Many Cities Turn Out For Mordechai

Demonstrators turned out in more cities than ever before on September 30 to mark the 13th anniversary of Israel's kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu and to demand the early release of the imprisoned anti-nuclear whistle-blower.

In East Jerusalem, to the approval of Arab residents of that occupied city, they distributed leaflets at the court where Vanunu was secretly tried and convicted of espionage in 1987, and at the Ministry of Justice, which sought and obtained his 18-year prison sentence.

In Washington, whistle-blowing supporters who assembled at the Israeli embassy heard appeals from Daniel Ellsberg and Vanunu's American adoptive parents, Nicholas and Mary Eoloff, and from Vanunu himself in the form of a letter read by Monica McAghon, a supporter from Easton, Pennsylvania.

And in London, where for years supporters have gathered every Saturday at a corner near the Israeli embassy, two Vanunu fans clad in prison garb were turned away at the embassy door by unamused guards.

Other world capitals and cities that saw demonstrations included Oslo, Stockholm, Brussels, Wellington, Auckland, Sydney, and Toronto.

Rallies were held in several cities in Britain and Belgium. In the United States, all eight Israeli consulates were successfully targeted by the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu.

Activists carrying Vanunu and peace signs stood outside Israeli consulates and sometimes conversed with consular officials in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. In Atlanta they bombarded the consulate with phone and fax messages. Ellsberg, citing the absence of advance warning of last year's nuclear testing by India and Pakistan, told the Washington rally that every nuclear weapons state needs a whistle-blower like Vanunu.

Tim Rieger, who headed a three-month lobbying effort in the Senate, cited the hypocrisy of Senators who profess opposition to nuclear weapons proliferation but fear for political reasons to honor the role played by Vanunu in exposing Israel's secret proliferation.