U.S. Nukes Are Also to Blame

(Editorís note: The following is excerpted from a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The author is coordinator of the [San Francisco] Bay Area Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu.)

by Jeanie Shaterian

If Mordechai Vanunu is a spy for exposing Israelís nuclear weapons program, so are Dan Margalit, Avner Cohen, Seymour Hersch, Israel Shahak, Peter Hounam, Mark Gaffney, Gideon Spiro, the distinguished panel meeting at the International Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and Mordechai Vanunu, held in Tel Aviv in October 1996 and chaired by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Joseph Rotblat, and many other authors and investigative reporters.

At issue are questions of an open society and a safe world.

Please do not believe that I am singling out Israel for special opprobrium. I know what it is to have suffered genocide and to sense that might is the only proper response. My own country, which never suffered genocide but often perpetrated it, is the only country to have used atomic weapons on civilian populations. Its nuclear weapons stockpile dwarfs that of all other countries and continues to mushroom. Its policies encourage nuclear proliferation, particularly in volatile parts of the world such as the Middle East.

And on top of that the media hush it all up so much that, in fact, we live in as much a state of nuclear opacity as do the Israeli people. It is incumbent on us, the American people, to do what we can to stop the madness within our own country.

Mordechai Vanunu, in bringing the Israeli arsenal to the attention of his people, is a great example in a long and honorable tradition of civil disobedience. In addition to our responsibility to turning the tide of U.S. nuclear policy, thanks to our countryís special relationship with yours, we have an additional responsibility to bring about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Mordechai Vanunu has suffered long enough for his principled stand. Please release him at once. At the very least, please grant him normal prisoner rights and post his letters as they are written rather than waiting three to four months.