Holocaust survivor, writer, & ardent Zionist Elie Wiesel is frequently quoted about not remaining silent against oppression. Without question, the quotes are powerful & inspirational but they are entirely self-serving & self-aggrandizing. Wiesel took out full page ads in several major international media in 2014 to justify the eleven-week Israeli bombing siege of Gaza by claiming Palestinians used their children as human shields. He reduced the horrors of the Nazi holocaust to propaganda for Israeli genocide.
Wiesel was a central figure in ‘the holocaust industry’ which was anatomized by Norman Finkelstein in his book of the same title (before he went south politically by expressing opposition to BDS & contempt for Palestinians). In an interview about the book, Finkelstein said “The expression “there’s no business like Shoah-business” is literally coined” for Wiesel. Finkelstein was asked “Isn’t it a cheap shot to attack him (Wiesel) on his lecture fee of “$25,000, plus limousine”? He answered: “Why is that a cheap shot? He’s turned it into a business where he casts himself as a person who’s doing all this from anguish & pain & personal sacrifice while he has made a fortune out of it….Thanks to Elie Wiesel we have a distorted & disfigured & frankly meaningless version of the Nazi holocaust & we only know about those genocides that serve the interest of the US & Israel & we forget the ones that don’t. The only way we can learn from the holocaust is by restoring it as a rational object of historical inquiry & the only way we can do that is by putting the holocaust industry out of business.”
Finkelstein, who lost most of his family in the Jewish holocaust, is no genocide denier. When he skewers Wiesel, it is not to impugn or diminish the horrors of the holocaust but to challenge Zionist misrepresentation, profiteering, & making it an exceptional atrocity in human history rather than a continuum with the savageries of US-European colonialism all over the world. It was only an exception because it happened in Europe. It had been going on in Africa, the Pacific islands, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia for hundreds of years.
In its foundations, Zionism rejected uniting the struggle of Jews against persecution & pogroms with the broader struggles against racism & colonialism. Because it is an elitist & supremacist ideology, it chose instead to link the destiny of persecuted Jews with colonialism. Wiesel played a central part in that historical deceit & political betrayal. The grieving of Palestinians, the tears of Palestinian children speak far more eloquently to holocaust & genocide than a fraud like Elie Wiesel ever could.