Our Soldiers Speak has chosen the wrong speaker
Our Soldiers Speak has chosen the wrong speaker

Even advocates for worthy causes sometimes stumble.

That’s the thought which consoled me when I saw one of the symbolic champions for Israel chosen by an organization representing Israeli soldiers.

The organization, “Our Soldiers Speak” (OSS) brings Israel Defense Force veterans to the United States for meetings and speaking engagements. Obviously it’s a fine idea to introduce the American public to actual Israeli soldiers—in contrast to the vicious caricatures often circulated by the U.S. news media and the lies of the Breaking the Silence organization.

OSS activity also includes a series of snappy one-page digital infographics consisting of a photo of a famous person and a pro-Israel statement that the person made. Again, a useful educational technique—except when the famous person is totally inappropriate for the task.

The inappropriate spokesperson in question is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He appears in an OSS graphic alongside the words, “The security of Israel is a moral imperative for all free peoples.”

Henry Kissinger, who has done a great deal that undermined Israel’s security, now tells us that the security of Israel is a moral imperative. IHe didn’t feel that way back in 1973, but the soldiers are too young to know the story.

On the eve of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, then Prime Minister Golda Meir became aware that the Arab armies were preparing to invade. According to the widely-respected Israeli diplomat Yehuda Avner, in his acclaimed book, 'The Prime Ministers,' American officials (that is, Kissinger) “tied” Golda’s hands, telling her “in no uncertain terms not to fire the first shot.”

Abba Eban, who was then foreign minister, confirmed in his autobiography that Chief of Staff David Elazar proposed a preemptive strike, but Prime Minister Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan rejected it because “the United States would regard this as provocative.” Kissinger even warned Golda Meir “against full-scale mobilization” of Israel’s army reserves, according to Avner.

Kissinger did not want Israel to win a decisive victory because he thought that would make it hard to wring concessions out of the Israelis after the war.

Israel desperately requested an airlift of U.S. arms, but Kissinger stalled the request for an entire brutal week. His strategy was to orchestrate “a limited Egyptian victory,” David Makovsky wrote in the Jerusalem Post in 1993. The secretary of state feared an Israeli victory “would cause Israel to strengthen its resolve not to make any territorial concessions in Sinai.”

“Kissinger opposed giving [Israel] major support that could make its victory too one-sided,” Kissinger biographer Walter Isaacson confirms. Kissinger told Defense Secretary James Schlesinger that “The best result would be if Israel came out a little ahead but got bloodied in the process.” What exactly is meant by “got bloodied”? Try 2,656 fallen Israeli soldiers.

Avner quotes from a conversation between Kissinger and President Richard Nixon on the ninth day of the war, regarding the request for weapons. “We’ve got to squeeze the Israelis when this is over and the Russians have to know it,” Nixon said. “We’ve got to squeeze them goddamn hard.”

Kissinger: And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern."
Kissinger replied: “Well, we are going to squeeze them; we are going to start diplomacy in November after the Israeli elections.” And squeeze them he did, pressuring the Israelis to release the encircled Egyptian Third Army and to make other concessions.

In 1975, when the new prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, hesitated to give in to Kissinger’s demands for more concessions, the secretary of state orchestrated what Avner calls a “brutal” message from President Gerald Ford to Rabin. The message blamed Rabin for the absence of peace and announced a “reassessment” of America’s policy toward Israel. The “reassessment” consisted of a cut-off of all U.S. weapons shipments.

Prof. Gil Troy, in his brilliant book, Moynihan’s Moment, reveals some of the disturbing language Kissinger used regarding Rabin during that period. Kissinger accused Rabin of “bringing the world to the edge of war” and charged that Rabin’s reluctance to make more concessions was “fomenting anti-Semitism.” Kissinger denounced Rabin and his aides as “fools,” “common thugs,” “a sick bunch” and “the world’s worst s—ts.”

But it was in 2010 that we learned just how low he could sink. That’s when a newly-released White House tape revealed Kissinger advising President Nixon that the persecution of Soviet Jewry "is not an American concern." Kissinger said: "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."

Blasting American Jews for trying to link trade and human rights, Kissinger added: “I think that the Jewish community in this country on that issue is behaving unconscionably. It’s behaving traitorously.”

Henry Kissinger’s record regarding Israel and Soviet Jewry should suffice to disqualify him from being chosen by any Jewish organization in any capacity or forum. And in this case, it should be obvious that a man who bears a large share of the responsibility for the deaths of 2,656 IDF soldiers should not be featured by an organization that represents Israeli soldiers.

Moshe Phillips is national director of Herut North America’s U.S. division; Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War Two Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Herut's website is https://herutna.org/