Israel’s nuclear family history


For anyone who has ever marveled at how they get away with it, this Haaretz article will be a series of revelations. This opaque history (couched as it is “ambiguously” as only the Israelis can) is remarkable:

His name was First Lieutenant Jacob Beser, and after he returned from the Hiroshima mission he was assigned as reinforcement for the second mission, which was supposed to bomb the city of Kukura. When Kukura turned out to be shrouded in haze, Beser persuaded the mission commander not to cancel the mission altogether but to drop the last American atom bomb on the secondary target, Nagasaki. Until his death in 1992 Beser continued to believe in the rightness of these bombings, which saved both sides what would have been hundreds of thousands of dead in a brutal invasion of the Japanese islands.

In August 1985, on the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, an Israeli journalist located Beser at his home in Maryland. Beser said he had never been to Israel, even to visit his relatives, the Harlap family of Rehovot. When he was assigned to be a secret partner to the Manhattan Project, he was eager to take part in a bombing of Nazi Germany to avenge his family’s annihilation in the Holocaust. At the end of the war, when he arrived at the army discharge base, he saw a recruitment table for the Haganah, which was looking for air crews to smuggle displaced Jews from Europe to Palestine. He thought about it, but decided not to sign up.

So the Haganah were allowed to have a recruitment stand in a US Army base? That’s remarkable. Hand in glove. Terrorist recruitment for the Middle East. A people smuggling ring/colonial invasion force.

Nuclear ambiguity, often portrayed as a unique Israeli invention, is only a local version of a worldwide phenomenon. The Manhattan Project was characterized by obfuscation.

And here we go with this disingenuous argument. The article itself is ambiguous on the facts. Only a Zionist would refuse to answer the obvious questions. This article is all the more fascinating because it reveals so much without answering the obvious questions.

The deliberately ambiguous phrasing regarding Israel’s nuclear capabilities – “Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East” – is generally attributed to Shimon Peres. It is thought to have been a quick linguistic improvisation by Peres, then the deputy defense minister, in the absence of an opportunity to check with prime minister David Ben-Gurion, at a surprise meeting at the White House with president John F. Kennedy in April 1963.
In 1948, president Harry Truman recognized Israel over the objections of cabinet secretaries George Marshall and James Forrestal. Twenty years later Clark Clifford, who as Truman’s adviser was helpful to Israel, was the secretary of defense who opposed Israeli nukes. So did Secretary of State Dean Rusk, but President Lyndon Johnson eventually overruled them.

The fascinating saga is chronicled at length in previously classified State Department documents. Two officials with the rank of undersecretary, Paul Warnke from the Pentagon and Parker Hart from the State Department, tried to make the sale of 50 Phantom fighter jets contingent upon Israel forgoing nuclear weapons and surface-to-surface missiles.
In the deal, according to the documents, Warnke set down four tough conditions for Israel:

  • It shall not deploy or attempt to deploy strategic missiles without prior warning and American consent,
  • it shall not manufacture or acquire strategic missiles and nuclear weaponry without prior warning and American consent;
  • it must accede to semi-annual inspection (Israel insisted on the term “visits”) at certain sites, including Dimona, and
  • it shall supply full information regarding any plan to obtain nuclear capability,
  • and sign and ratify the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
    After the election, the victor, Nixon, refused to help Johnson compel Israel to join the non-proliferation regime. Israel’s Judgment Day weapon, the analysts said, was a guy named Abe Feinberg, a friend of Johnson, who persuaded him to shelve the conditions for the Phantom sale. In fact, two coups were achieved at once: For the first time, Israel would be receiving an advanced American fighter jet (the Skyhawk, the model that preceded the Phantom, was inferior to it), and Coca-Cola, which Feinberg obtained the license to manufacture here.

    Who would have thought that the mainstream Israeli press would come up with some crazy story of Jews running a Coca-Cola military industrial nuclear complex?

    Rabin, at the time Israeli’s ambassador to the U.S., led the Israeli team in the talks with Warnke.
    Rabin, infused with the authority of having been chief of staff during the Six-Day War, was blunt and “brutally” assertive, according to an internal administration report. At the height of one clash, Rabin reportedly stated, “We did not come here to mortgage the sovereignty of the State of Israel.”

    What, exactly, is nuclear weaponry? How is it “presented” in an arena? When does a missile become strategic? (Rabin: “When its range covers Arab capitals.”) The only explicit commitment by Israel, copied from the Skyhawk to the Phantom, was not to use the American jets to carry nuclear weapons.

    Right… it’s rather obvious that if you are at the stage of using nukes then what the leasing details are for the aircraft from which they are to be delivered is the absolute last thing anyone will be thinking about. It’s a political formality.

    Israel’s representatives honed, by way of negation, their interpretation of nuclear weaponry: a nuclear device already tested and publicized. If these two conditions did not hold, then Israel at least (a stricter approach had to be taken toward a country with the declared intent of destroying Israel) had no nuclear weapons.
    The answer suggested by Warnke to the deterrence argument was quoted in a memo to Clifford, under the heading of “cases and responses.” If Rabin were to say that Israel believes nuclear weaponry and strategic missiles can deter Arab states from hostile actions, Warnke should respond that the American administration anticipates a completely different, and disastrous, consequence: Soviet nuclear missiles in Egypt and perhaps other countries as well.

    Here, Warnke added: Israel’s theory of missile and nuclear deterrence will not work in the Arab context, because “it ignores the Arabs’ unstable and irrational nature.”
    In the 1970s and ’80s, the Soviets appeared to be unfazed by the frequent reports regarding Israel’s supposed possession of nuclear weapons. Alexander Zotov, adviser on Middle East Affairs at the Soviet embassy in Washington, and later the Soviet ambassador to Syria, told Israel via a journalist: We do not care if you have really developed a new version of Jericho missiles, as long as you do not aim them at us and control over them is not passed from the government to the IDF. The Russians hold the same view today.
    The Iranians, for instance, rationally or not (as Warnke would have it), do not wish to find themselves facing Iranian-like Israelis. What would happen if Israel were to be ruled by fundamentalist clergy not of the mild Shas variety, and the Revolutionary Guards in Jerusalem had at their disposal the strategic weapon Israel is purported to possess; and what if, in the event of a governmental collapse, someone were to steal a missile or a bomb and threaten to strike Islam’s holiest sites, including the Ka’aba in Mecca?

    And then they start masturbating over the fact they have nukes and what they dream of doing with them… not that they will say whether they have them or not. Not just the State of Israel being ambiguous either – Haaretz and Israeli Jewish society are part of the game as this article shows.

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