Front and Center in the Nation's Capital

Carrying signs and banners calling for the release of Mordechai Vanunu and for a nuclear-free world, some 80 demonstrators gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington on August 4 in support of the imprisoned whistle-blower.

It was the largest embassy gathering since Vanunu became an internationally known prisoner of conscience almost 14 years ago. It climaxed two weeks of Vanunu visibility as part of a 40-day “People’s Campaign for Nonviolence” sponsored in Washington by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Members of the Jewish Peace Fellowship, long a supporter of Vanunu’s release, heard Rabbi Phillip J. Bentley of Temple Sholom in Floral Park, New York , renew his praise for Vanunu as a prophet in the Jewish tradition.

Several hundred members of Pax Christi, a Catholic peace and justice organization, assembling within sight of the White House, heard Art Laffin, Vanunu support coordinator in Washington, read a letter from the imprisoned whistle-blower, vowing to adhere to his cause of a nuclear-free world.

Mary Miller, secretary of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, conducted a Vanunu support meeting at St. Margaret’s Church in Washington and then led fellow Episcopalians on an hour-long embassy vigil.

At the second and concluding embassy vigil, Mark Gaffney of Chiloquen, Oregon, active in the Bay Area Campaign to Free Vanunu, read a petition nominating Vanunu for the Nobel Peace Prize. Workers on a nearby street repair crew respectfully suspended their jack-hammering so that the program could continue.