Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Wiesel: Outrage at Jerusalem letter

    Elie Wiesel: Jerusalem residents accused him of not knowing the 'real' Jerusalem
    Elie Wiesel: Jerusalem residents accused him of not knowing the 'real' Jerusalem

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has sparked outrage in Jerusalem for an open letter he wrote to US President Barack Obama urging him not to ‘politicise’ Jerusalem.

    The American-based academic and Holocaust survivor wrote to President Obama: “For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics.

    "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.

    “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."

    The letter, which appeared in many American newspapers, went to say: “Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city.

    “The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory."

    But a letter published in the New York Review of Books from 100 Jewish residents, academics and activists in Jerusalem criticised Mr Wiesel for “sentimentalising” the city. They said they felt they were being “sacrificed for the fantasies of those who love our city from afar".

    The letter read: “Your letter troubles us, not simply because it is replete with factual errors and false representations, but because it upholds an attachment to some other-worldly city which purports to supersede the interests of those who live in the this-worldly one.”

    “We cannot recognise our city in the sentimental abstraction you call by its name. 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.

    "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.”

    They also expressed dismay that the reality of life in Jerusalem was not conveyed by Mr Wiesel and called for him to recognise the “discrimination” against Arabs in the city.

    Former Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Sarid also criticised Mr Wiesel for claiming Arabs had free rights in Jerusalem.

    He said: "Not only may an Arab not build 'anywhere', but he may thank his God if he is not evicted from his home and thrown out on to the street with his family and property.”

World

Rabbi among Mexico quake victims

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rabbi among Mexico quake victims
World

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris
World

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...

Sonia Zhuravlyova

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...
World

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence

JC Reporter

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence
World

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss

Daniel Sugarman

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss
World

Australian abuse report

Henry Benjamin

Australian abuse report
Comment

US embassy move could spark violence

Arieh Kovler

Friday, January 27, 2017

US embassy move could spark violence
World

It's Chanucah Song time!

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Chanucah Song time!
World

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...

JC Reporter

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...