Vengeance—Not a very Enlightened Strategy for Success
"The Blinded Samson," by Lovis Corinth
Today, nearly nine years after his release from prison, Israeli nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu still has not been granted the one wish he desires now more than any other—the freedom to leave Israel and live elsewhere. Does the Israeli government plan to continue this policy forever? Or perhaps until the man is aged and sick and approaching death? Will he finally be granted his freedom then?
Israel insists it must keep Vanunu a prisoner of the Jewish state out of fear he might disclose further nuclear secrets. But come on. The man hasn’t seen the inside of a nuclear plant since 1986. That was the year he was charged with turning over photographs of Israel’s Dimona facility to a British newspaper. After serving an 18 year sentence, Vanunu was released in 2004, but still today government officials refuse to grant his petitions to leave the country. It’s hard to view this as other than an Israeli thirst for vengeance against any and all deemed enemies.
With two films currently up for Oscar nominations in the “best documentary” category—both highly critical of Israeli policies—you would think those running the Jewish state would have figured out by now that vengeance—against Palestinians, or nuclear whistle blowers, or anyone else for that matter, even the bogeyman—is not overall a very enlightened strategy for success. And of course, what else can you call the repeated destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and demolishing of peoples’ homes other than a campaign of vengeance? What else can you make of Vanunu being forced to spend most of his 18 year sentence in solitary confinement than that it was an impious exercise of wrath?
Eileen Fleming has written an article offering quite a bit of insight into Vanunu’s struggle for freedom and also announcing a global day of action on the whistle blower’s behalf. Fleming is the author of the recently-released book Imagine: Vanunu’s Wait for Liberty, and her newest article offers revealing quotes from letters written by Vanunu during his years of solitary confinement and sent to Australian priest David B. Smith. As you’ll see, Vanunu is in fact quite a prolific letter writer, and Fleming also provides us with links to some of his poetry.
Vanunu’s Latest Message and 2nd Annual Global Day of Action
By Eileen Fleming
Recently Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu wrote Ms. Oddveig Vevik Skotte:
ABOUT MY CASE
About my case now, I served the full sentence, even if it was an injustice. I am demanding my total freedom that could be only by leaving Israel for the free world. Israel continues to punish me. They arrested me, I am under restrictions, not to leave, not to speak freely. I am demanding my freedom of speech, freedom of movement. There is no justice by Israel democracy system.
I am calling to US media to report, to interview, for my human rights, freedom, and for telling the truth about NWs in Israel.
I am staying in East Jerusalem under occupation, among Christians and Palestinians. I like to meet friends, supporters, talk about my case, every one is very welcome. My future plan is to continue to do for peace and abolition of NWs. -vmjc
VMJC stands for Vanunu Mordechai/John Crossman- which is the name he took when he was baptized Christian just a few weeks before being kidnapped by Mossad in 1986.
Although Vanunu had originally been under restrictions to NOT speak to foreigners [meaning media] the court has since said they do not care who Vanunu speaks with as long as he does not speak about Israel's WMD.
By the way—again on the subject of vengeance—as I mentioned above, two films, both highly critical of Israel, have been nominated for “best documentary” in this weekend’s Academy Awards. These are “5 Broken Cameras” and “The Gatekeepers,” and the right-wing Israeli government is said to be “quietly fuming” over the matter, according to writer Jonathan Cook. Well, apparently it isn’t only the Israeli government, either. Cook informs us that certain unnamed luminaries in Hollywood also are pulling strings to see that neither film wins an Oscar:
Guy Davidi, the Israeli co-director of 5 Broken Cameras, one of the finalists, said industry insiders had warned him that pressure was being exerted on the Academy to stop the films winning the award.
“Many people in Hollywood are working very hard to make sure that neither film wins,” he said. “From Israel’s point of view, an Oscar would be a public relations disaster and mean more people get to see our films.”
The film is a searing account by Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat of a six-year period in his West Bank village during which the residents protested non-violently against an Israeli wall that cut off their farmland.
Israeli soldiers are shown beating, tear-gassing and shooting the villagers and solidarity activists.
The other Israeli-backed contender, The Gatekeepers, directed by Dror Moreh, features confessions by all six former heads of the Shin Bet, the main agency overseeing Israel’s occupation, since 1980. All are deeply critical of Israel’s rule over the Palestinians, with one even comparing it to the Nazis’ occupation of Europe.
Both films have won critical acclaim. This month The Gatekeepers won the Cinema for Peace Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film has also been picked up by a major distributor, Sony Pictures Classics.
“5 Broken Cameras,” according to Cook, is being viewed in some quarters as an “Israeli” film, even though it has two co-directors, one Palestinian and the other Israeli. And it seems—not surprisingly—that the Palestinian takes issue with that particular characterization of his work. “It’s my story. I am Palestinian and the film is about the struggle of my village in Palestine. If it wins, it will be a victory for Palestine, not Israel,” said Emad Burnat.
David Siegel, the Israeli Consul General in Los Angeles, like the government in Israel, also isn’t pleased with the attention the films are getting. According to an article in The Forward , Siegel reportedly “lashed out” at Davidi for backing the boycott against Israel, calling it a “cynical PR maneuver aimed at promoting the movie’s chances to win an Oscar.”
What can we say about the leaders of such a state other than, "Their god is vengenance"?