Elie Wiesel Calls For Tougher U.S. Stance Against Iran


Iran must entirely dismantle its nuclear program and renounce its “genocidal intent” against Israel as a precondition for continued talks with the United States, Elie Weisel asserted in a full-page ad in The New York Times Wednesday.

The same message will appear in The Wall Sreet Journal Thursday, said Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who pressed Wiesel to speak out on the matter and raised the funds for it. Rabbi Boteach told The Jewish Week most of the cost was covered by phlanthropist and former hedge-fund manager Michael Steinhardt.

Headlined “Iran Must Not Be Allowed To Remain Nuclear,” the ad was produced by Rabbi Boteach’s organization, This World: The Values Network. Bearing a photo of the world’s best known Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, it begins “If there is one lesson I hope the world has learned from the past, it is that regimes rooted in brutality must never be trusted.”

The U.S. recently announced an interim agreement with Tehran limiting its enrichment of uranium to levels below weapons grade and opening its nuclear facilities up to international inspectors in exchange for lifting of some economic sanctions.

Rabbi Boteach told The Jewish Week Wednesday he had visited Wiesel, 85, more than a dozen times to work out the language in the ad.

“His is the most authoritative, respected moral voice,” he said. “No one will ever forget how he challened Ronald Reagan over Bitburg and challenged President Obama over Israel building in East Jerusalem in 2010.”

The rabbi added that the message does not advocate that the U.S. terminate the current deal with Iran. “This is an interim agreement,” he said. “It says that if there is agreemt in six months [it is void]. Elie Wiesel is not a nuclear scientist and not an ambassador. He is the great moral voice of our generation and what he’s saying is clear.”

A spokesperson for Wiesel said that he was traveling and unavailable for comment Wednesday.