Sunday, July 3, 2016


....Reading this piece from Haaretz this afternoon, on how Wiesel was received in Israel, helped concretize my feelings. The article shows how little standing Wiesel actually has in Israel. Both the right and the left dislike him, for different reasons. And his particular brand—a survivor who shrouded his experience, and the Holocaust as a whole, with an aura of religiosity—just didn’t sell there for many years, if ever.

What the article shows, by implication, is that the hushed tone we’re all expected to adopt, here in the US, when speaking of Wiesel and his work actually has less to do with the Holocaust or even Israel than with the pervasive sentimentality of American culture and argument, the notion that trauma confers privilege and precludes judgment or argument, that when it comes to the most terrible matters of history, we’re all supposed to act as if we’re in church....

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