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JV Editorial

Whom Jews Choose to Honor

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There has been considerable controversy in the Jewish world over the recent decision by the World Jewish Congress to present German chancellor Angela Merkel with its Theodor Herzl Award. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

There has been considerable controversy in the Jewish world over the recent decision by the World Jewish Congress to present German chancellor Angela Merkel with its Theodor Herzl Award.

Merkel supported the Iran nuclear deal, despite its grave dangers to Israel. She not only opposed relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but, according to the Jerusalem Post, Merkel even tried to persuade various European governments to refrain from moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Merkel’s support for anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations is also a cause for concern. We wonder what Herzl would have thought about the choice of such an honoree.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is scheduled to be a featured speaker at an upcoming conference of the Jewish Leadership Conference, in New York. History records that Kissinger pressured Prime Minister Golda Meir not to strike first in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and then stalled for an entire week when Israel pleaded for an airlift of U.S. weapons. Photo Credit: policy.defense.gov

Meanwhile, eyebrows have been raised over two other public figures who will be receiving honors from Jewish organizations shortly: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

Kissinger is scheduled to be a featured speaker at an upcoming conference of the Jewish Leadership Conference, in New York. History records that Kissinger pressured Prime Minister Golda Meir not to strike first in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and then stalled for an entire week when Israel pleaded for an airlift of U.S. weapons.

The goal Kissinger had was to bring about “a limited Egyptian victory,” according to former U.S. Mideast envoy David Makovsky. Kissinger wanted Israel to be weakened so it would give in to his pressure for more concessions. When Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resisted that pressure in early 1975, Kissinger orchestrated the notorious “reassessment,” a suspension of U.S. arms shipments.

Soviet Jewry activists recall with bitterness how Kissinger fought tooth and nail against the Jackson Amendment, which linked U.S. trade to Soviet Jewish emigration. Later—in 2010—it came out just how ugly Kissinger’s position on Soviet Jewry was. That’s when a White House tape recording from 1974 revealed Kissinger telling President Richard Nixon: “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.”

On the same tape, Kissinger can be heard telling Nixon that

“the Jewish community in this country on that issue is behaving unconscionably. It’s behaving traitorously.”

Meanwhile, Moment magazine has decided to honor Thomas Friedman by choosing him as one of the VIP presenters at its upcoming awards dinner.

Moment magazine has decided to honor Thomas Friedman by choosing him as one of the VIP presenters at its upcoming awards dinner. Friedman has a very long record of criticizing Israel in his articles for the New York Times. Some of his criticism falls within the boundaries of reasonable debate and commentary. But some of it crosses the line into more disturbing terrain. Photo Credit: YouTube

Friedman has a very long record of criticizing Israel in his articles for the New York Times. Some of his criticism falls within the boundaries of reasonable debate and commentary. But some of it crosses the line into more disturbing terrain. Like the time he wrote that the standing ovations given to Israel’s prime minister by Congress were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” Or the time Friedman wrote that “many American lawmakers do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.”

We add our voice to those who have publicly questioned the honoring of Kissinger and Friedman, and we hope that the Jewish organizations which protested the honor to Angela Merkel will raise their voices in these instances, as well.

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