Nobel laureate Wiesel: Hamas must stop using children as human shields

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Story highlights

  • Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986
  • He says Hamas offers a "dark future" for children
  • The Holocaust survivor writes that both Palestinian and Jewish parents want peace
  • A Jewish group produced the ad campaign, which appears in some major U.S. papers

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel writes in a new ad campaign that the crisis in Gaza and Israel is a battle between "those who celebrate life and those who champion death."

Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, begins with a reference to Abraham, who is considered the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Wiesel cites the story of God stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac.

"Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it's Hamas' turn," the headline reads.

Wiesel calls Hamas a "death cult."

Holocaust survivor  Elie Wiesel appears at a press conference at the United Nations on Oct. 27, 2004 in New York. Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.    Chris Hondros/Getty Images

"Do the two cultures that brought us the Psalms of David and the rich libraries of the Ottoman Empire not share a love of life, of transmitting wisdom and opportunity to their children? And is any of this discernible in the dark future offered by Hamas to Arab children, to be suicide bombers or human shields for rockets?

"Palestinian parents want a hopeful future for their children, just like Israeli parents do. And both should be joining together in peace."

Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshaal, who lives in Qatar, presented a very different view of the conflict in an interview with CNN -- and denied that Hamas uses human shields.

    Wiesel, in the ad, calls on "the Palestinian people to find true Muslims to represent them, Muslims who would never voluntarily place a child in danger." He asks U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to speak out against Hamas.

    Obama has discussed Middle East peace with Wiesel in the past.

    The ad campaign appears in some U.S. papers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, according to This World: The Values Network, a group that says it is committed to "bringing Jewish values to mainstream American culture as a way of healing and strengthening families, diverting society's focus from material greed and inspiring children to emulate caring, compassionate relationships."

    "We all lament the loss of Palestinian life brought about by the murderous Hamas regime," founder Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said, according to the organization's website. "This is especially true of the children. That is why we have produced this advertising campaign with Elie Wiesel, to stop the terrorist cowards of Hamas from hiding behind innocent children and pregnant women."

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