Boston, MA – Saying that the Holocaust should never be forgotten, human rights activist Elie Wiesel called for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be arrested when he visits foreign countries because of his calls for genocide.Join our WhatsApp group
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“We should arrest Ahmadinejad when he comes to the world,” Wiesel, 81, a Holocaust survivor and professor at Boston University, said to applause inside Rock Financial Showplace in Novi at a dinner for Chabad Lubavitch, an Orthodox Jewish group.
“Ahmadinejad is president of an ancient and great country,” Wiesel said. “He said there was no Holocaust, but I will produce one. And he even says how … 6 million Jews in Israel, he wants to destroy them.”
A 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner known internationally for his human rights work, Wiesel spoke to about 1,200 guests at a banquet honoring the memory of the late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a former head of Chabad who died in 1994; the group has several centers in metro Detroit that promote Jewish education and good deeds.
Wiesel — who survived the Nazis’ Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and Buchenwald in Germany and wrote “Night,” a book about victims of the Holocaust — started his talk about his discussions with Schneerson, saying he was close to him.
“He had a sense of eternity in the moment,” said Wiesel, who then spoke about the importance of maintaining a Jewish identity in the modern world. He said that being Jewish is not at odds with being connected with the world, but enhances it. “The more Jewish the Jew, the more universal the Jew,” Wiesel said. “A Jew feels that he must deny his Jewishness to become universal … you can’t. The more Jewish the Jew, the more you can help those who are non-Jews.”
Wiesel also stressed the importance of not forgetting, even though we may want to.
“The body fights memory,” Wiesel said, because it is sometimes about pain. But, he added, “history without memory can’t exist. Civilization without memory can’t prevail.”
Referring to the Holocaust, Wiesel said: “If this tragedy were to be forgotten, it would be a tragedy not just for the Jewish people, but for the entire world.”