With all the fuss and palaver around the current hyperbole surrounding the UK Labour Party and the virulent accusations of anti-Semitism being made against its leader Jeremy Corbyn, the world is overlooking some of the more sinister aspects of Israeli behaviour.
Let’s take the case of Mordechai Vanunu; born 14 October 1954 and also known as John Crossman. He was an Israeli former nuclear technician and peace activist who, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction, revealed details of Israel’s nuclear weapon programme to the British press in 1986.
Because of this, he was subsequently lured to Italy by a female member of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, where he was drugged and abducted. He was secretly transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a trial that was held behind closed doors.
Vanunu spent 18 years in prison; more than 11 of them in solitary confinement. Released in 2004 he was subjected to a number of restrictions on his speech and movements. Since then he has been subjected to a series of arrests, because it was alleged he had violated those restrictions by giving interviews to members of the foreign press – and had tried to leave Israel. He claims to have suffered physical abuse at the hands of the authorities and intimated this was linked to his having converted from Judaism to Christianity.
In 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to six months imprisonment because it was claimed he had violated his parole. The sentence was considered unusual when a suspended sentence was the most that was expected and Amnesty International released a press statement on July 2 2007 stating that “…The organisation considers Mordechai Vanunu to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release…”
In May 2010, Vanunu was again arrested and sentenced to three months in jail on a charge that he had met foreigners in violation of the conditions of his 2004 release from jail. Vanunu has been internationally acclaimed as a whistle-blower – but Israel condemns him as a traitor. Daniel Elisberg has referred to him as “…the preeminent hero of the nuclear era…”
Shortly before his scheduled release, Vanunu remained defiant under interrogation by the security service, Shin Bet; in recordings of the interview made public after his release, he is heard saying “I am neither a traitor nor a spy. I only wanted the world to know what was happening. He also said “We don’t need a Jewish state. There needs to be a Palestinian state. Jews can and have – lived anywhere, so a Jewish state is not necessary…”
Vanunu was released from prison on 21 April 2004 when surrounded by journalists and flanked by two of his brothers, he held an impromptu press conference, but refused to answer questions in Hebrew because of the suffering he said he sustained at the hands of the State of Israel and told how Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the Shin Bet security services tried to rob him of his sanity by keeping him in solitary confinement and stated, “You didn’t succeed in making me crazy…”
Vanunu also called for Israel’s nuclear disarmament – and for its dismantlement as a Jewish state. He indicated a desire to completely disassociate himself from Israel; initially refusing to speak Hebrew and planning to move to Europe or the United States as soon as the Israeli government permitted him to do so.
Following his release, Vanunu moved to an apartment in Jaffa, but after his address was published in the media he decided to live in St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. Here he receives visits from sympathisers, defying the imposed conditions and prohibitions that remain in force surrounding his release by giving interviews to foreign journalists.