May 4th, 2010
02:20 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama discusses Middle East peace process with Elie Wiesel

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Elie Wiesel and President Obama met Tuesday at the White House. Both are pictured here in a file photo."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama dined with author and historian Elie Wiesel Tuesday at the White House in what an administration spokesman called a "friendly lunch."

The meeting came a few weeks after Wiesel published a full page ad in the Washington Post and other major newspapers, criticizing the Obama administration for its handling of the Middle East peace process.

Following the lunch, Wiesel told White House reporters he had a "good meeting" with the president and that Obama told him the peace process "must continue." Wiesel said the two men agreed "there is no substitute to peace among nations."

On Monday, the White House said Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for about 20 minutes to discuss the way forward to direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and to reaffirm his "unshakable" commitment to Israel's security.

Wiesel, whose father died in the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany, was also imprisoned there in the final months of World War II in 1945.

He accompanied Obama on a tour of the Buchenwald camp in June 2009. Obama's great-uncle was part of an Army division that liberated the Ohrdruf forced labor camp, a subdivision of Buchenwald.

This is not Wiesel's first visit to the White House this year. In February, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work in educating the world about the Holocaust.

Obama and Wiesel have another historical connection, as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Wiesel received the award in 1986, and Obama traveled to Oslo, Norway, last December as the 2009 recipient.

Filed under: Israel • President Obama • White House
soundoff (7 Responses)

    Obama is smiling while thinking, "yes, into the ocean you and your ilk will go..."

    May 4, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    God bless Elie Wiesel, a man I respect and love! Since the signing of SR 1070 in AZ, I have quoted Mr. Wiesel often, he is a champion of human rights!

    " I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endures suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." ~ Elie Wiesel

    May 4, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Ridgeway

    Hey, look! One Wiesel shakes hands with another.

    May 4, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Moby

    Well hopefully Mr. Wiesel is chronicling what the horrendous job is being done by Obama from Foriegn affairs to domestic policies that has hampered our economy. Doing nothing would have been better than what Obama has done to date.

    May 4, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. aware


    Jesus, the authentic Messiah, is Lord and ruler of the cosmos. Obama is not! 🙂

    May 4, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Steve, New York City

    I am 100% for Israel (and the Israeli people) living in peace. Furthermore, I also believe that there is probably diversity of opinion among Israel's 'general public at large' regarding policies towards the Palestinians.

    However, Elie Weisel is wrong – if any other government went bulldozing homes on occupied land, in order to build exclusively Jewish housing, NO one would be afraid to call this ethnic cleansing.

    May 4, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Doc

    Whatever for Israel. I'm all for peace, but its a little more than obvious that they don't want to share anything i.e peace. They want to be us. And they are not us, they are an Ally. There is room in the world for only one bully (LMAO).

    May 4, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |