones we don’t know
      We don’t know.

      —Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing”

      link to slate.com

      • Kathleen
        October 9, 2013, 7:52 am

        horrifying comment

  9. just
    October 8, 2013, 6:05 pm

    Quelle surprise!

    Another liar extraordinaire.

    Why he is held in such “high esteem” is beyond me……..

    Thanks Alex.

    • Kathleen
      October 9, 2013, 8:26 am

      When you are unable to apply humanitarian standards across the board it is a real problem. When you can only apply value to one group of people’s lives it is pathetic and racist. Sad to say Ellie Wiesel is a racist and elitist!

  10. talknic
    October 8, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Lying is against one of the Basic tenets of Judaism. We now have conclusive proof that know Elie Wiesel is a liar. If he lies about this, what other lies has he told?

    Time and again we see and hear people willfully lying for the Jewish state, why?

    The representatives of the Jewish Agency lied before the UN. Successive Israeli Governments have continually lied when it comes to the I/P issue. Successive Israeli Governments have lied for 65 years about their borders, their responsibilities to the UN, International Law and relative conventions. They’ve lied to their citizens, purposefully putting them in harms way in Occupied Territories. They’ve sold then non-Israeli land in non-Israeli territory.

    Having been raised on a diet of lies and deceit, it appears to have become second nature, part of the Israeli fabric.

    We see it here time and time again from the likes of yrn and mondonut. Completely false statements and unsubstantiated accusations that they then go on to compound rather than admitting they were wrong. Quite symptomatic of serial abusers and psychopaths

    Other than evil, what single word describes people who purposefully lie to their own for over half a century in order to justify their crimes?

    • pabelmont
      October 9, 2013, 11:56 am

      It’s not just supporters of Israel who lie and all lies are not about Israel. The (despicable) philosopher Leo Strauss holding a seat in an important American university told his classes (in foreign policy? government?) that lying was important and OK in a good cause and he seems to have become the BACKBONE of the (lying) NEOCON movement.

      Drury argues that Strauss teaches that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.” Nicholas Xenos similarly argues that Strauss was “an anti-democrat in a fundamental sense, a true reactionary.” As Xenos intemperately says, “Strauss was somebody who wanted to go back to a previous, pre-liberal, pre-bourgeois era of blood and guts, of imperial domination, of authoritarian rule, of pure fascism.”

      Strauss and his neocon students are not, of course, far from the lies relating to Israel. Wiesel may just be a doddering wrinklie (I’m getting there m’self), but I don’t buy that — he was always a champion of the idea that MEMORY was sufficiently honored if one remembered only two things: The Holocaust ™ and the value, importance, correctness, and eternally uncriticisable entity, Israel. Remember those two, and you need not trouble about any thing else. Ho-him, what else is new?

  11. fnlevit
    October 9, 2013, 6:10 am

    But do you, all of you, know what actually happened?

    Or just decided to bash us based on what Hamas and “objective” UN (Goldstein report support by tovarishch Weiss) say. Stop this dishonesty.

    Let us just look in some links. But dont tell me while you bring links from electronic intifada (claiming e.g. that Weizmann Institute conducts “clandestine research” in biological, chemical and nuclear warfare) that I can not quote wikipedia.
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    ” The Israeli government released video footage in which two militants are shown grabbing a young boy’s arm from behind holding him to walk in front of them toward a group of people waiting near a wall. The militants were placing the boy between themselves and an Israeli sniper. The second scene shows an individual, described as a terrorist, grabbing a school boy off of a floor, where he is hiding behind a column from IDF fire, and using him as a human shield to walk to a different location.

    After 15 alleged militants sought refuge in a mosque from Israeli forces, the BBC reported that Hamas radio instructed local women to go the mosque to protect the militants. Two women were later killed when Israeli forces opened fire.[289]

    In November 2006, the Israeli Air Force warned Muhammad Weil Baroud, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees who are accused of launching rockets into Israeli territory, to evacuate his home in a Jabalya refugee camp apartment block in advance of a planned Israeli air strike. Baroud responded by calling for volunteers to protect the apartment block and nearby buildings and, according to the Jerusalem Post, hundreds of local residents, mostly women and children, responded. Israel suspended the air strike.”

    Hamas MP Fathi Hamed stated that “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel… the elderly excel at this… and so do the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children.”[297]

    And let us also look at the famous testimony by British Colonel Kemp “Hamas is Expert at Driving Media Agenda,” link to youtube.com

    And the famous CBS 60 minutes program “According to Palestinian Sources”

    And here is another video of how incredible are the ways Palestinian children are directly sent to provoke Israeli sodiers.

    Could you imagine US marines in this situation?

    • talknic
      October 9, 2013, 1:11 pm

      fnlevit ” The Israeli government released video footage in which two militants are shown grabbing a young boy’s arm from behind holding him to walk in front of them toward a group of people waiting near a wall. The militants were placing the boy between themselves and an Israeli sniper”

      Did you check it out? The Wikipedia link for the source doesn’t even go to the Israeli Govt website. Typical work of a WikIsraelipropagandist.

      link to youtube.com

      There’s no evidence the two men are terrorists.
      @ 00:03 – 00:04 the guy on the left of the screen is motioning the kid AWAY. They DO NOT hold him. The crowd, the camera man and the people walking past are between the men and the alleged sniper. The body size of the kid affords no shielding from any alleged sniper.

      “The second scene shows an individual, described as a terrorist, grabbing a school boy off of a floor, where he is hiding behind a column from IDF fire, and using him as a human shield to walk to a different location”

      Again there’s no evidence the guy is a terrorist.
      @ 00:05 The kid is not behind the column, he’s sitting in the road.
      He is pulled off the road. Again, he affords no shielding from any alleged sniper.
      @ 00:15 we see people casually walking thru looking at what is happening, they’ve casually walked through the line of fire. No one in the background seems to be bothered by any alleged sniper.

      WTF is an Israeli sniper doing there anyway?

      “And let us also look at the famous testimony by British Colonel Kemp”

      A video from UN watch the propaganda outfit?

      CBS tells us NOTHING except what the commentator wants people to think. I doubt very much the Palestinians have control over the Israeli military to get them to perform in a fake video

      “And here is another video of how incredible are the ways Palestinian children are directly sent to provoke Israeli sodiers”

      Yes peace signs are so provocative. Never mind the fact that the distraught children have just seen their mother arrested and dragged away (conveniently edited out).

      “Could you imagine US marines in this situation?”

      You are inferring what exactly?

      • Cliff
        October 9, 2013, 2:24 pm

        Great takedown of that Ziotroll’s propaganda, talknic.

    • Talkback
      October 10, 2013, 6:13 pm

      fnlevit says: “And let us also look at the famous testimony by British Colonel Kemp …”

      LOL. What famous “testimony”? He has never been to Gaza. But I’m sure that qualifies him for writing “famous testimonies” for Israel’s propaganda organisation Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

  12. frankier
    October 9, 2013, 7:12 am

    I think Truman’s diary entry is very relevant here…

    link to trumanlibrary.org

  13. Kathleen
    October 9, 2013, 7:58 am

    Wiesel should feel shame about this. He has worked hard all of his life to keep a focus on the WWII Holocaust. I have always thought it was too bad he never took the time to mention millions of non Jews who were murdered. But clearly his attention was only on the Jews who were brutally murdered and should be remembered as well as millions of others. For him to be unable to apply those same values to Palestinian lives is telling. And what it tells is rather shameful.

    When Max was asking him questions he did stop, listen and respond with something like “this question should be answered with more thought, time” Max could ask him to give him some time to answer these questions that Max and Alex were asking. He really did stop and listen for a minute. Turned his head in a thoughtful manner and listened. Although his answers in regard to Cast Lead were dreadful

    • seafoid
      October 9, 2013, 8:51 am

      The fact that they disown Cast Lead now shows how fragile zionism is. There is nothing to be gained in regurgitating Mark Regev’s 2008 talking points. Their nihilism is not capable of standing on its own 2 feet beyond Hebrew. That is why they are so dependent on hasbara and the layers and layers of lies and deception. With Wiesel and Dersh and Adelson soon to shuffle offstage who will take over to speak with forked tongue and will a new generation believe them.? Thanks to the work of young Palestinians and people like Max and Alex the memes are breaking down slowly.

      • Kathleen
        October 9, 2013, 10:09 am

        Edward Said, Carter, Tutu, Gish, Vanessa Redgrave, Barghouti, Norman Finkelstein first and second wave of activist. Many folks were knowingly silent for years are now coming to the fore front. A good thing. But acknowledging the silence is important

      • seafoid
        October 9, 2013, 10:20 am

        It is built layer by layer on the work of decent good people. And zionism has no honour.

  14. eljay
    October 9, 2013, 8:25 am

    Wiesel is a shameless hypocrite and an immoral weasel of a man.

  15. Chu
    October 9, 2013, 9:58 am

    “I don’t know anything about it.”

    I’d believe him. belief is relative
    for those that float in large bubbles.

    They probably believe the only way
    to survive is to act the victim, while
    restoring Jewish culture and population.
    It’s what many trolls often espouse.

    Moral relativism

  16. Les
    October 9, 2013, 4:09 pm

    If you mean the Eli Weisel who was awarded the Nobel prize largely for what he wrote about himself in “Night”

    If absolute truth to history is the standard, Pfefferkorn says, then Night doesn’t make the grade. Wiesel made things up, in a way that his many subsequent detractors could identify as not untypical of his modus operandi: grasping with deft assurance what people important to his future would want to hear and, by the same token, would not want to hear.

    link to counterpunch.org

  17. annebeck58
    October 10, 2013, 1:45 pm

    Wow. What?
    How OLD IS Weisel?
    How does one simply forget one of the biggest life-altering events in history?
    Cast-Lead Ops opened up and changed a LOT of hearts and minds against the apartheid state. Yet EW knows nothing about it?

    Americans have not forgotten it. We also do not forget Op Pillar of Cloud, and as many have said, the chickens would come home to roost. I think they chickens have landed and EW is terrified of being shat upon.. So he does the same to US?
    Does EW have old-timers-disease?? Seriously?!

  18. RoHa
    October 10, 2013, 10:06 pm

    “and as many have said, the chickens would come home to roost.”

    Not if the IDF has anything to do about it.

    link to mondoweiss.net

    link to mondoweiss.net

    • Citizen
      October 11, 2013, 2:03 pm

      Is that why the IDF has killed so many thousands of Palestinian chickens?

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