By mutual consent of Mordechai Vanunu and campaign coordinators, the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu has ended.
On April 21, 2004, Mordechai Vanunu walked out of the prison that had confined him for nearly 18 years. A few months ago, on the one year anniversary of his release, the draconian restrictions imposed then upon his freedom of speech, association and travel were up for review. Several dozen of us from around the world gathered with Mordechai in East Jerusalem in the days leading up to the review, hopeful that he would soon be free to leave Israel. We held a public meeting and a press conference to denounce the restrictions. We vigiled at Dimona, the Ministries of Justice and Defense, and the Knesset, where a legislative committee hearing on Mordechai's restrictions finally took place on April 19.
Despite our hopes, all of Mordechai's restrictions were renewed. Unless they're lifted, Mordechai won't be able to leave Israel until at least April 2006.
The U.S. Campaign continued this past year, after discussion with Mordechai in the days immediately following his release from prison, because he is not totally free. But, as he has recently pointed out, he is no longer in prison, and he can now speak and act on his own behalf. He remains in sanctuary at St. George's Cathedral. He has the assistance of lawyers as he awaits word about a court date for the 22 count indictment he was handed in March, charging him with violating his restrictions.
You can contact Mordechai Vanunu directly c/o Cathedral Church of St. George, 20 Nablus Road, PO Box 19018, Jerusalem 91190, Israel and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu was initiated in the summer of 1992, after Sam Day, Kathy Kelly and other Americans on an international peace walk in Israel/Palestine learned of Mordechai's plight from Israeli Vanunu supporter Gideon Spiro. When they returned home they started the U.S. Campaign, wanting to encourage public support in this country for Vanunu and his freedom, while promoting his universal message of nuclear disarmament and an end to nuclear secrecy.
It was this small group of anti-nuclear and peace activists who got things
underway - also among them Mary Lou Pederson, Mike Bremer, Charles Carney,
John Landgraf and Jim
Without all of these many efforts, there wouldn't have been a campaign. Countless hours were given to spreading the word about Mordechai's case, pressing for his immediate release, and giving voice to our shared goal of nuclear disarmament. While in the end it was not in our power to win Mordechai's early release from prison, we did keep the pressure on Israel, and who knows how much worse his treatment would have been without it? Together, we were successful in keeping Vanunu's name and urgent message out in the public eye, during a time when his own communication with the outside world was severely restrained by prison censors. So I would like to say, thank you and well done!
Although there are too many to name them all, I would like to give special thanks to some of the people who played a vital role in the U.S. Campaign over the years, in addition to those named above.
First and foremost among those who need to be recognized is Sam Day, who worked tirelessly as campaign coordinator till he died of a stroke in January, 2001. Sam had campaigned for many years for an end to nuclear secrecy, himself spending time in prison for acts of anti-nuclear civil disobedience, and he strongly, passionately believed in the importance of courageous acts of whistleblowing such as Mordechai Vanunu's. Without a doubt, the U.S. Campaign would not have lasted as long as it did nor have been as successful as it has been without his tremendous efforts. Thanks also to his wife Kathleen, who helped with the work of the campaign in so many ways.
Special gratitude also goes to Nick and Mary Eoloff, of St. Paul, Minnesota, whose simple yet powerful act of love and support in adopting Mordechai led to scores of subsequent interviews and articles about them and their adopted son, and to accepting several honors on his behalf. Their legal relationship gave them the rare opportunity to visit Mordechai in prison, and with assistance from the U.S. Campaign, they traveled to Israel repeatedly over seven years to bring tremendously important human contact to their imprisoned son.
One of the many gifts associated with working on this campaign for the past 10 years was meeting, corresponding, and working with so many wonderful people here in the U.S. and around the world. The solidarity that became evident when we joined together for our international delegations, and held vigils in cities around the world on a given day, was powerful as well as inspiring. In this international work and coordination of activities, special thanks go to Ernest Rodker (U.K.), Rayna Moss (Israel) and Fredrik Heffermehl (Norway).
After Jack and I finish organizing the campaign archives and ship them for preservation and public access to the Wisconsin State Historical Society, I'll pay the final bills and we will close the campaign account. The remainder of the campaign money is then for Mordechai, and will be sent to his account in St. Paul, Minnesota, as he's requested. Archives of the website will be kept at www.nonviolence.org/vanunu
In the U.K., where Vanunu's public ordeal began, the Campaign to Free Vanunu
and for a Nuclear-Free Middle East will continue to work for a nuclear free
Middle East, and support people who are imprisoned or put under pressure for
their anti-nuclear activities. Now called the Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Middle
East, you can contact them at 146 Arnold Rd., N15 4JH London, UK, (phone)+44
208 808 7568, (email) email@example.com and visit their website
We very much hope that Mordechai Vanunu will soon have the total freedom he has long deserved. And we hope you will continue to join us, and Mordechai, and many others around the world, in carrying on the important struggle for a nuclear-free future.