An Appeal to Supporters of Mordechai Vanunu

December, 2000

Dear Friend:

One thousand two hundred and thirty-eight.

If you can believe the word of the State of Israel, that is the number of days that remain before Mordechai Vanunu can be released from prison for the crime of telling the world the truth about his government’s secret nuclear weapons program.

That information came a few weeks ago from Mordechai’s brother Asher, a Jerusalem school administrator, who said officials at Ashkelon Prison had given Vanunu an “out-date” of April 22, 2004, just five months short of completion of his 18-year sentence.

That‘s a long time for a prisoner-of-conscience who has already spent 170 months behind bars, most of it in solitary confinement, for telling the truth. But, with your help, we can make it shorter. And, at the same time, advance his and our goal of a nuclear-free world.

Israel once claimed that Vanunu’s knowledge of “state secrets” made it too dangerous for him to mix with other prisoners. But in March 1998, yielding to international pressure, it unlocked his isolation cell and let him roam the prison grounds.

Israel once claimed that the transcript of Vanunu’s closed door trial was so sensitive it could never be made public. But a year ago, bending to public pressure, it released most of the trial record and permitted the Knesset’s first open debate on nuclear secrecy.

Current Prime Minister Ehud Barak, seeking to shore up his right-wing support, hinted for months that Vanunu could never be safely set free because of the state secrets locked in his brain. But, bowing to world-wide pressure, his government has now set an official release date-albeit one that is intolerably distant.

Pressure from his supporters in America and abroad has pried open the lock on Mordechai’s isolation cell and the lock on the policy of secrecy by which his government and our own have protected Israel’s illicit production of weapons of mass destruction. Continuing pressure can shorten Vanunu’s suffering and strengthen the cause of nuclear abolition.

Now, more than ever, Vanunu needs our help in the form of continuing pressure on Israel and the United States, its political and economic patron, to do the right thing by Vanunu and for the cause of nuclear disarmament.

Ask President Clinton and his successor to urge Israel to free Mordechai Vanunu immediately and unconditionally on humanitarian grounds. Ask your U.S. Senators and Representative to support similar moves in Congress. Put the same request to Israeli governmental leaders. (See contact information at how you can help.)

And please, please help our struggling volunteer nonprofit organization continue the campaign for Vanunu and his cause. Your financial support helps pay our month-in and month-out postage, printing, and telephone bills. It also helps underwrite major outlays for such things as the recent Vanunu gathering in Washington and the purchase of a television set for Mordechai’s prison cell.

Remember that your contribution of $50 or more is tax deductible if made out to The Progressive Foundation, our fiscal sponsor. Your gift in any amount is greatly appreciated and will be put to work to help free Mordechai Vanunu and advance his cause of a world without nuclear weapons.

Thank you for your past support.