Israel’s President Shimon Peres has had a legendary career spanning most of the State’s history. He has had major successes (the development of the Dimona nuclear reactor, for one) and spectacular and enduring failures, most notably the Oslo “peace” process and the lethal chimera of the two-state solution from which Israel still suffers. Surely, penitence would be in order for the latter, if only regret – the prerequisite for repentance – preceded it. Alas, like most of his fellow Oslo-ites, Peres has doubled down on the debacle and shows no sign of either restraint or re-evaluation.
Long a self-promoter and sound-bite master, Peres as president has initiated the “Presidential Award of Distinction,” which he bestows on his fellow travelers and the cultural elites of Israel. The most recent recipient was Henry Kissinger, who flew in for several hours, picked up his award and quickly flew out – not even spending the night in Israel. And his Presidential Award of Distinction? For Kissinger’s “significant contribution to the State of Israel and to humanity.” What?!
Personally, it pains me when an intermarried Jew is honored by the Jewish people for anything, as their real legacy is their non-Jewish children, and an abrupt end to their connection to the Jewish people. For that reason alone, it is unworthy for Kissinger to be feted by the President of Israel.
But there are other reasons as well. What exactly were Kissinger’s contributions to the State of Israel? It was Kissinger as US National Security advisor who reportedly told President Nixon not to airlift weapons to a beleaguered Israel during the darkest time of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, imploring him to “let Israel bleed a little” as that would incline them to greater concessions after the war. Indeed, Nixon overruled Kissinger, and when Kissinger posed practical obstacles to the airlift, Nixon dealt directly with James Schlesinger, the Secretary of Defense, and ordered him to begin airlift over Kissinger’s objections. That’s a contribution to the State of Israel?
And after Israel’s victory in the war, which found the IDF on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal and in possession of a significant swath of Egyptian territory – with the Egyptian Third Army trapped and surrounded on the eastern side of the Canal – Kissinger orchestrated Israel’s diplomatic defeat that followed the war. In due course, Israel was forced to free the Third Army, withdraw from Egypt, pull back from the Canal, surrender the Abu Rodeis oil fields and part of Sinai, as well as a substantial part of the Golan Heights (Israel was barely 20 miles from Damascus when the smoke on that front cleared) in exchange for, basically, nothing. Of course, Israel (in the guise of then PM Yitzchak Rabin in his first tenure) could have said “no” – and Rabin at first did, which prompted the infamous 1975 “reassessment” of US-Israel relations by President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger. In short order, Rabin caved. Israel went from a position of strength to a position of weakness. That’s a contribution to the State of Israel?
More recently, it came to light that Kissinger was a sharp antagonist of the right to freedom of emigration for Soviet Jews and indeed for human rights generally. The Nixon Library in 2010 released this gem of a (taped) conversation from 1970 between the President and his “Jewish” National Security Advisor: “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
Maybe a humanitarian concern? Give that man as award for his “significant contributions to… humanity!” Indeed, later administrations, guided by more moral and more sagacious leaders (i.e., Ronald Reagan and his team) realized that the emigration of Soviet Jews was a major objective of American foreign policy, and the role of the human rights campaign in weakening and finally dissolving the USSR cannot be understated. That Kissinger should so cavalierly dismiss the extermination of Jews, bizarre because it was not then an objective of Soviet policy, can only call to mind the internal demon of Jewish identity that Kissinger lives with, is plagued by, and that he has been trying to escape since his youth. Nonetheless, Kissinger was honored “for being a statesman with foresight, creativity and vision.”
Well, none of the “foresight, creativity and vision” has ever been manifest in Kissinger’s dealings with the State of Israel, and one is hard-pressed to see where it existed elsewhere (outside the US opening to China). Kissinger’s policy of détente with the Soviets was an ultimate failure; it is as if he decided that the Soviet Union was an eternal power that could not be confronted and overcome. But Reagan proved him and his entire diplomatic model wrong.
It is fascinating that Kissinger and Peres are both winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace – and in both cases, the peace treaties for which they were honored and glorified collapsed in a wave of violence and mass murder. Neither peace treaty survived more than a few years. In both cases, their adversaries eventually prevailed, exposing the Nobel laureates as dupes and simpletons. In Vietnam, the North overran the South less than two years after the treaty was signed, leaving the US to flee ignominiously as its erstwhile ally crumbled under the assault from the North. And the Oslo process spawned a catastrophic wave of terror, brushed off by Peres as inevitable “sacrifices for peace,” or, I suppose, “saps” for short, and brought the enemy into Israel’s heartland with weapons provided them by the Israelis.
That the presenter has yet to account for his calamitous, cataclysmic failures is appalling, and a poor commentary on the Israeli public that demands no accounting from disastrous leaders. But perhaps then it is fitting that this presidential award was bestowed on another supremely intelligent but hapless politico, another elder statesman for whom awards and accolades furnish a veneer that seeks to mask his fiascos and his contempt for Israel and the Jewish people.
In the end, truth prevails even over revisionist history, and certainly over the mutual back-slapping that is the very premise of this award.