We could say it was the best-known secret in the world that
was finally officially revealed, i.e., that Israel has nuclear weapons, despite
the US�s �policy of ambiguity.� Those of you who are really surprised raise
Defense Department study finished last year reveals for the first time in
an unclassified report that Israel really is a nuclear power. Actually, it�s on
page 37 of the US Joint Forces Command report, where the Army claims Israel is
within �a growing arc of nuclear powers that runs from Israel in the west
through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and
Russia in the east.� Is there anybody that doesn�t have the bomb? Raise your
This reference is much more than the US usually states
publicly about Israel, the poster nation of goodness and truth for so many
Jewish folk about the globe. Yet the world knew Israel was heavily involved
with nuclear weapons before whistleblower and former nuclear technician
Mordechai Vanunu, then an orthodox Jew, exposed the facts on its weapons program
via a major story with pictures in the London Times.
Vanunu did 18 years in solitary for that. Upon his release
in 2004, he spoke to a reporter and was put under house arrest. He is now a
Christian, not to mention an incredibly brave man. Read Eileen Fleming�s
excellent article The
Martyrdom of Mordechai Vanunu. The nuclear plant in question was at Dimona
in a subterranean basement hidden from sight. The reactor by now is quite old
and not particularly safe. But what the hell: in for two-to-four hundred
missiles, in for Chernobyl.
Actually, a few years later no less than the New Yorker�s
star investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, published the book The Samson Option,
which laid out Israel�s strategy �of massive nuclear retaliation against Arab
states in the event it felt its very existence was threatened.� He also
mentioned the 200- to 400-missile figure.
Yet Israel has been mum about its nuclear capability,
refusing to confirm or deny it. And the US waltzes right along with this dance
on the nuclear edge.
Perhaps the real reason for the charade is that by law the
US would have to stop providing billions of dollars in foreign aid to Israel
every year if we actually said out loud that Israel had a nuclear weapons
program, in fact an arsenal of 200 to 400 nuclear missiles. The reason for that
is the Symington Amendment,
legislation introduced by Stuart Symington, a former Democratic senator from
Missouri, and authored to strengthen the US position on nuclear
non-proliferation. It was passed in 1976 and bars assistance to any countries
developing technology for nuclear weapons proliferation.
Given the US�s deaf, dumb and blind, see-no, hear-no, say no
evil policy when it comes to Israeli nukes, it�s most likely that the 2008
Joint Operating Environment report put together by the Army will amount to not
much more than a proofreader�s wince. Although it should be a shot heard round
the world fired as far back as the 1950s when France aided and abetted Israel
in the building of the nuclear facility in return for Israeli scientists
helping France assemble their own facility.
Thus, the facilitators will most likely carry the day, as
usual, while Iran gets bonked daily for building a nuclear facility for
power-generating reasons. And now North Korea is testing its own nuclear
missiles without anything more than a rhetorical response from the US. Well,
the one thing you can�t accuse the US of is consistency.
One wonders where President Obama is in the middle of all
this and if AIPAC and Rahm Emmanuel are still running Middle Eastern foreign
In fact, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, whose editor
recently proclaimed she was proud to be a Zionist, said in a March 8 article
that �It is virtually unheard of for a senior military commander, while in
office, to refer to Israel�s nuclear status.� Haaretz was referring to the fact
that �In December 2006, during his confirmation hearings as secretary of defense,
Robert Gates, referred to Israel as one of the powers seen by Iran as
surrounding it with nuclear weapons.� Doth Haaretz protest too much that Gates
His bad was right for once. But once in office, Gates dodged
the bullet and refused to repeat the no-no allusion to Israeli nukes. He said
that he had used it when he was a private citizen. Does that mean he doesn�t
tell the truth now that he�s our secretary of defense? Well, play around with
that conundrum for a minute or two. And you might want to look at my Online
Journal article, Israel�s 60
years of nuclear proliferation.
Nevertheless, lest we get too heavy here, I think of what
the iconic political writer, satirist, stand-up comic, eminent creator of the
1960s The Realist magazine (breathe
deep), Paul Krassner recently said about the whole Israeli/Palestine issue in
an interview, titled �In the Jester�s Court,� by David Kupfer in the The Sun magazine.
When asked by Kupfer, �As a Jew and a humanist, how do you
feel about the Israeli government�s treatment of the Palestinians?�
Krassner responded, �First of all, I don�t consider myself
to be Jewish, since I don�t accept the tenets of the religion, and, unlike the
Nazis, I don�t believe that Judaism is a race. I don�t think Jews are the
chosen people, or even that people are the chosen species. But I�m not a
self-hating Jew. Though I was circumcised against my will, I don�t plan to have
my foreskin sewn back on.
�As an atheist and an absurdist, I feel the most absurd
thing I can do is to have a dialogue with the God I don�t believe in: �Since
you�re all-powerful and you know everything that�s ever going to happen,� I
say, �you had to know what would happen if the Jews immigrated to Palestine.
You knew the Palestinians wouldn�t greet them with �Welcome, please take our
land.� You told the Jews that this was the Promised Land, but you didn�t have
an exit strategy.� And then I hear the voice of God: �I never made any
promises. I only said I�d see what I could do.��
Oh god, what an incredible breath of fresh air.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York
City. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, �State Of
Shock: Poems from 9/11 on� is available at
www.jerrymazza.com, Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com.