Elie Wiesel spoke out

04.07.03

Elie Wiesel spoke out yesterday in support of the war in Iraq. Speaking at an international youth leadership conference hosted here in Montreal called ImagineMontreal, Wiesel repeated his oft-quoted theory that peace is an ideal, but pacifism is the wrong way to achieve peace:

“The danger which threatens the world is terrorism; nuclear terrorism, chemical and biological terrorism,” Elie Wiesel said at a news conference in which he acknowledged his views on the Iraqi conflict are paradoxical.

“I believe war is a blasphemy, but I’m not a pacifist. A pacifist is someone who would never bear arms. I would have fought against Hitler. That was a just war.

”The last just war probably was against Hitler. Since then we have had necessary wars, not just wars,” he said during the IMAGINE International Young Leadership Conference organized by ProMontreal and the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada.

Wiesel said he supports the current military intervention in Iraq because he believes the “reliable sources” in Washington and Israel who contend weapons of mass destruction are concealed in the ravaged country.

“If not for that, I wouldn’t support the coalition for intervention. I support the coalition. I am not for war,” said Wiesel whose efforts to avoid deadly conflict in the world’s hot spots have earned him wide recognition.

Wiesel, the celebrated author of books such as “Night”, “Dawn”, and “A Begger in Jerusalem”, Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor who remembers all too well the effect that appeasement had on Europe during World War II. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He claims to hate war – all war – but concedes that it is sometimes necessary. And this, he says, is one of those times:

The United Nations tried to disarm Hussein but didn’t – or couldn’t – succeed, he said.

“I believe that if certain European countries had applied as much pressure to Saddam Hussein as to (U.S. President George) W. Bush, there wouldn’t have been a war,” he said.

This was a powerful message, coming from a highly respected man. And it is a message that is gaining recongnition in many circles.

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