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The Legacy of Shimon Peres
"We Didn't Build the Bomb to Make Another Hiroshima, but to Achieve Oslo"
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Note sent by Shimon Peres to Avner Cohen justifying the former's  building of Dimona and Israel's nuclear bomb

Note sent by Shimon Peres to Avner Cohen justifying the former’s building of Dimona and Israel’s nuclear bomb

Shimon Peres is being eulogized around the world as Israel’s philosopher-king, its elegant worldly face to the world, the last of the Founding Fathers. The NY Times has published a news story, an op-ed by Tzipi Livni, and a Roger Cohen column, all of which amount to little more than hagiography. But there is a sizable number of critical appraisals like this one which have been published presenting Peres’ darker side and which are very important reading.

What follows is a newly published note which Peres sent to Israel’s leading nuclear historian, Avner Cohen. In 1999, Cohen had sent the Israeli leader a copy of his first book, Israel and the Bomb. In the book, Cohen offered an inscription portraying Peres’ unique role in the creation of Israel nuclear weapons arsenal. Because Cohen hadn’t used Peres as a source for this authoritative history of Israel’s first nuclear weapon (he hadn’t thought an individual who had so many nuclear secrets would be able or willing to speak candidly), he didn’t think Peres would respond. But he did and wrote the following:

To: Avner Cohen:

Thank you for your book, Israel and the Bomb, and for your fine dedication. I’ve gone through the first half of your book and find it interesting and absorbing. I believe you’ve done some fundamental research in which, as with other historical research–the narrative depends on the willingness of various individuals [sources] to reveal things. According to what was said to you, the proportions may not be quite exact. However, this is not your fault.

Essentially, I do not find fault with this because until now I have not felt able to reveal the full story.

But one thing I must say: we didn’t build Dimona [Israel’s nuclear weapons production facility] to make a Hiroshima, but rather to achieve Oslo [the note was written six years after the Oslo Accords were signed]: in Oslo I felt the full justification of this effort [to create The Bomb].

This represents yet another part of the Peres effort to project a civilized, liberal Israeli face to the world. We didn’t build the bomb for destruction. We built it to enable us to be strong enough to compromise for peace. Whatever Peres may’ve really believed about why he built the Bomb, the result wasn’t at all what he portrayed above. Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons have served as a bulwark against compromise. In a phone conversation, Cohen told me that they “promoted Occupation.” Instead of relying on peace or compromise, the nuclear arsenal has forced Israel to live (and die) “by the sword.” The whole enterprise, Cohen told me, is built on “arrogance.”

In parsing the original intent of Ben Gurion, who first set forth the race for nuclear weapons, Cohen believes Israelis needed a forceful tool to force the Arab states to admit that Israel could never be wiped off the map. A nuclear weapon would, so Israel’s founder believed, would persuade his enemies that his country was “here to stay.” It would be the ultimate “persuader.” But it turned out to be much more than that.

Cohen believes that Israel’s first nuclear weapon, hastily put together just before the 1967 War, directly led to that conflict. Having it, offered the Israelis a heady tonic that persuaded them they would be invincible; that regardless of what happened on the field of battle, they had a Doomsday weapon that would ultimately ensure victory.

Since no other regional power had or has WMD, Israel can never be forced to compromise against its will. Every front-line state, including Israel’s allies like the U.S., know that if its back was up against the wall it could reject any solution that didn’t accord with its perceived interests, because it possessed the ultimate weapon. This is a good deal of what lies behind the rejectionism of almost all previous Israeli prime ministers, all of whom have turned away from multiple opportunities to reach a final accord.

Dimona Succeeded, but Oslo Failed

Further, Oslo failed (though Peres couldn’t have known that in 1999, when he wrote that note). It failed because Israeli leaders, including those in his own Labor Party, refused to honor the terms of the deal. Later, they refused to offer enough to the Palestinians at the second Camp David. They refused to make the necessary compromises to satisfy their peace partner. They knew they could get away with this, because they had a card in their back pocket that no one else in the region had. They knew they could walk away from the table and that there would be no meaningful consequences for doing so.

Those who support Israel’s nuclear weapons may argue that the above claim is false because Israel never threatened or used nuclear weapons, as the U.S. did against Japan. But this argument rings hollow because in 1973, at the outset of the October War, Israeli forces were being overrun in the Golan and Sinai. Defense minister Moshe Dayan went to Golda Meir with a plan to detonate a nuclear weapon in the desert to warn the Arabs that if they overran Israel, it would use The Bomb. Thankfully, Meir and her other advisors rejected Dayan’s advice as that of a man under severe stress and a possible mental breakdown. But had Meir been a different person, Israel may very well have detonated at least one of its nukes.

There is absolutely no guarantee that in the future, should it face a similar threat, Israel would not use a nuclear weapon. After all, as distinguished an Israeli historian as Benny Morris advocated just such a prospect against Iran in the pages of none other than the New York Times.

After Peres’, recent stroke, which eventually led to his death, I published this appraisal, which reveals another little-known element of Peres’ pursuit of the Bomb with the connivance of the French during the run-up to the 1956 Suez War, of which Peres, Ben Gurion and Israel were eager partners.

Peres and the Theft of the Yemenite Children

An equally little-known darker side to the Peres legacy involved a scandal which has tainted Israel for decades. In the early 1950s, Israel airlifted 50,000 Yemenite Jews to the new state under the Orientalist rubric, Operation Magic Carpet. It did so in order to buttress its Jewish population, as Israel’s leadership sought to balance the large numbers of Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 Nakba.

Though Israel heralded the airlift to the world as its heroic effort to save an ancient Jewish community, in truth it treated the new immigrants shabbily. It sent them to camps little better than the DP camps to which Holocaust survivors were consigned after WWII. Later, it sent them to development towns which consisted of little more than tents and basic services. Over time, the Yemenites became part of the Israeli Mizrahi minority which faced severe discrimination at the hands of the Ashkenazi (European) majority.

But Israeli authorities committed a far worse crime against these immigrants. It systematically stole Yemenite children from their families and offered them to Ashkenazi couples who were unable to conceive or sought to adopt babies. Some of these children (estimates range as high as 1,000 were stolen) were even sent abroad (one was tracked to Belgium). Authorities at the time believed the Yemenite were primitive people who would not integrate into a superior “western” society. Israel wanted them to assimilate quickly and believed if the newborn were given to Ashkenazi families they would have a proper, civilized upbringing that would bring them into the modern, advanced world.

The racism of this project is now clear. Projects with similar tragic consequences were played out in other countries in that era, including Native American and Aboriginal children taken from families to be raised in government schools. The difference is that Israel has consistently refused to make an accounting of what happened leaving an open, weeping sore where there should be healing, repentance and restitution.

Israel has investigated this scandal several times but has never fully exposed the reason for the kidnapping, who orchestrated the plan, or who were the victims. So historians do not know precisely how many children were stolen. This has left an indelible stain on the Israeli Yemenite community and a severe breach between it and the State. Mothers who were told lies that their babies died after childbirth, have never had a proper accounting of what happened. They know they have children in the world, but they don’t know who or where they are.

Shimon Peres, when he was prime minister, refused to appoint a commission with full powers to investigate the child theft. Instead, he hand-picked three mid-level bureaucrats in 1985, who were given extremely limited resources, to investigate. One of them was a senior police officer, Amon Navot. Sampson Giat, then president of the Yemenite Jewish Federation, wrote a 1993 book about the scandal in which he said:

In 1985, Arnon Navot, a high-ranking policeman, was the head of the country’s missing persons’ bureau. There was increased pressure on Prime Minister Shimon Peres to have another committee investigation after the lack of results of the former Bahalul Minkovsky Committee came up with only 342 missing children. Afterwards, 600 more children’s names were added.

Peres, rather than forming another government committee instructed Arnon Navot to head a task force with two others. Since Peres had no intention of creating a public committee, he did not give Navot the tools necessary to investigate.

Navot claims that his superiors put hurdles in front of him. He was not allowed to store information on his computer; his official car was taken from him so that he had to carry loads of documents on public transportation.

Navot found evidence that a child, whose parents were told he had died, had been illegally adopted by a family in Belgium. His superiors would not allow him to follow up on his findings.

Navot was convinced that Shimon Peres, like most politicians, was afraid of the political fallout resulting from any discoveries. The cover up started.

When you read glowing encomium’s like those in the NY Times, remember the darker side of Shimon Peres. Whatever good he may’ve done is more than outweighed by his profound lapses in judgment and morality.

• Category: History • Tags: Israel, Nuclear Weapons, Shimon Peres 
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  1. yea, using a nuke as a bargaining chip to take lands away from others.

    oslo my fucking ass.

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @jacques sheete
  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Astuteobservor II

    It’s not only that.
    Look up “Samson solution”.

  3. Because (((our greatest ally))) has the bomb, it means the US has to permanently stay in the ME so that no other states step on an Israeli nuclear tripwire.

    As the natural hegemon of the region, Iran should be permitted to acquire nuclear arms. Peace will only come to the ME when there is an independent country strong enough to *naturally* rule over the region.

  4. LouSurfer says:

    If you win wars, why would you be obligated to give anything back? If you ask for my leg, and we negotiate you only taking it below the knee, it is not compromise, it is theft. If I do it so you stop attacking civilians it is extortion.

    There is no such thing as compromise in such cases.

  5. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    A few days later, Israeli troops inside Lebanon came under attack close to Qana and retaliated by opening fire into the village. Their first shells hit a cemetery used by Hezbollah; the rest flew directly into the UN Fijian army camp where hundreds of civilians were sheltering. Peres announced that “we did not know that several hundred people were concentrated in that camp. It came to us as a bitter surprise.”

    It was a lie. The Israelis had occupied Qana for years after their 1982 invasion, they had video film of the camp, they were even flying a drone over the camp during the 1996 massacre – a fact they denied until a UN soldier gave me his video of the drone, frames from which we published in The Independent. The UN had repeatedly told Israel that the camp was packed with refugees.

    This was Peres’s contribution to Lebanese peace. He lost the election and probably never thought much more about Qana. But I never forgot it.

    When I reached the UN gates, blood was pouring through them in torrents. I could smell it. It washed over our shoes and stuck to them like glue. There were legs and arms, babies without heads, old men’s heads without bodies. A man’s body was hanging in two pieces in a burning tree. What was left of him was on fire.

    On the steps of the barracks, a girl sat holding a man with grey hair, her arm round his shoulder, rocking the corpse back and forth in her arms. His eyes were staring at her. She was keening and weeping and crying, over and over: “My father, my father.” If she is still alive – and there was to be another Qana massacre in the years to come, this time from the Israeli air force – I doubt if the word “peacemaker” will be crossing her lips.

    There was a UN enquiry which stated in its bland way that it did not believe the slaughter was an accident. The UN report was accused of being anti-Semitic. Much later, a brave Israeli magazine published an interview with the artillery soldiers who fired at Qana. An officer had referred to the villagers as “just a bunch of Arabs” (‘arabushim’ in Hebrew). “A few Arabushim die, there is no harm in that,” he was quoted as saying. Peres’s chief of staff was almost equally carefree: “I don’t know any other rules of the game, either for the [Israeli] army or for civilians…”

    Which Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize Laureate killed more people, Peres or Obama?

    • Replies: @geokat62
  6. Che Guava says:

    Good article.

    I have two things to add.

    The biggest world-wide pop hit Israel ever had was by Ofrah Haza, an Israeli of Yemeni origin. It was compulsory for too long, but very striking on first and later hearing, overexposure …

    Used for samples on many other records, too.

    I would guess that she may have known something of what had happening to children of her fellow airlifted, her huge hit was just before (as in two or three years) Navot’s statement, not that I’d known of that statement at the time.

    A certain irony.

    As for exposure of the open secret, Mordechai Vanunu, a hero to me, still being punished, what, 35 or so years later.

    No longer in prison, last I read he is still under something close to house arrest: not allowed free travel, external or within the state, watched and monitored around the clock.

    Pure vengeance, as if he would have any new info. to offer after having been kidnapped, spending a couple of decades in prison, and many years in his current situation.

    • Replies: @survey-of-disinfo
  7. geokat62 says:
    @Greg Bacon

    Which Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize Laureate killed more people, Peres or Obama?

    Great question!

  8. Rehmat says:

    “Shimon Peres is being eulogized around the world as Israel’s philosopher-king ….”

    Only in in the Zionist entity and its western colonies.

    Israeli-born British author and human-right activist, Gilad Atzmon described Peres the best: “Truth must be said, I do admire fierce President Ahmadinejad almost as much as I despise war criminal Shimon Peres.”

    Australian academic, writer, and author, Gideon Polya, has called Peres: A SERIAL KILLER.

    German philosopher Dr. Ludwig Watzal has called Peres: A LIAR and MASS KILLER in Peres obituary.

  9. Che Guava says:

    Re. my earlier comment, Holger Czukay, formerly of the German band Can, had used brief samples (by tape at the time) of Yemeni women singing two or three years earlier, always wonder if that had been a driver for Ofrah Haza’s launch.

  10. @Astuteobservor II

    You are astute, for sure!

    Over at Mondoweiss there are several articles about the dude and Uri Avnery has one as well. The skunk was never a peacemaker.

    Also, it’s good to see that Unz finally has an article about the creep and its “darker side.” As usual the corny hagiography is about 180 degrees out of syn with reality.

  11. @Che Guava

    Mordechai Vanunu

    I wonder what is the simpler way to acquire “nuclear deterence”: run a fake op. with “pictures”, and “recaptured” whistle blower and constantly have zionist controlled corporate media wink wink the “deterence”, or to actually go ahead and build and test (like North Korea).

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  12. moi says:

    Reading the nonsense about Peres and the Zionist narrative about Israel only makes me wonder how much of what has been written about Nazi Germany is also baloney–considering that “history” is written by the victors.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  13. Art says:

    In a display of absolute Jew power at the Peres funeral, Netanyahu was flanked on both sides by two lap dog US presidents – Obama and Clinton.

    Vomit – retch – puke – heave!

    • Agree: Che Guava
  14. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    20 years from now Netanyahu will scribble “we didn’t do 9/11 to start a world war, but rather to annex the West Bank and Golan Heights.”

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  15. Rehmat says:

    In case you didn’t know both the West Bank and Golan Heights are already occupied by the Jewish army.

    In April 2016, Benjamin Netanyahu brought his entire cabinet to the Golan Heights for a ‘photo-ops’ to start his new Hasbara (propaganda) campaign against Syria after losing his 20-year Jewish Crusade against Iran.

    The ‘photo ops’ (below) shows how Jewish women discriminated in Israel. All female cabinet ministers were made to stand behind the male ministers.

    The self-claimed representative of 13 million Jews around the world, Netanyahu declared: “Golan Heights was occupied by Syria for 19 years. Jews liberated it 50 years ago. Now it’s time for the international community to acknowledge that the Golan Heights will permanently remain under Israel’s sovereignty.”

    I was not surprised by Netanyahu’s latest rant. He has long declared himself an undisputed authority on Jewish history. Last year, Netanyahu told the world that Hitler didn’t want to kill Jews – it’s Mufti of Palestine who twisted Hitler’s arms to kill 6 million Jews….

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The main thing preventing Israel from creating a wilderness is that they like to kick their neighbors around–“never again” and all that–but create a wilderness they will.

  17. Christo says:

    More like “Help us or and we do what we want or we bomb you”. And the USA was also lead by the ZOG into building for them the best ABM and anti-missile systems US tech and dollars can build and maintain.

  18. Che Guava says:

    You seem to be trying to imply that the Israeli bomb programme is a delusion.

    There has been at least one live test, in collaboration with the pre-ANC govt. of Sth. Africa (itself a nuclear power on a similar scale to Nth. Korea), seldom reported, but the bomb did go flash! then bang!

    I think there was more than one, but only have reliable memory of one that was recorded.

    It is no secret, even if much of the media wants to pretend it is.

    They don’t need to do tests, since the tech is all pilfered from the USA and USSR, the theory is pretty simple, and much materiel courtesy of France in former times.

  19. Che Guava says:

    Read more. Many of the claims about Germany under the NSDAP are baloney.

    That is not to say they didn’t do bad and stupid things, just that they were not beyond compare, as is claimed.

    Hitler designed the body shape of the Volkswagen, a stroke of genius in itself, it lasted and lasted.

    I think that what I’ve seen of his paintings are good. Quiet, depictions of buildings.

    Journalists always say they were all crap. That is crap.

    Goebbels was a genius, and the central inspiration for post-WW II US propaganda and advertising techniques, just as much as any of the many other exploitations of the techniques and technologies of the defeated, germ warfare from here as one.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  20. Anonymous [AKA "body"] says:

    Great job Richard!
    You managed to draw all the crazy antisemites
    Hope you are proud of yourself

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