Text size

Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel has called on Israel to take in refugees from Darfur.

In an interview in tomorrow's Haaretz Magazine, Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, says, "We as Jews are obliged to help not only Jews. I was a refugee and therefore I am in favor of admitting refugees. I thought it was very laudable when Israel became the first country to admit the Vietnamese boat people. History constantly chooses a capital of human suffering, and Darfur is today the capital of human suffering. Israel should absorb refugees from Darfur, even a symbolic number."

Wiesel, 76, believes that all genocides in the last half of the 20th century - among then in Rwanda, Bosnia, Biafra and Darfur - "are the result of what happened in the Holocaust.

The Holocaust proved that it is possible to do this, and if it is possible, then why not?"

Israel, Wiesel said, needs the cooperation of Europe and the United States because, "come what may, Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons." Wiesel says he has no doubt that Iran is a danger "not only to Israel, [but] to the whole world. The man [Iranian President Ahmadinejad] is insane, clinically insane. He is simply completely clinically insane." Wiesel says he does not want to see all-out war and jokingly adds: "Maybe we should incite James Bond to help us ... I say that as a joke ... We are in a James Bond period."

Wiesel's memoir on the Holocaust, "Night," published in 1958, has so far sold eight million copies in the U.S. alone. After talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club in January for the second time, it sold 1.7 million copies. The book is said to describe "the death of God" from Wiesel's perspective, but Wiesel says, "I never lost my faith in God. I rose up against God's silence ... I had questions and protests."

With regard to the debate in the U.S. in recent months over the accuracy of some scenes in "Night," Wiesel says, "If it is no longer possible to believe the testimony of a survivor, what shall we believe?"