The Dimona Reactor Dome: picture courtesy of Mordechai Vanunu
According to the latest news, the U.S. is increasing the pressure on
Iran about the fictitious atomic bomb that it is building. This is the same
bomb that Iraq was working on in 2003 prior to the U.S. invasion.
While the world turns its eyes again to the Middle East and watches
a buildup to a war created by the U.S. over a mythical atomic bomb, there is
one country in the neighborhood that actually has hundreds of atomic weapons;
"poor beleaguered Israel," as many writers (conservative and liberal
alike) refer to the only atomic power in the Middle East.
Even mentioning Israel’s stock of weapons is a no-no in polite western
societies. The U.S. has destroyed Iraq under the pretense of it attempting to
make a nuclear weapon and it is on the verge of creating the same calamity in
Iran. Ask a question about Israel’s nukes and the response is mute. In
fact, most U.S. journalists won’t even entertain the thought of asking
such a question.
In 1996, The Alternative, a magazine I published at the time, ran
the following in-depth article about Israel’s nukes. It was written by
investigative journalist Husayn Al-Kurdi is one of the most comprehensive works
on the subject. It’s all here: the ties between apartheid South Africa
and Israel in developing nuclear weapons; the imprisonment of Mordechai Vanunu,
the whistleblower of Israel’s nuclear program; and the utter deceit by
the U.S. to keep the subject under wraps. Even today, few U.S. citizens have
any clue that Israel possesses hundreds of atomic weapons. With Iran currently
in the U.S. crosshairs, this piece is even more relevant today than it was a
THE JEWISH BOMB
by Husayn Al-Kurdi
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was extended indefinitely on May 11, 1995.
The 178-nation agreement basically reaffirmed the official monopoly on nuclear
weapons to be enjoyed by the "Big Five" nuclear powers — The
United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — who also happen to
be the same states that hold veto power in the United Nations Security Council.
The extension was pushed through at the behest of the United States, which was
the first to build, develop and actually use the atomic bomb on civilian populations.
"Off the books" of the NPT, with a U.S.-sponsored exemption from having
to submit to the treaty or its terms, is the state that is regarded as the Sixth
Nuclear power in the world today — Israel.
The Jewish state has been developing its nuclear capabilities since the mid-1950s.
At first in collaboration with France, and subsequently with the cooperation
of the white regime in South Africa and others, the Jewish state has built what
has been referred to by Israel officials proudly as the "Third Temple,"
testing its nukes in New Caledonia in the Pacific, in Algeria when it was a
French colony, off the coast of South Africa, and in underground tunnels in
the Sinai Desert.
Sensationalistic media accounts of "Islamic," "Arab," and
"Third World" nuclear bombs are bruited about as a matter of course,
usually with reference to nations which do not actually possess nuclear weapons
(Libya, Iran, North Korea) while Israel’s substantial nuclear reservoir
receives scant and sporadic attention at best. Were it not for the efforts of
two Jews, one a nuclear technician and the other a Pulitzer Prize-winning American
journalist, the world would be much more ignorant about Israel’s nuclear
Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli who blew the whistle on Israel’s nukes
and facilitated subsequent investigations by others, was a technician at Dimona.
In late 1985, after working for over nine years at the facility, he had had
enough. He moved to Australia, taking two rolls of photographs with him. The
pictures provided incontrovertible evidence that Israel was producing nuclear
Vanunu approached the London Sunday Times with detailed pictures of
the nuclear bomb factory several levels below ground, where plutonium was being
reprocessed. The world had been shut out of the tightly-controlled facility
since it first came into existence in 1957. Israel has always refused to sign
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, keeping its plants closed to outside inspections
of any kind. U.S. congress people have been denied access to Dimona, and an
Israeli plane was shot down when it happened to accidentally strayed over the
plant. A false control room was even installed at Dimona to fool U.S. inspectors
who were let in before 1969.
It is widely believed that the CIA turned a blind eye to the development of
the Israeli bomb from the very beginning. In 1973, when alarmed Israeli scientists
brought the CIA photographs of nuclear warheads stacked underground, there were
no signs of interest. In 1979, when Israel and South Africa conducted one of
their joint nuclear tests in the South Atlantic, some brief notice was taken
in a few newspapers. The Carter administration tried to cover up by ascribing
the nuclear "double flashes" picked up on the radar of orbiting satellites
to quirky atmospheric phenomena of some kind. Israel and South Africa had long
cooperated in developing nuclear and other weapons. The two apartheid states
got closer as they became increasingly regarded as international pariahs before
their recent U.S.-sponsored rehabilitations. Israel helped South Africa develop
nuclear-capable artillery pieces. The militaries of the two states had a mutual
wartime agreement to assist each other in times of armed conflict. South Africa
gave Israel carte blanche to conduct nuclear tests in the Indian Ocean, with
or without South African supervision. South Africa provided Israel with uranium,
and even allegedly conducted the first Indian Ocean atomic bomb test "on
Israel’s behalf" in 1968.
Vanunu, the "Citizen Spy," has paid a typically harsh price for his
efforts at revealing Israel’s nuclear arsenal to the world: he was lured
to Rome from London by a female Mossad operative who used the promise of sexual
favors to entice him, pounced upon on his arrival at a Rome apartment, drugged,
kidnapped and taken to Israel, where he landed in chains, crated up under diplomatic
immunity and delivered to the Israeli courts for their pronouncements. He got
18 years in prison for treason. According to Sam Day of the U.S. Campaign to
Free Mordechai Vanunu, "Mordechai Vanunu continues to deteriorate physically
and mentally in the six by nine foot cell he has occupied since the fall of
1986 in Ashkelon Prison."
Day went on to remark about the lack of interest in the Vanunu case shown by
"peace" and "progressive" circles in the United States.
"Mainline peace and justice, human rights and science policy groups have
chosen not to become involved" in the effort to obtain Vanunu’s release.
This comes as no surprise to defenders of Palestinian rights or to anyone critical
of Israel. The "progressive community" has often been ready to excuse
numerable atrocities which they would hardly condone if the perpetrator did
not happen to be the Jewish state.
This hostility toward Arabs and Muslims, combined with a reverence for "heroic"
Israel, was brought out in bold relief on June 12, 1982, date of the largest
anti-nuclear demonstration ever. Israel had just invaded Lebanon and was in
the process of tearing that country apart, destroying all and everything in
its way. Cluster bombs, napalm, phosphorus shells, all manner of heavy and light
artillery and thousands of tons of bombs were unleashed on Arabs.
At the massive "peace" demonstration in front of the United Nations,
the predominantly Caucasian and Jewish revellers hooted at a Lebanese speaker
who was expressing anguish over the fate of his country, making it clear that
"peace" should not necessarily extend to Israel’s victims, just
as the recent feverish concern over nuclear proliferation seems to overlook
the world’s sixth-rated nuclear power. At a large demonstration in San
Diego on the very day that Desert Storm was being unleashed on Iraq in January
1991, a Jewish peace official with ties to "Left" organizations, including
both the Communist Party of the United States of America and the Democratic
Socialists of America, announced that there was a report that "chemical
missiles" had been launched against Israel. The "peace" crowd
she relayed this false report to were hushed into a stunned silence. Concern
for "poor beleaguered Israel" remains a preoccupation with many of
the "progressive" milieu. Many in the "peace" crowd joined
in breathing a sigh of relief that there were so few AMERICAN casualties with
the war ended. A couple of hundred thousand Iraqi Arabs who lost their lives
did not count, as the more-than-a-million who have perished since as a result
of the U.S.-driven U.N. sanctions similarly do not figure in the hearts and
minds of policy makers and even many who profess an interest in achieving justice
The other Jew who played a prominent role in exposing the Jewish Bomb to public
attention was Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote The
Samson Option, published by Random House in 1991. Hersh put the pieces together
and came up with a portrait of Israel as an unstable, dangerous player in the
nuclear game, a state with both the capacity and the propensity to resort to
methods of extreme and indiscriminate terrorism.
Since its activities were, and are, largely tied in to attacking and invading
Palestinians and other Arabs in whose midst it has implanted itself as a colonizing
entity, the danger of accidental (or purposeful) nuclear detonation is obvious.
Until and unless Israel changes its course of evermore paranoid confrontationism,
something it shows no real sign of doing at the present time, the Jewish people
will be in peril, in Israel and elsewhere.
People who demand that other countries sign the NPT or open their nuclear facilities
to international inspection are seldom, if ever, heard making the same demands
when it comes to Nuclear Power #6. The obsession in both the establishment "policy"
circles and in much of what remains of the moribund "peace" movement
is with what establishment policy player Paul Warnke described as "the
drive to enter the nuclear club by countries like North Korea, Iraq and Iran,
or the growing number of terrorist groups gaining access to nuclear materials."
Liberals like actor Robert (The Great Peace March) Blake and "Ecology"
guru David Browder were raising the spectre of Libyans crossing the borders
into America with nuclear bombs in their backpacks in the mid-1980s when Libya
was declared U.S. Enemy Number One. There was barely a peep from the "Left"
when Libya was repeatedly attacked by U.S. military forces. If it is Arab or
Muslim, it already has three strikes against it to many of the self-appointed
custodians of international social progress.
The "Samson" or "Madusa" complex involves a willingness
to unleash any horror in maniacal pursuit of strategic goals, or even obtain
a tactical advantage in a crisis situation. It is an element hardwired into
Israeli strategic plans. Israel has often threatened to use the bombs at its
disposal. During the 1937 Arab-Israeli war, the Jewish state had 13 nukes all
loaded up and ready to go on B-52s. Noam Chomsky, in his masterful post-Lebanon
invasion study, The Fateful Triangle (South End Press 1983), describes
the threatened use of the nukes at that time as a ploy to speed up massive U.S.
shipments of conventional weaponry to Israel.
Chomsky’s ongoing attempts at stirring the "peace" crowd to
an awareness of the dangers inherent in such a force possessing the nuclear
option have gone virtually unheeded. An article he wrote for Worldview, an organ
of the Council on Religion and International Affairs, was edited to specifically
exclude Israel from mention as one of five examples Chomsky offered of conflicts
posing possible nuclear catastrophe.
Another voice in the "progressive" wilderness has been the veteran
peace and social justice activist David Dellinger. He received a wake-up call
when he heard an Israeli Colonel Hamuzrahi bluntly state, "We are not going
to yield an inch to the Arabs even if it means atomic flashes in New York."
The fact that nearly two million Jews live in the New York area would presumably
not deter the execution of such an unspeakable act.
Israel currently possesses hundreds of nuclear warheads which may be launched
on missiles which have a range to Tripoli, Tehran, Turkey and Sudan. The very
existence of this arsenal remains unmentioned or obscured. The Oxford Companion
to Politics of the World (Oxford University Press, 1993) makes no mention
of Israel under the heading "Nuclear Nonproliferation." Although it
does state that military expenditures amount to "about 30% of GNP,"
in the main article on "Israel," it does not mention the nukes. The
sole reference to the Israeli bomb occurs under the heading "Nuclear Weapons"
and confirms that "Israel has built as many as several hundred nuclear
weapons as weapons of last resort in the ongoing Middle East conflict."
Israel is almost inevitably portrayed as beleaguered and defensive, getting
an exemption from norms applied to others on that basis.
The liberal-leftist 4 Walls 8 Windows Press published a book, Deadly Business
by Herbert Krosney, which justifies the Israeli nukes by claiming, "The
specter of an Israeli Bomb (has) provided a measure of deterrence," dovetailing
neatly with the Israeli view expressed in a volume on Arms Control and the New
Middle East Security Environment released by the Jaffee Center for Strategic
Studies at Tel Aviv University in 1994, that the priority is on "preventing
a multi-nuclear Middle East" and that "Israel should not be expected
to give up its nuclear capacity." According to The Other Israel,
a newsletter put out by the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian peace, "All
mainstream politicians (government and opposition alike) support the continuation
of the nuclear option" although "The government did issue the very
unobliging undertaking to ‘open negotiations on a nuclear-free Middle
East two years after full peace agreements with all members of the Arab League,
as well as with Iran, are signed.’" An opinion poll by a major Israeli
daily newspaper found 71% of Israelis against the NPT.
The widely cited Jane’s Review of London confirmed in its November
1994 issue that Israel has seven nuclear installations and over 200 fully-armed
nuclear weapons, any one of which could destroy a major city. Hydrogen bombs,
neutron bombs, Cruise missiles and nuclear cannon are only a few among the weapons
that have been perfected and added to Israel’s arsenal in recent years.
Chomsky rates Israel as the world’s fourth greatest military power in
The Fateful Triangle. Only the "Big Five" (USA, Britain,
Russia, France and China) can claim to surpass Israel in terms of nuclear war
capability. People throughout the Middle East and even citizens of New York
may be legitimately disturbed by the knowledge of the prospects this may entail.