Saturday afternoon, the world lost a figure who held a candle to the atrocities of the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel was 87 when he passed away, and his death once again shed light on his darkly shrouded stories of the vicissitudes of his childhood under Nazi rule in his acclaimed memoirs, most notably the hauntingly visceral Night. His ability to convey the toll of humanity’s most heinous act as well as his capacity to bring forth a message of hope instead of deep-seated acrimony is what rendered his existence so essential to Holocaust education, and eventually earned him a Nobel Prize for Peace.
Yet somehow, despite his immense contributions to society, as well as the almost ineffable existence he faced within Auschwitz and Buchenwald, some “activists” see this as an opportunity to castigate his efforts for the State of Israel. After Wiesel’s death, some of these “advocates” took to twitter to condemn Wiesel after his death, such as AlterNet’s Max Blumenthal, who lambasted his life’s work by tweeting, “Elie Wiesel went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them. He did more harm than good and should not be honored.” This was just one of hundreds of attacks on Elie Wiesel’s achievements in worldwide mediation.
Mr. Blumenthal, blatantly anti-Zionist, made these claims in an effort to expose Elie Wiesel and exacerbate his attitudes against terrorism initiated by Hamas unto the Jewish state. Whether or not Blumenthal sees Wiesel’s stance contrary to Hamas, a terrorist organization, as worthy of censure, or sees any of Wiesel’s intentions to bring harmony during crises such as the Darfur genocide or the South African Apartheid as contrived is left to his own conscience, but using Wiesel and his family’s victim-hood during the Holocaust to try and articulate that he could’ve done “more for the Palestinians” is beyond repulsive, it is offensive to the memory of those lost in the camps that Wiesel miraculously survived, the lives he wished to breathe some life and meaning into solely with his own prose.
It seems such logic would be commonplace, yet Blumenthal and so many others seem to find that cheapening the life of a Holocaust survivor because he wasn’t aligned with their views is somehow an acceptable reaction to Wiesel’s death.
So it is with heaviness in my heart that I have to actually ask this, not from the standpoint of a Zionist, but from that of a human being instead, that to those who disagreed with Wiesel’s politics or beliefs, please find it within you that even if you refuse to mourn, at least do not deign to the level of exploiting his experiences in World War II for your own assertions. It is a reprehensible way to express your beliefs, albeit they may have differed from his. Many are mourning this loss, and these actions disrespect not only Wiesel and his family, but also those lost to Hitler’s genocidal rule.