Israel Must Be Held To Same Nuclear Scrutiny as Iran

Dandelion Salad

05/18/08 “The Tennessean

First, we went after nonexistent nuclear weapons in Iraq, and now we are consumed with the possibility that Iran might develop nuclear weapons sometime in the future.

Hillary Clinton has declared that she would obliterate Iran if it ever attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon. But what nobody wants to talk about is the fact that Israel has had a secret nuclear weapons program for more than 30 years that has produced well over 200 nuclear bombs.

Ever since Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician, confirmed the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons program with his photographs of the secret underground bomb facility that were published in the London Sunday Times in 1986, the world has known that Israel has been making nuclear bombs but has pretended that they do not exist. Israel continues to publicly deny that it possesses nuclear weapons.

I talked with Vanunu in Jerusalem in 2005, and here are my notes from that interview:

“I worked from 1976 to 1985 at the Israeli secret underground nuclear weapons production facility at the Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert. During my time there, I was involved in processing plutonium for 10 nuclear bombs per year. I realized that my country had already processed enough plutonium for 200 nuclear weapons. I became really afraid when we started processing lithium 6, which is only used for the hydrogen bomb.


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19 thoughts on “Israel Must Be Held To Same Nuclear Scrutiny as Iran

  1. Thanks Lo, I’ll bear that in mind, though you shouldn’t judge me by my hasty ‘blog comments ;-). It would be good if you could let me have one of your e.mail addresses if you really meant it!

  2. Ed, with all due respect it doesn’t work like that, and you’ve been had. Remember all the fuss about a “dirty bomb”? Well dirty bombs don’t work, any nuclear scientist will tell you that. Yet the US Government has knowingly perpetuated this falsehood that they do. Nuclear attacks can only be made and launched by large, national actors with huge budgets and facilities, they cannot be made by terrorists in a garage, a back bedroom, or a cave for that matter.

    As for Iran, beleive it or not, they are not nuclear maniacs and the evidence tells us that they are actually averse to making a nuclear weapon. When Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979, he actually CLOSED DOWN the Persian nuclear energy program which had been started under the American “Atoms for Peace” plan. As a devout Muslim theologian, Khomeini felt that nuclear power was evil and that nuclear weapons were beyond evil. Unlike the US, Iran has never been an aggressor in recent times, and by recent times, I mean centuries. They have also been extremely rational in their disputes, never showing any sign that they would escalate a conflict to a nuclear level if they had the weapons. Whilst they have changed their stance on nuclear power, they are a full signatory to the nuclear non proliferation agreement (unlike Israel) and they are not breaking any laws in expressing a wish to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the full supervision of the IAEA. All the nations who have developed nuclear weapons in breach of the treaty (India, Israel, Pakistan and with less success, North Korea) have avoided it like the plague for obvious reasons. At the risk of overstressing the point, It was Israel who cleverly deceived inspectors with a remarkable rotaing control surface and developed nuclear weapons completely illegally. Subsequently, they have threatened to use them in an further effort to bully their neighbours (the “Samson Option”). Even if there is a desire in Iran to develop a nuclear bomb, it should be seen in the light of Israel’s illegal nuclear proliferation in the area, and their NUMEROUS threats of aggression against Iran. Incidentally, there is evidence that the Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona is cracked, highly dangerous and well past it’s “sell by date”, which could lead to a catastrophe in the area. Though due to Israel’s irresponsibilty and criminal behaviour in not allowing inspections, it is impossible to confirm how bad the problem is exactly. The most dangerous and unpredictable actors in the region are Israel and the US, and the Iranians and Syrians have shown remarkable restraint in not responding foolishly to their aggressive, destabilising actions and ridiculous lies.

    You are somewhat paranoid about the size, and the abilities of these “affiliated networks” that you write of. The post 9/11 actions taken against them in Afghanistan and other places were actually more effective than people realise, and nowadays they have to rely largely on incompetant, disaffected idiots who have had little or nothing to do with Al Qaeda previously to carry out attacks in their name. The capture by Pakistan of their operational genius, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a large factor in this, and can be seen in the nature of attacks (and failed attacks) since his arrest. Al Qaeda attacks used to be meticulously planned for years, and KSM truly “raised the bar” in this respect, now they are more like “keystone cop” operations carried out by loners and disparate groups, the name “Al Qaeda” is just used for effect.

    “…The leadership of bin Laden’s faction has indeed been decapitated following the US invasion of Afghanistan, but the anger caused in the wider Muslim world and the subsequent assault on Iraq has let to a rapid increase in the sympathy for and potential recruits to such groups. The Madrid bombing is shown as the work of a cadre not only wholly disconnected from bin Laden, but not even working in his style any more; no symbolic target, no suicides, and being the work of genuinely impoverished immigrants rather than the disaffected middle-class types chiefly at work in such atrocities previously. More than ever now, it is bin Laden and Al Qaeda as an idea and ideal that is the danger…” – From a review of Jason Burke’s “Al Qaeda”, which, incidentally is a VERY good book on this organisation.

    Terrible though attacks such as Bali, Madrid and London were, (as you seem to agree Ed) they are certainly nothing in comparison to what Hitler had to offer, and they are no longer the work of a patient, highly organised mastermind like KSM. The supposedly huge international network of Al Qaeda was always highly exaggerated anyway, and there is even evidence that they even used to hire locals to run around with AK47s, to make them look bigger than they were when they were filmed at their training camps! Even the Taleban didn’t get along with them eventually, and the only reason they wouldn’t hand them over was because it was the American Kafirs who were asking.

    As for alliances between Al Qaeda and countries / large organisations such as Iran, Hizb’Allah and Hamas, this is errant nonsense, they HATE each other! Ayman Al Zawahri recently codemned Iran and Hizb’Allah, and Hamas also completely rejected a call by Al Zawahri to reject all previous deals made between Israel and the Palestinian authorities. Basically, many of the more basic forms of life, especially in the US, have stooped to the same kind of xenophobic conspiratorial projections against the Muslim world as they used to (and still do in certain quarters) about Jews. “You can’t trust those goddamn Moozlums, they’re all conspiring with each other to take over the world, they’re all the same, you gotta watchem!” etc etc. When Al Qaeda told the Muslim world to rise up against the Kufr world of the west, they were ignored and humiliated. Hence, their suicide attacks are not a sign of strength or severity, they the weakness and desperation of an enemy who has nowhere else to go against a massively superior force.

    Regarding “the tactics and mentality of islamist terrorists” being more “severe” than those of for instance, the nazi Schutstaffel, well I’m afraid that you have completely left the planet here, and the nazi’s atrocities were just a part of the problem. There was also Japan and our allies, Russia, who also committed unimaginable atrocities on a huge scale during the war period. Your “rational” fear is actually irrational because it has been built on absurd propaganda, downright lies and a profound lack of knowledge about the Muslim world, just as fear of the Jews was built on lies back in the days of the Second World War and beyond.

  3. Paul, you make some very good points about the variety of types of militant islamism. I think you are very correct to say that Hitler’s war, oppression and genocide are incomparable to anything that any militant islamists have achieved so far.

    The fear that I and many others have is that the potential harm that could be caused by world-wide affiliated networks of islamist terrorists is far beyond what Hitler did. First, because Hitler did not have nukes, and groups like al qaeda, Hamas and others are seeking them. Secondly, the tactics and mentality of islamist terrorists is so much more severe. Imagine a group of suicidal murderers, out of uniform, driven by an extreme religiosity, with nuclear weapons. That makes the fear I described rather rational.

  4. Ed, there is more than one kind of “Militant Islamism” just as there is more than one form of Shar’ia law. The one you’re referring to above sounds more like the extreme “Wahaabist” form of Sunni Islamism as exemplified by the deceptively small terrorist franchise, Al Qaeda. It certainly DOESN’T sound like the Shi’a Islamism of Khomeini and Hizb’Allah which is relevant to Iran, Lebanon and on the other side, Israel. They are completely different things.

    With all due respect, to say that either of them pose the same kind of threat as Hitler is ridiculous and laughable in the extreme. Then again, anyone who thinks they have the right to defy the brutal hegemony of the United States nowadays seems to be described in this absurd way. In the US there’s a new “Hitler” almost every week! This ridiculous and ignorant hyperbole just sounds childish, stupid and extremely insulting in other parts of the world, especially the parts which experienced the full brunt of Hitler’s war and oppression.

  5. Sorry, but it is far worse than Hitler. Hitler waged unjustified wars and mass murdered millions. The militant brand of islamism is worse because unlike the nazis, militant islamists are ununiformed, willing to commit suicide in order to commit murder, and spread in cells throughout the world. They respect no law but shari’a.

    That’s not a description of islam, but militant islamism.

  6. Thanks Lo.

    BTW, the supreme irony is that Qutb actually had quite a few things in common with the neoconservatives!

    I still can’t beleive that Ed wrote that Islamism is “far worse” than Hitler. It’s quite amazing how gullible some people can be.

  7. It isn’t “derogatory” when used correctly Lo, though Ed’s definition of it is rather simplistic and skewed. Islamism is a fairly loose name given to a ‘movement’ which thinks of Islam in political as well as religious terms. Common Islamist themes include pan Islamic political unity, a debate over the return of Shar’ia law to modern Islamic society, and perhaps most importantly in the current context, THE ELIMINATION OF WESTERN INTERFERENCE WITHIN THE MUSLIM WORLD. Originally this was mostly by European powers such as Britain and France, now of course it is primarily the US.

    It is a broad church, which has encompassed thinkers from the moderate to the extreme. It’s leading exponents have included Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Sayyid Jamal a-Din Asadabadi, Abul Ala Maududi, Ruhollah Khomeini and finally, someone who everyone should read if they really want to know what makes Al Qaeda tick, Sayyid Qutb. I will post a link to his book “Milestones” below if that’s ok with you Lo?

  8. I’m familiar with memri. I guess you would call anything that’s pro-Israel to be disinformation.

  9. Islamism is not deragatory toward islam. It refers to the movements (both violent and non-violent) to spread theimposition of islamic law through non-democratic means. It does not refer to islam as a whole, only to a radical faction which has hijacked the name of islam for its own political ends.

  10. Thanks for the link and comment/info, Paul.

    Ed, exactly what is “islamism”? I’ve not heard that term before. Sounds derogatory towards the religion Islam, though. One cannot throw quotes out like you did about one entire religion. You can look at history to see that violence has been used by most all major religions, but it’s politics, not God or God’s Word that “men” are following.

  11. Lo, below is a link to the Washington organisation that has pulled the wool over the eyes of people like Ed over Iran. It is a stretegic disinformation organisation which is run by an ex Israeli colonel from IDF intelligence, Yigal Carmon. They are notorious for deliberately distorting translations in a way that is ‘beneficial’ to Israeli interests. They’re the ones who made up the “wipe Israel off the map” lie, and most of the other stuff too.

  12. It’s more than just one remark. You’ve heard all he has had to say about Israel and its legitimacy. He has made open threats. Why is it that anything islamist leaders say is watered down as “media propaganda?” We obviously haven’t learned the lessons of ignoring Hitlers threats. Of course, islamism is far worse, because they “love death more than life.”

  13. Israel should not be held to the same standard. Why? Because Israel has not dedicated itself to wiping Iran off the map, while Iran has done so with respect to Israel. If Vanunu was telling the truth, the Israelis have had nukes for decades, but never used them or threatened any country with annihilation. Instead, Israeli leaders have repeatedly stated they would not be the first to introduce nukes in the region. Nor have they shared nuclear secrets with our enemies, as Pakistan and North Korea have.

    The existence of Iran is not threatened by Israel, but the opposite is true. These things justify a different standard.

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