NEW YORK (JTA) — Elie Wiesel said Jerusalem should not be negotiated "prematurely."
Wiesel, the internationally known Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize-winning author, said In a full-page advertisement published last Friday in the Washington Post that political pressure would not produce a solution for the contested city.
"For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics," the ad said. "It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture — and not a single time in the Koran."
Wiesel’s ad, which was titled "For Jerusalem," came a day after World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder published his own ad in the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal calling on the Obama administration to reverse the "dramatic deterioration" in relations with Israel. The normally close relationship between Israel and the United States has been on the rocks since Israel approved a construction permit for Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem during a visit to the region by Vice President Joe Biden in March.
"The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate, but about memory," the Wiesel ad said.
In response, Americans for Peace Now President Debra DeLee wrote to Wiesel urging him to tour eastern Jerusalem with a guide from Peace Now for a fuller perspective on the city and calling his advice to postpone negotiations "a prescription … for perpetual strife."
"Without negotiations over Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians, a two-state solution would be impossible," DeLee wrote. "And if the two-state solution is impossible, the only possibility is a bi-national state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, which would be neither Jewish nor democratic, a chaotic entity that would perpetuate the conflict between Jews and Arabs."