This may not be the most offensive Haaretz column ever written, but it very possibly is the most idiotic.
From Rogel Alpher in Haaretz:
I saw you during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, Elie Wiesel. You were there, in the gallery, next to Sara Netanyahu. Your appearance was impressive and powerful, leaving its mark on everyone who saw it.
…Your thin, elderly body hardly filled the suit you wore for the occasion. It is obvious you are accustomed to such suits. They are your natural clothing. Their touch is familiar to your skin. You looked like you were completely in your element when Netanyahu pointed you out – the most famous Holocaust survivor today, a Nobel laureate, an admired author – to illustrate his commitment to stopping the fulfillment of the Iranian threat to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. Never again, and all that Holocaust jazz. You stood and thanked all the members of Congress, who gave you a standing ovation. You sat down, but they would not stop.
There is an intolerable ease in the applause you receive. It is automatic. Applauding you is the easiest, safest thing to do. And how they applauded. You sat down and stood up, modestly, to receive their overflowing esteem. You gave Netanyahu your symbolic and moral support. It is obvious you are well aware of who you are. You are Elie Wiesel. You are 86 years old. And for you, I count for nothing.
What were you doing there, Elie Wiesel? Netanyahu is my prime minister. You are not an Israeli citizen. You do not live here. The Iranian threat to destroy Israel does not apply to you. You are a Jew who lives in America. This is not your problem. By what right did you stand there, using your reputation and your prestige, to try and influence the members of Congress to accept Netanyahu’s position on an issue that has nothing to do with you?
If Israel’s future is so important to you, if the fate of Jerusalem matters so much to you, why do you not live here? Do you think that you and I have some shared fate because we are both Jews? Think again. Everything that happens to me here in Israel does not happen to you there in New York. Where do you get the right to interfere in my affairs? You have some nerve.
Rogel Alpher has created a new moral rule for the world.
Genocide in Darfur? Beheadings by ISIS? Girls kidnapped by Boko Haram? Don’t speak out about it, unless you live in Nigeria or Iraq or the Sudan. Otherwise, you are a hypocritical blowhard.
Sorry, Peter Beinart. In Alpher’s world, you have no right to write a column for Haaretz anymore, you damned American.
In Alpher’s world, Wiesel has no right to speak out in support of Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians, Argentina’s Desaparecidos, Cambodian refugees, and Kurds. That’s almost as heinous a crime as Wiesel’s speaking out in defense of Israel Jews!
What chutzpah for a person who survived the genocide of six million Jews to speak out against the potential genocide of six million more Jews! What a hypocrite!
The ironic thing is that Alpher has said that he is so sick of Israel that he will move out – but meanwhile, his opinion of the people he is abandoning is far more important than that of those who identify with and care about them.
Hilariously, the longest paragraph in Alpher’s nonsensical piece is about Elie Wiesel’s hair. I kid you not.
It is impossible to ignore your white hair, visible from afar, parted by a deep gulf on the slope of your high forehead and dividing into airy stalks of a fluttering, almost youthful, forelock with something Parisian about it. The professorial hairdo of an esteemed intellectual, the kind that characterizes a creative, instinctive and turbulent sort of person. You carry it with open self-awareness, a bit like a preening peacock, a hallmark of the icon you have become. It flew over your elongated head, your beneficent and wise eyes. The feeling was that your very hair carried something of the victory of the human spirit. That is how the hair of a distinguished humanist looks.
This is the sort of serious thought that is esteemed by Haaretz and its shrinking readership.