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Dear Mr. Wiesel,

I was extraordinarily dismayed to read your advertisement in the New York Times today – the one in which you accuse Hamas of “child sacrifice.” This, on the same day that the paper is full of reportage of multiple Israeli killings of Palestinian children in United Nations shelters. Of which you have not a word to say, except to demand that Israeli soldiers not be criticized, to exculpate them as facing a “terrible choice.” And to characterize Israel as “those who celebrate life.” Have you no shame, sir?

What is particularly heartbreaking about reading this advertisement is that I have taught your book, Night, and taught it as a universalist statement which, as the Nobel Committee put it, “embrace[s] all repressed peoples and races.” Except for Palestinians, apparently. Knowing your apparent beliefs, I can never use your book again, or I would be as hypocritical as you are, sir. Or I would have to break my students’ hearts and reveal to them that the same man who writes about Nazi savagery gives his own group a pass when they are the murderers. Or should I split hairs and explain to them that collective punishment which is not followed by genocide is somehow acceptable?  

Is it really true, sir, that this war is “yet another struggle for [Israeli] survival?” (my italicizing) You must be aware that this is an absurd statement, turning the oppressor, the ghettoizer, into the victim; it betrays either a lack of connection to reality or purposeful deceit. Is describing this war as one of “civilization versus barbarism” an example of a “message… of peace, atonement and human dignity?” (Nobel citation) Only in a world devoid of morality. I thought you believed in a universal morality, sir, but apparently I (and the Nobel Committee) was in error; you can only see tragedy when it falls on those you find suitable victims. For shame, sir.

Marc Kagan

Originally posted to marckagan on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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