As the world began to mourn the passing of renowned author, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Prize recipient and Algemeiner Tribute Committee Chairman Elie Wiesel on Saturday, with heart-felt eulogies and personal tributes from heads of state to friends, a famous Israel-basher took the opportunity to disparage and defame the intellectual icon.
Max Blumenthal — senior writer for AlterNet and author of Goliath and The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, a virulently anti-Israel book about Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 – took to Twitter to say, “Elie Wiesel is dead. He spent his last years inciting hatred, defending apartheid & palling around with fascists.”
Wiesel, he wrote, “did more harm than good and should not be honored.”
In a series of additonal tweets in the aftermath of the announcement that Wiesel had died, Blumenthal — whose close association with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was revealed in the batches of emails released from her server over the past year– proceeded to explain his antipathy to the beloved chronicler of Nazi atrocities, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2013.
He “went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them,” wrote Blumenthal, referring to Wiesel’s staunch support for Israel.
“Elie Wiesel repeatedly lauded Jewish settlers for ethnically cleansing Palestinians in East Jerusalem,” Blumenthal tweeted, along with an article from the far-Left online publication Mondoweiss.
“Elie Wiesel took $500,000 from hate preacher Pastor John Hagee, who has written that Hitler was a ‘half breed Jew,’” Blumenthal wrote.
Meanwhile, Larry Derfner, a writer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles and +972 magazine, posted to Facebook an article about Wiesel written last year by Peter Beinart, senior editor at The Atlantic and a columnist for Israel’s left-wing daily, Haaretz.
Derfner prefaced his post with: “The whole truth about Elie Wiesel, RIP, written last year by Peter Beinart.”
The article, which appeared in Haaretz last February, is titled, “The Tragedy of Elie Wiesel: Why does such a great man keep apologizing for a government that betrays his ideals?”
Beinart began by praising Wiesel’s “brilliance,” which “lay not merely in his ability to convey what Jews endured at Auschwitz but in his ability to convey the riches that they brought with them, riches that future generations must not squander…”
He went on:
Why is Elie Wiesel, one of the world’s great champions of human rights, denying the human rights abuses to which even Israel’s own former Shin Bet chiefs have testified? Because the occupation – Israel’s control for almost 50 years of millions of human beings who lack the basic rights proclaimed by its own declaration of independence – stains everything it touches, not only in Israel but across the Jewish world….
Beinart concluded: “On moral questions, Elie Wiesel speaks louder than any Jew alive. Which makes his silence loudest too.”
On Sunday, after critical reports of Blumenthal’s tweets began to appear on social media, he removed them from his page.
The Clintons released the following statement in honor of Wiesel:
Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Elie Wiesel. We join all those around the world in mourning his loss and giving thanks for his life.
Elie shouldered the blessing and the burden of survival. In words and deeds, he bore witness and built a monument to memory to teach the living and generations to come the perils of human indifference.
As he often said, one person of integrity can make a difference. For so many, he was that difference—including at the dedication of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 when he urged me to stop the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia; at the White House Millennium Lecture Hillary invited him to give; and in all his wonderful books and lectures.
We send our deepest sympathies and prayers to Marion and Elisha, always grateful for the great love they shared with Elie and the strength it gave him, and for all the kindness and friendship he gave us.
Wiesel, 88, was born in Romania. He published 57 books — written mostly in French and English — includingNight, based on his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
A life-long activist for human rights, he was described by the Los Angeles Times in 2003 as the “most important Jew in America.”
The Algmeiner released the following statement of tribute:
The Algemeiner newspaper’s publisher, editors, officers and staff mourn the passing of revered Nobel laureate, Holocaust survivor, journalist and author Elie Wiesel.
Wiesel served as Algemeiner Tribute Committee chairman and played a key role in the paper’s founding. He appeared as an Algemeiner columnist for many years and often published commentary on world events in The Algemeiner’s pages. We honor his profound, personal friendship and support of The Algemeiner.
A renowned – proudly Jewish – voice of conscience, Wiesel wasn’t only the Jewish people and Israel’s most compelling advocate, but a tireless champion of moral causes the world over.Wiesel described The Algemeiner as a ‘warrior for truth’ but it was in fact Wiesel himself who most embodied this great accolade.
In permanent tribute to his memory and in continuity of his immense spirit, The Algemeiner resolves to never be silent in the face of injustice, and to strive to live up to his clarion call to serve as a ‘warrior for truth’ for the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal