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Ear to the Ground

Jerusalem Jews Tell Elie Wiesel to Get Real

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Posted on May 12, 2010
Flickr / david55king (CC-BY)

You may recall Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s letter urging President Barack Obama to lay off of Jewish settlements in Jerusalem. A group of prominent intellectuals who actually live in the city have written their own withering response, calling Wiesel’s letter a fantasy “replete with factual errors and false representations.”

The Guardian:

An extraordinary row has broken out between Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel peace prize winner, and a group of Jewish residents of Jerusalem over who speaks for the future of the disputed city.

Wiesel prompted the argument with an open letter to Barack Obama appealing for him not to “politicise” differences over Jerusalem by pressing Israel to stop Jewish settlement construction there. In a reflection of the divisions that sometimes exist between Jews who live in the city and those who idealise it from afar, 100 Jewish residents have responded with their own open letter expressing “outrage” at Wiesel’s call, and accusing him of sentimentality and falsely claiming that there is no discrimination against Jerusalem’s Arab population.

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Elie Wiesel’s letter:

It was inevitable: Jerusalem once again is at the center of political debates and international storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen times destroyed and seventeen times rebuilt, it is still in the middle of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has aroused that many passions.

For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it IS Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother’s lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.

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An Open Letter to Elie Wiesel:

Dear Mr. Wiesel:

We write to you from Jerusalem to convey our frustration, even outrage, at your recently published letter on Jerusalem. We are Jewish Jerusalemites—residents by choice of a battered city, a city used and abused, ransacked time and again first by foreign conquerors and now by its own politicians. We cannot recognize our city in the sentimental abstraction you call by its name.

Our Jerusalem is concrete, its hills covered with limestone houses and pine trees; its streets lined with synagogues, mosques, and churches. Your Jerusalem is an ideal, an object of prayers and a bearer of the collective memory of a people whose members actually bear many individual memories. Our Jerusalem is populated with people, young and old, women and men, who wish their city to be a symbol of dignity—not of hubris, inequality, and discrimination. You speak of the celestial Jerusalem; we live in the earthly one.

For more than a generation now the earthly city we call home has been crumbling under the weight of its own idealization. Your letter troubles us, not simply because it is replete with factual errors and false representations, but because it upholds an attachment to some otherworldly city that purports to supersede the interests of those who live in the this-worldly one. For every Jew, you say, a visit to Jerusalem is a homecoming, yet it is our commitment that makes your homecoming possible. We prefer the hardship of realizing citizenship in this city to the convenience of merely yearning for it.

Indeed, your claim that Jerusalem is above politics is doubly outrageous. First, because contemporary Jerusalem was created by a political decision and politics alone keeps it formally unified. The tortuous municipal boundaries of today’s Jerusalem were drawn by Israeli generals and politicians shortly after the 1967 war. Feigning to unify an ancient city, they created an unwieldy behemoth, encircling dozens of Palestinian villages that were never part of Jerusalem. Stretching from the outskirts of Ramallah in the north to the edge of Bethlehem in the south, the Jerusalem that the Israeli government foolishly concocted is larger than Paris. Its historical core, the nexus of memories and religious significance often called the “Holy Basin,” makes up a mere one percent of its area. Now the government calls this artificial fabrication “Jerusalem” in order to obviate any approaching chance for peace.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 15, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

America: The Silence of a Nation


Posted on May 14, 2010


Truthdig columnist and author Chris Hedges has some very strong words for the Israeli and American governments, condemning their roles in the ongoing conflict with Gaza in this clip from Hedges’ speech at Revolution Books in New York City last year. Video content and music was later added to the footage from that speech to make this powerful package.”  —KA

=============

A very powerful speech/video from TD’s A/V Booth thread. Click on link to view:


http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/america_the_silence_of_a_nation_20100514/

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 15, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

By Toot_toot, May 15 at 9:35 am #

REF: INHERIT THE WIND

You are a true nutjob.
Wind? Pump my tail up and down and
get your wind, you half-witted bogus patriot!

And while you are at it pleeeze kiss it.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Hey Toot_toot,

You are absolutely correct that ITW is “a true nut job”. Those diversion attempts & slurs are just NOT working for that whimpering/whinny “damage control” zionist zealot.

ITW will NOT condemn the murders/killings of thousands of innocent Palestinian/Lebanese/Arab children, women, men, grandmothers, grandfathers…etc… by his beloved Israeli IDF “child killers” using mostly US made weapons & funded by the ole American taxpayer’s $$$.

I just laugh at his hysterical ways & garbage on TD.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 15, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

One must stay persistent & not let irrelevant garbage from the likes of ITW & others get in their way.

We need to stay involved & reveal the truth.
*********************************************

Robert’s bullshit answer to why he tries to destroy every thread and bring it to whatever he wants to speechify about—but only with someone else’s words.

“The Truth” as Robert puts it is NO different than the evangelists who periodically clog up threads with their calls to all us sinners to repent and come to Jesus.  Same justification, too. “What I’m doing is SO important it doesn’t matter if I trash EVERY thread on Truthdig so people can know ‘The Truth’!”

Robert, why not open your own forum?  Then you can post whatever horseshit you like, and you can ban ANYONE who dares disagree with you or contradicts you.  You can be your own “Little Hitler” and make all your own rules.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

By Sodium-Na, May 14 at 1:14 am #

For ITW,

Will you please respond to Robert’s post of May 13 at 5:38 pm,especially the fifth paragraph in which he compares his post to Go Right Young Man’s post on the same thread

I think he has a valid point there.

~~~~~~~~~

Sodium-Na,


The more Americans become more informed about the truth regarding Israel’s Apartheid Zionism/policies against the Palestinian people, the more its apologists/damage control agents become paranoid and offensive. People like ITW are mostly on TD for damage control for his beloved “little Apartheid Israel”.

If my post were pro-Israel, I doubt that ITW would have whined/whimpered with his usual ways & side-tracking/smearing attempts. He just does not want people to read what I post!

I like using various sources to reveal the truth. People need to have a chance to read and research on the topic of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. You may have noticed that a lot of my sources are from Jewish/Israeli writers, authors, historians…etc…who are on the side of justice, truth, peace, humanity, fairness, International Law, UN Resolutions and NOT on the side of Apartheid Zionism.


One must stay persistent & not let irrelevant garbage from the likes of ITW & others get in their way.

We need to stay involved & reveal the truth.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 14, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Sodium-Na, May 14 at 1:14 am #

For ITW,

Will you please respond to Robert’s post of May 13 at 5:38 pm,especially the fifth paragraph in which he compares his post to Go Right Young Man’s post on the same thread

I think he has a valid point there.

**********************************************

He’ll need a special hat for it.

I have no sympathy or antipathy to GRYM.  However, I give him credit for using his own words and thoughts unlike Robert clogging threads with the thoughts of others.

Robert INSISTS that every thread is about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. He insists that everyone who doesn’t agree with his narrow, myopic POV must be a rabid Zionist and Republican. 

If you discuss how Global Warming has opened the Northwest Passage, Robert will load up the thread with posts (using other peoples’ writing) about Israel’s oppression and how Zionists are a blight on the world.  Then he’ll attack me for calling him out on it. 

Salty, do you REALLY want to get into the middle of this?  Robert’s passion for this one-track-mindedness, combined with his ONLY personal contributions to be aspersions and insults, has driven most of his former supporters here to move on to other topics and just let him rant on and on and on and on.

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By Sodium-Na, May 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

For ITW,

Will you please respond to Robert’s post of May 13 at 5:38 pm,especially the fifth paragraph in which he compares his post to Go Right Young Man’s post on the same thread

I think he has a valid point there.

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By LadyR, May 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For Toot-toot:

“Far above anything else, we must fight those who control media…”

Absolutely. But, guess who controls the media in the US?

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

FEELING THE LOVE IN JERUSALEM….

May 13, 2010

“There has been lots of talk again about a One or Two State Solution here in Israel/Palestine… After you watch the following ‘celebration’ held in Jerusalem’s Old City…. complete with chants of “Death to the Arabs”

~~~~~~

Click on link to watch video of Israel’s fanatic zionists with their IDF killers:

http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/feeling-the-love-in-jerusalem/

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, May 13 at 4:28 pm #

Its that ITW with his chronic whimpering & whinny self…his beloved Apartheid “little Israel” has annexed East Jerusalem and made its boundaries reach Bethlehem. Its all about ethnic cleansing & theft of Palestinian neighborhoods, homes and land.
**************************************************

Do you actually READ what I write or are you such a pathetically one-track mind that you are not even capable of following a thread?

Can YOU explain WTF ANY of your posts have to do with Elie Wiesel’s letter on Jerusalem and the effective rebuttal of it?

Of course you cannot.  You do not have the mental capacity to engage in anything other than copying other people’s ideas and then hurling abuse at anyone who points out your fundamental issue:
YOU ARE IRRELEVANT TO THIS THREAD.

********

ITW is such a whinny & whimpering hypocrite. I would have to guess that the post by the fanatic zionist, Go Right Young Man (GRYM) is relevant to the thread since ITW did not whine about it…eh! Just wondering why ??? No need to wonder!!!

WHAT HE WHINES ABOUT REGARDING I POST IS TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO ME! THAT ITW IS SUCH AN IRRELEVANT HYPOCRITE!

He does not dare condemn the killings/murders of innocent Palestinian/Lebanese/Arab children, women, men, civilians…etc… by his beloved Israeli IDF killers.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Its that ITW with his chronic whimpering & whinny self…his beloved Apartheid “little Israel” has annexed East Jerusalem and made its boundaries reach Bethlehem. Its all about ethnic cleansing & theft of Palestinian neighborhoods, homes and land.
**************************************************

Do you actually READ what I write or are you such a pathetically one-track mind that you are not even capable of following a thread?

Can YOU explain WTF ANY of your posts have to do with Elie Wiesel’s letter on Jerusalem and the effective rebuttal of it?

Of course you cannot.  You do not have the mental capacity to engage in anything other than copying other people’s ideas and then hurling abuse at anyone who points out your fundamental issue:
YOU ARE IRRELEVANT TO THIS THREAD.

Report this
Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, May 13 at 12:00 pm #

There goes Robert again, clogging a thread with lengthy irrelevancies that have NOTHING to do with the topic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Its that ITW with his chronic whimpering & whinny self…his beloved Apartheid “little Israel” has annexed East Jerusalem and made its boundaries reach Bethlehem. Its all about ethnic cleansing & theft of Palestinian neighborhoods, homes and land.

See details below…you’ll get the picture!

======================

Click on link below for the “fanatic’s” details:


ILLEGAL SETTLERS HARASS PALESTINIAN WOMAN PROTESTING THE ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF HER LAND.

“Not quite the image of the poor helpless Israelis the media wants you to see, is it?”


http://express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1100939016&Issue=NP_KHI&Date=20100513

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Too many in high places have their own truth. One for them and one for us.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I hope Mr. Wiesel takes them up on their invitation to see the earthly Jerusalem. Maybe he might remove some of the stars from his eyes for the harsher realities of what is going on in his own country. Maybe remove some of that gauzey sentimentality to fully see the technicolor of today’s life in Jerusalem.

The Islamic world, were among those who protected the learning that was made before the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages where it was lost, along with monks in places like Spain and Ireland too.

Besides the nukes that Israel has it is backed by the USA which allows it to continue in its war crimes, now some Palestinians have responded in kind which makes them war criminals too, both must stop but first the initiators, that being Israel.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 13, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

There goes Robert again, clogging a thread with lengthy irrelevancies that have NOTHING to do with the topic.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 13, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Why won’t Israel allow Gazans to import coriander?

In its response to a freedom-of-information suit last week, the state admitted that there is specific list of goods permissible for import to Strip.

By Amira Hass

05/07/10


The Defense Ministry is refusing - on security grounds, it says - to reveal why Israel prohibits the import into the Gaza Strip of items such as cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, french fries, dried fruit, fabrics, notebooks empty flowerpots and toys, while allowing cinnamon, plastic buckets and combs.


But in its response to a freedom-of-information suit last week, the state did admit, for the first time, that there is specific list of permissible goods.

The suit, filed in the Tel Aviv administrative court by Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, sought to clarify the criteria and procedures the authorities use to determine what goods to allow into Gaza. It was filed after Gazans began claiming that commercial interests inside Israel, and their lobbying power, were determining the permitted items.

In its response, the state “apologized to the court and the plaintiff for inaccuracies presented during oral arguments [in January], due to certain misunderstandings.” The inaccuracy in question was its denial of the existence of written directives.

The response included two documents that the state termed drafts that are already being used in practice - one titled “Procedure for Permitting the Entry of Goods into Gaza” and one titled “Procedure for Tracking and Estimating Inventories in Gaza.” The latter is supposed to warn of existing or likely shortages.

The state also submitted a third document, a “List of Critical Humanitarian Goods for the Population,” whose existence it had previously denied. This list is periodically updated, it said.

A fourth document, called “Foodstuffs Consumption in Gaza - Red Lines,” is a draft for internal use only, the state said, “and has never served as a basis for decision-making.” Haaretz reporters Uri Blau and Yotam Feldman revealed the existence of this document in a June 2009 investigative report. It apparently determines the minimum nutritional needs of Gaza’s population, according to caloric intake and grams of food, parsed by age and gender.

The state seeks to deny Gisha’s suit on the grounds that revealing the first three documents would “harm national security and possibly even diplomatic relations.” And since the fourth is not a basis for policy, there is no need to reveal it, the state argued.

Gisha filed its response with the court yesterday, in which it reiterated its demand for any documents that determine the goods transfer policy.It is difficult to imagine how publishing a list of products, such as medications, foodstuffs and hygiene products, or revealing the procedures that determine this list, could harm state security,” wrote attorney Tamar Feldman.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click on link for the of the details:

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/why-won-t-israel-allow-gazans-to-import-coriander-1.288824

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 13, 2010 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

From an Israeli correspondent

Dear Dr Finkelstein

04.26.2010

Dear Dr Finkelstein,

“Living here I am constantly reminded of three Orwell quotes:

“People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts on the ground can be ignored when they are unwelcome.”

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.”

I am a strong supporter of your work, but the overall message of your books goes against many favored truths here.  It is like telling a child Santa Claus doesn’t exists and mommy and daddy ate all the reindeer and melted Frosty in the microwave.  For Israelis, it is changing the music from Rachmaninoff to fingernails on a chalkboard.  Most are not ready to hear any of the information.  The work of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch is meaningless in the eyes of many Israelis.  It might as well be coming from The National Inquirer.  It is for this reason, I feel myself forced into the corner of using only Israeli sources and writers to support my strong “Just Social Order” stance.  Fortunately, there are enough good Israeli sources out there (Akiva Eldar Lords of the Land – highly recommended- and Gidoen Levy Haaretz among them.)  Sometimes I find the irony to be so thick I nearly choke on it.  On the one hand using UN 181 as the birth certificate and on the other disregarding everything the UN says.  One of my favorite documents to reference is the Israeli Declaration of Independence because it is prominently displayed in nearly every building in Israel. It states that Israel “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex…….and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” It is difficult for Israelis to ignore because it is everywhere, but they somehow manage to do so.

My wife and I moved to Israel over one year ago.  We came here looking for a positive place to raise a family and now we find ourselves awestruck and saddened by the disaster before our eyes.  I expected to find a situation much better than my trip here more than ten years prior. Until about 9 months ago, I had never even heard of Norman Finkelstein.  It was only after I moved to Israel that I began to take interest in your writings. I feel very foolish in hindsight for not listening earlier. But I must say, I would have never believed any of what you have written.  All my life I have believed Israel was a country worthy of support at all costs.  I believed they wanted a just peace and were doing everything in order to achieve that end.  Unfortunately, there is too much evidence to support the contrary.  It is sad to witness the voices of reason drowned out by the voices of religious zealots calling claim to a land that clearly is not theirs. It is impossible to unlearn what I have now learned.  My life would be much easier here if I was able to go back to my blissful ignorance.


Since living here, I have been searching for voices of reason mostly to be met with close minded, racist myrmidons. (just ask the Ethiopian Jews in Israel). I have lived in several countries in my life; South Africa among them. I would be hard pressed to say there was less racism here than in South Africa.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Click on link for the rest:

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/from-an-israeli-correspondent/

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, May 13, 2010 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

In his June 2009 Cairo address, the president again sought to placate the Islamic world — in part by wrongly claiming that Islamic learning had sparked the European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Lost in all this reset-button diplomacy is introspection on why past American presidents sought to support Israel in the first place. We seem to forget why no-nonsense Harry Truman, against worldwide opposition, ensured the original creation of the Jewish state — or why more than 60 percent of Americans in most polls continue to side with Israel in its struggle to survive.

In contrast, most of the rest of the world does the math and concludes Israel is a bad investment. It has no oil; its enemies possess nearly half the world’s reserves.

There is no downside in criticizing Israel, but censuring some of its radical Arab neighbors might prompt anything from an oil embargo to a terrorist response.

There are about 7 million Israelis; the Muslim and Arab population in the Middle East numbers in the hundreds of millions.

According to the academic cult of multiculturalism, it is fashionable to see pro-American, democratic and capitalist Israel as a symbol of a pernicious Western culture of oppression; its enemies are seen as underdog liberationists.

No wonder that in the ongoing dispute, most of the world adds up the pluses and minuses and concludes that it is wiser to side with Israel’s foes than to become its friend. But why, until now, has America always bucked the tide?

The reason is not the so-called “Jewish lobby” here in the U.S., but because a clear majority of non-Jews supported Israel. They saw that in a sea of autocracy, Israel is a democracy and a free and open society, one quite different from its neighbors.

I suspect that when there is a final two-state settlement, Arabs wishing to remain inside Israel will be treated far more humanely as citizens than any Jews who stay on the West Bank and take their chances as residents of the new Palestinian state. We suspect that when Israel pulls back from lands occupied after the 1967 war, there will remain prominent calls in the Arab world to continue the withdrawal — and finish Israel altogether.

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By Sodium-Na, May 13, 2010 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

For Inherit The Wind,

Quote
======

I read Wiesel’s letter in astonishment. All I could think was this great humanitarian has succumbed to early onset of Alzheimer’s syndrome. For him,of all people,not to recognize the humanity of Arab people
was like the Pop renouncing Christianity.

Unquote
========

ITW,

I must say that your HUMANITY is truly shining in the comments quoted above. I could detect it very easily.

Thank you,ITW,for being what you are. Most appreciated.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 13, 2010 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

I read Wiesel’s letter in astonishment.  All I could think was this great humanitarian has succumbed to early onset of Alzheimer’s Syndrome.  For him, of all people, not to recognize the humanity of Arab people was like the Pope renouncing Christianity.

The current government of Israel is their version of the Bush regime that nearly turned the US into a absolutist feudal state run by modern barons—and we still totter on the brink.

I hope, before it’s too late, the Israeli people wake up and vote these b@st@rds out.  But like the USA, they have their own version of tea-baggers and abortion-doctor shooters.  When Israel was closer to peace than ever, one of them, a Torah Orthodox named Egal Emir shot and killed the man responsible, Yitzakh Rabin, and killed the chance of peace as well, as Emir intended.

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By Sodium-Na, May 13, 2010 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

For MeHere,

Thank you,MeHere,for saying every thought I wanted to say. Your comments are worth repeating because I loved every word and every sentence you have posted:

Quote
======

Elie Wiesel has made a career out of being Elie Wiesel. He has become the “advertiser” of the Holocaust and also a supporter of destructive politics-both being downright offensive and depressing. Too bad,he could have been an inspiring leader in the cause of peace and universal human rights. That would have been a meaningful gift to Jewish people and to the rest of the world. I admire those in Israel who strongly question Wiesel’s Mistaken views.

Unquote
========

I also join you,MeHere,in expressing my ADMIRATION also,as you put it,“to those in Israel who strongly question Wesiel’s mistaken views.” I could not say better. Thanks again.

Splendid,indeed.

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By MeHere, May 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Elie Wiesel has made a career out of being Elie Wiesel. He has become the “advertiser” of the Holocaust and also a supporter of destructive politics -both being downright offensive and depressing. Too bad, he could have been an inspiring leader in the cause of peace and universal human rights. That would have been a meaningful gift to Jewish people and to the rest of the world. I admire those in Israel who strongly question Wiesel’s mistaken views.

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By GoyToy, May 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

The article misspelled the name of the great holocaust survivor. The correct spelling is WEASEL.

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By gerard, May 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

From my limited knowledge I presumem that this letter from “Jerusalem Jews” represents the opinion of SOME “Jerusalem Jews”—mostly not active or empowered in the Knesset.  Their critique of Wiesel’s letter is justified and their political position is fair—but I fear quite contrary to Israeli Government’s position.  I do wish this were not true and that the letter represented instead the opinion of the great majority of Israelis—enough to change the present unjust situation vis a vis the Palestinians who have little or no recourse.

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