I sitting with Moshe at George & John’s.
It’s one of Tel Aviv’s best restaurants.
I’m sipping champagne, acting like a billionaire, when Moshe pipes in, “Mordechai, do you know who hit 100 today?”
“Nope, but may we all live that long. Why don’t you give me a clue.”
“Sorry buddy, today you get no clues.”
Then Moshe blurts out, “It’s Henry F’ing Kissinger’s birthday. The old coot is still alive.”
I pause and wonder, “Did Moshe read the same article in the Forward that I had about Henry?
You know what they say my friend: ‘Only the good die young,'” I reply.
Moshe laughs, then continues, “Buddy, I went to Israeli Wiki and typed in ‘examples of self-hating Jews’ and Henry’s name and photo pops up in first place.”
I laugh and nod my head in agreement.
Moshe adds, “But Henry knew how to climb to power. This German-born Jew, this boychick who leaves Hitler’s Germany as a kid in 1938 and arrives in America, graduates from Harvard and ends up being the first Jewish Secretary of State. Now that’s a story. I’m surprised they haven’t made a movie about his life.”
But I bet they will. And I bet you didn’t know, that one of Henry’s his first acts as Secretary of State was to revoke the standard procedure allowing Jewish State Department employees to take off for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper.”
Recalling the Forward article, I draw in a deep breath, start slowly exhaling and then rant with a vengeance,
“Yeah, I knew that. But along the way his self-hatred caught up with him. His words caught up with him. He didn’t give a shit about being Jewish or the Jewish people.
He didn’t give a crap about the Soviet Jews stuck behind the Iron Curtain or imprisoned in the psychiatric hospitals or being not allowed to practice Judaism or to even own a Hebrew prayer book.
He called American Jews, like me, who supported freeing Soviet Jewry, self-serving… bastards.
He even said that the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union was not an objective of American foreign policy, and if Soviets put Jews into gas chambers, it’s not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.
Henry actually said, “Maybe.”
And if that wasn’t enough, he even said, ‘If it was not for the accident of my birth, I would be antiemetic.’ Then he punches, every Jew in the world, below the belt by adding, ‘Any people who have been persecuted for two thousand years must be doing something wrong,”
I hate this conflicted mother f—–!
He even said, ‘I’m going to be the first Jew accused of anti-Semitism.’
What an f—ing ego. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last Jew accused of anti-Semitism. But Henry was not only accused of anti-Semitism but convicted of it.
What he should have said is, if it wasn’t for my parents fleeing Germany in ’38 with me and my siblings, I would been ashes on the floor of crematorium at Auschwitz.
During the Vietnam War, Henry said he found American Jews and Israelis as obnoxious as the Vietnamese.
He even told Nixon to slow down shipping military aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
He didn’t even care about the existence of the State of Israel.
Finally, Henry never uttered a word of remorse or sorrow for his words or actions.” I pause and listen for Moshe’s reaction.
“Mordechai, what a shonda! A Jewish kid bullied by Nazi thugs emulates their abhorrent behavior. That’s one sick puppy. He shouldn’t be allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. He shouldn’t be allowed to have a Magen David carved into his headstone.
“Moshe, those are the last things Henry would want. This wannabe anti-Semite doesn’t want to be buried within one mile of a Jew’s grave.
But let’s raise our champagne flutes to celebrate Henry’s 100th birthday.
Let’s cling our crystal glasses. And may I propose a toast:
To Henry Kissinger, may your name be an execration (curse) used by the Jewish people for at least the next 100 years.
Mr. Kissinger, please give your heritage, your tribe and your people a gift before your passing.
A gift of meaningful words. A prayer begging for forgiveness.
G-d, please forgive me for being a self-hating Jew.
Please accept my apology to the six million and to my relatives who died at the hands of the Nazis.
I am a terrible Jew and for this I say, I’m sorry”
“Mordechai, that was an excellent toast.”
I hear the humming clang of the flutes and we both say, “L’Chaim.”