Skip to main content

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

By Steve Almasy and Josh Levs, CNN
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
  • 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

(CNN) -- 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.

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
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

Wiesel calls Hamas a "death cult."

"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."

Inside the mind of Hamas' political leader

Part of complete coverage on
Tensions in the Middle East
Here's a look at some of the most serious conflicts involving Israel and its neighbors -- conflicts that have spanned more than six decades.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
A video released by ISIS shows the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and threatens the life of another American if President Obama doesn't end military operations in Iraq.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join his country's military.
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
The sights at the Gaza zoo couldn't be sadder, after it was nearly destroyed during recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Both Hamas and Israel have chosen conflict over real peace negotiations again and again in the past, writes Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Mohammed Najib says Hamas' objectives also include ending its political isolation.
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
With so many conflicts, on so many fronts, here's a quick look at what's happening.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014
Alan Elsner: How Israel reacts will be decisive turning point for both Israelis and Palestinians.
updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
The Israel-Gaza conflict impacts families on both sides. Karl Penhaul speaks to the family of a militant killed in Gaza.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A sense of Egypt's historic role and the traditional animosity of their military toward Islamist radicalism have propelled Egypt to take a central role in the on-off cease-fire talks.
updated 5:50 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
If the Gaza truce holds and Israel's Operation Protective Edge comes to its conclusion, some things are certain.
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister says, to secure peace, Israel needs to offer Gazans a better future.
updated 4:35 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Tensions between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been strained for years.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
Images from the conflict between Israel and Hamas depict apparent civilians, caught in the middle.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Hamas must be tamed through politics, not the failed strategy of war, argues Ed Husain.
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
It may have started as a TV debate about the Israel-Hamas conflict, but it's now turned into an online war of words.
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Hamas' political leader, who lives in Qatar, sits down with CNN for an exclusive interview.
updated 6:43 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Nafoz Mohammed is living in a cramped two-room apartment with 16 other people, hours holed up in fear.
updated 12:54 AM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
Karl Penhaul visits a destroyed section of Gaza and learns how the bombing has affected one student's aspirations.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
The birth of a child is normally a joyous occasion, but it is tinged by sadness and anxiety in Gaza. Ian Lee reports.
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Amid the Gaza conflict, experts try to figure out who's in charge of "the resistance."
updated 6:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The opening was so small that CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- no physical giant -- had to bend down to climb inside.
Follow CNNArabic for the latest news and analysis from the Middle East and rest of the world.