Suppporters for Mordechai Gather Around the World

You want to destroy our only line of defense?
Why aren’t you protesting the rioters?

Despite such taunts from passers-by, a small band of activists assembled at the Peres Peace Center in Tel Aviv on October 4th to mark the kidnapping and punishment of nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu by former Prime Minister Shimon Peres 14 years ago.

The observance was marred this year by tension and violence arising out of conflict in Israel and Occupied Palestine. But the demonstration was not without its human touch, said Rayna Moss of Israel’s Vanunu Defense Committee:

“Employees of the Peres Peace Center were mystified about the vigil until we explained why we were there. They then invited us into the center for cold drinks and to use the bathroom, an offer we declined.”

In London, scores of supporters took part in a 12-hour vigil near the Israeli Embassy, continuing a weekly practice begun eight years ago. Among celebrities taking their turn in a cage symbolizing Vanunu’s prison cell were MP Jeremy Corbyn and activist Bruce Kent, an officer of the Vanunu Trust. Demonstrations also took place in Salisbury and Leicester in England.

In Sydney, Australia, where Vanunu converted to Christianity on the eve of his decision to leak the secret of Israel’s nuclear weapons program in 1986, Olympic Games visitors gobbled up hundreds of leaflets distributed by his Australian supporters. Banners proclaiming Vanunu’s role hung from St. John’s Anglican Church in Darlinghurst, where he said his baptismal vows.

Wind and rain failed to deter Vanunu leafleters at the Israeli Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, where a move is under way for a Parliamentary resolution calling on Israel to release the prisoner.

Hundreds of leaflets also were passed out by the Bay Area Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu during the noon-hour rush in front of the Israeli consulate in downtown San Francisco. Speakers included author Mark Gaffney, who has drawn up a petition nominating Vanunu for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

Anniversary commemorations also took place in Toronto, where Canadian activists delivered a protest letter to the Israeli consulate, and in Stockholm, Oslo, and other communities.