By the time you receive this letter we may have witnessed one of the most momentous developments in the long history of efforts to shine a public spotlight on Israelís clandestine nuclear weapons program.
On May 26, a few days after this letter and the summer newsletter went to press, a coalition of anti-nuclear activists planned to rally and hoist protest banners at the fence of the desert reactor where Israel for 35 years has been building a nuclear arsenal in utmost secrecy.
There have been such events before. But what makes this one especially important is that it promises to broaden and strengthen Israeli concerns about the nuclear time bomb that threatens the survival of Israel and its neighbors. It was Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona nuclear weapons reactor, who sounded the first alarm in September,1986, and is now paying the price of an 18-year prison sentence for espionage and treason.
The summer newsletter tells the story of how environmentalists, peace activists, and public health and human rights groups are now working with Israelís Vanunu Defense Committee in challenging the taboo which has long shielded the nuclear weapons program from examination by the very people it purports to protect.
As a Vanunu supporter you can take part of the credit for this welcome step toward achieving Vanunuís goal of a nuclear-free Israel, a nuclear-free Middle East, and a nuclear-free world. But it is only a step. We need your continuing help in maintaining and increasing the international pressure on Israelís governmental leaders to do the right thing by freeing Vanunu and scrapping their secret nukes.
Two weeks ago the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu virtually emptied its treasury to send an American delegation to Israel in support of this promising new challenge to nuclear weapons proliferation. And weíll dip even further into our meager reserves to help further such efforts to confront Israelís clandestine nuclear weaponsprogram and achieve Vanunuís unconditional release.
We will do this, trusting that you and other supporters will back us as you have done before, providing us with the financial help to keep going. So please take this timely opportunity to help the campaign as generously as you can.
This is also your invitation to join other Vanunu supporters in Washington next September 26-28 for a three-day presence marking the 14th anniversary of Mordechaiís kidnapping by Israeli agents in Rome in retribution for his breaking the news of Israelís secret nuclear stockpile.
The event will include the first national conference of the U.S. Vanunu campaign, a day-long vigil at the Israeli embassy, and a rally at the embassy gate. It will be a great chance to meet fellow Vanunu supporters and to talk and act in support of Mordechai. Reserve the dates on your calendar now. And look for more details to be posted here this summer.
The new momentum among Israeli peace activists, the resurgence of campaigns in Sweden, Japan, and Portugal, the promise of a major Vanunu presence in Washington this summer and fall-these remind us of the financial burden on our struggling non-profit organization, where all are volunteers.
But they also give us hope for the future of this important campaign for peace and justice. So also does our confidence that you will support the cause of this prisoner-of-conscience as generously now as you have done in the past. We have no governmental or corporate sponsors to rely on. The help must come from us.
Your contribution of $50 or more is tax-deductible if made out to The Progressive Foundation, our fiscal sponsor. Your contribution of any amount will be gratefully received and put to use to free this whistle-blower who has suffered so much and for so long.
Mordechai joins me in thanking you for your past support.