This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
“Another Problem from Hell” – Max Blumenthal’s inverted word play on Samantha Power’s book on genocide. It refers to the video he took of the Paul Kagame/Elie Wiesel love fest last week at Cooper Union.
Since I’ve been writing about Wiesel since 1984, I couldn’t help but watch Blumenthal’s video with interest. Nonetheless, be forewarned. If you watch the video till the end you’ll experience a downward spiral of epic proportions. Once you enter the downward spiral there’s no way out.
Blumenthal’s title is ominous. Like Power’s book, the Cooper Union event was about Holocaust and genocide. Unfortunately, the event turned the evil of mass death inside out. At Cooper Union, Holocaust and genocide were served on fancy platters.
Actually, the staged event lacked oomph. Blumenthal’s video shows a constricted Kagame fending off genocide charges against him. Wiesel is distracted. He’s slumping in his chair.
After the event Blumenthal and fellow reporter, Alex Kane, ask Wiesel about Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. Wiesel seems unaware of what is being asked. Wiesel is 85 years old. Was he showing his age, his ignorance or both?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the architect of the evening, makes John Kerry look like an upright and determined intellectual. In the footage of him speaking with Kagame and Wiesel, Boteach comes off as a panderer and a lightweight. Like Wiesel, he’s busking for megabucks.
When Boteach is serious, he reminds me of televangelist John Hagee. He preaches damnation as he’s showered with money. When he’s upbeat, Boteach is more like mega-church pastor, Joel Osteen. He’s preaches Jesus as he’s showered with money.
Another comparable Christian figure is Bishop Eddie Long. I’m not suggesting Long’s epic sexual scandal stuff, though Boteach is the author of the sexual potboiler, Kosher Sex. I’m thinking of the time when Long had himself declared King. In the coronation ceremony he was wrapped in a Torah scroll. Watch it yourself if you don’t believe me. It’s a hoot.
But, then, aren’t Boteach and Wiesel wrapping themselves in Torah scrolls, symbolically at least, by representing what it means to be Jewish to the world?
A macho, violent, enabling, imperial Jewishness it is. Right before our eyes.
Another question from Blumenthal, this time to Wiesel and Boteach: If the evening event was supposed to be about the strong protecting the weak, doesn’t that apply to Israel with regard to Palestinians?
The response – nothing much to say. Silence.
Though I’m unwilling to pay the freight, there’s an interview with Elie Wiesel conducted by Pastor Hagee on sale at Hagee’s website for $7. Seems it was worth $500,000 for Wiesel’s, Bernie Madoff-depleted foundation. Sometimes you have to hustle for a buck.
If that isn’t enough of a downward spiral, listen to Wiesel being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour last year.You remember Amanpour, the supposedly serious journalist on CNN. Wiesel previews his Cooper Union showcase by already conflating the Holocaust and Syria.
Now listen to the lame questions and skewed moral courage Amanpour manufactures. Doesn’t she know better? Or is she just acting for the money?
If Oprah Winfrey doesn’t accept Hillary Clinton’s invite to be her VP, she should ask Amanpour. Like Samantha Power – and Chelsea! – Amanpour married up into the Jewish political elite.
Oprah didn’t marry up but she had her moment with Wiesel as well – at Auschwitz. In fact her Auschwitz moment is ranked #10 on her all-time hit list of past shows. The shows that rank higher on Oprah’s greatest hits parade include her interviews with Sarah Palin and the reunited Osmond’s. All were topped by her car give-away.
Am I crazy or is the male Jewish establishment being dumbed down by the as- or more -intelligent non-Jewish women they’re marrying? Is part of the inter-marriage ceremony a pledge to assimilate to American power for their gain?
Till American empire do us part.
I warned you about the downward spiral.