JERUSALEM: Mordechai Vanunu and "The Double Standard"


January 27, 2005

JERUSALEM: Mordechai Vanunu and "The Double Standard"

by Jerry Levin

[Note: The following are excerpts from a longer interview with Israeli
nuclear whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu, that CPTer Jerry Levin wrote up as
part of his "From the Inside Looking Out" series. People wishing to receive
the full report or to get put on Levin's direct mailing list may contact him
at <>. The Israeli authorities released Vanunu in
April 2004, after he spent eighteen years in prison, but have forbidden him
to speak to journalists or leave the country. Anglican Bishop Riah has
given Vanunu, who converted to Christianity shortly before Israeli
intelligence abducted him in 1986, sanctuary in the guest house of St.
George's Cathedral.]

"Six years ago, I ask them [the Israeli government] to take my citizenship;
and they said you cannot cancel your citizenship unless you have another
citizenship. So I tried to find another country to give me a citizenship. I
asked even Arafat about five or six months ago for the Palestinian authority
to give me citizenship. But the only one to answer was Sweden.

"Sweden said, we cannot give you asylum, because you are still in Israel
territory. When you are in a foreign territory, then you can ask. But then
some people, who wanted to help me, told the Swedish that I am in East
Jerusalem and that East Jerusalem is not part of Israel. It has been
annexed; it is foreign country. But that has not convinced Sweden."

[Vanunu] said that he also has officially applied to Norway, Ireland,
Canada, and France; and "indirectly to England and to the United States. But
no one will even give those who are making indirect approaches for me the
papers needed for asking for asylum."

"-- It's very sad. The same thing happened during my eighteen years in
-- I understand that no democratic state wants to risk the relationship with
Israel for one man. But what I don't understand is the world was doing that
during the cold war. All the democracies were fighting Russia for Andrei
Sakharov and Natan Shransky--: punishing it, fighting it, making sanctions
against it for those two men who were doing what I am doing. But when it
comes to the Israel state no one is ready to fight or punish for my human

"--The United States has one standard for all the world and one standard
for Israel. When it comes to other states, like Arab states, the United
States is fighting nuclear proliferation. That is one standard. But with
Israel, they don't want to know. They don't want to see. -- But they know
exactly what's going on. Even more than that, they cooperate -- So I must
keep on to ask, how can a democracy have one standard for one state and
another standard for another?"

"Maybe the answer is: it is a nuclear conspiracy. Maybe it means that states
in the west don't want to support a man who is fighting everyone's nuclear
weapons, who is continuing to fight alone to report to the world against
Israel's nuclear weapons and against foreign government who are actually
helping the Israeli state to keep on doing this. So maybe that is why they
don't want me to come to their states --

"-- The same as Israel is doing to Palestine they did to me. We are
suffering from the same government policies. So I think, Palestinians can
learn from how I stand and fight with nonviolence. They can fight with
nonviolence too, not by condemning what Israel is doing to them and then
doing violence back to Israel, but by standing very firm and demanding their
rights always with nonviolence."