Should the Israelis Arrest Benny Morris?

As Justin Raimondo points out in his article this morning, “A Brazen Evil,” noted Israeli scholar Benny Morris wrote an op/ed in Friday’s New York Times, “Using Bombs to Stave Off War,” in which he advocated that the U.S. government or the Israeli government attack Iran. In his op/ed, Morris wrote, “if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.”

Why is this quote so striking? Because Morris implicitly admits that the Israeli government has nuclear weapons, even though that government has never so admitted. In 1986, Mordecai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician, revealed that fact and for his troubles, was kidnapped by the Israeli government, tried for treason in secret, and forced to spend 18 years in prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement. His treason? Revealing Israel’s nuclear weapons program. It’s true that he violated a non-disclosure agreement, but that’s not treason. Presumably the treason is that he revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program, with the non-disclosure agreement being irrelevant.

Guess what? In last Friday’s New York Times, Benny Morris revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program. So shouldn’t he be charged with treason too?

28 thoughts on “Should the Israelis Arrest Benny Morris?”

  1. The CURRENT NEWS on Vanunu is his Freedom of Speech trial which began Jan. 2006; all because he spoke to foreign media upon his release from 18 years [most all of it in solitary] on April 21, 2004.

    In July 2007, Israel convicted Vanunu on 14 counts-from over a hundred interviews he gave foreign media in 2004 and he has been sentenced to 6 more months behind bars.

    Vanunu has been prohibited from leaving the state as well as the right to speak with ANY foreigners.

    On July 8, 2008, instead of ending Vanunu’s ordeal and either lock him back up, or drop the charges the three Judges have put off their decision until this September.

    This American Irish dissident and citizen journalist-who has been to Israel and Occupied Palestine 5 times since June 2005 has been reporting on Vanunu’s historic case and I am also freely streaming video interviews with Vanunu from 2005, 2006 and 2008 on WAWA:


    And I do it because Israel’s statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights-two of the many they defy:

    Article 19:
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Article 13:
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor WAWA:
    Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
    Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

  2. The reason why the Israel state considers someone like mr Morris a hero and mr Vanunu a criminal lies in the difference between the intentions that lay behind the objectively identical fact. Mr. Vanunu had unforgivable peaceful motivations, while mr Morris displayed an admirable belligerence in true Israeli spirit, urging for the use of nuclear weapons against a verified non-nuclear state.

  3. The Israeli regime uses “strategic ambiguity” to semi-cloak its nuclear weapons program (enriched uranium), and arsenal. This was broken during a Knesset discussion on what to do with the weapons:

    “The Knesset Debates Israel’s Nuclear Program
    For the first time in its history, the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, held a discussion of Israel’s nuclear program February 2 (2000). Issam Mukhul, an Arab member of the communist Hadash Party, spurred debate on the controversial and previously off-limits subject by petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to allow a hearing in the face of stiff opposition from the Knesset leadership. But before the Supreme Court could rule, the leadership agreed to a very limited public airing of the issue.

    The abbreviated debate, which lasted just under one hour, featured loud exchanges between angry parliamentarians who objected to public discussion of the nuclear issue, and Mukhul and other Arab members who strongly criticized the program on environmental and security grounds. Chaim Ramon, the government’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, reiterated Israel’s long-standing policy that it would not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.

    While neither Israel nor the United States has ever officially acknowledged the existence of an Israeli nuclear weapons program, Israel is widely considered a de facto nuclear weapons state. Estimates of the size and composition of the Israeli arsenal vary from 50 to hundreds of warheads. Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”

    Israel is not required to undergo IAEA inspections, and is instead inspected by its close ally, the United States. When the American nuclear inspectors come to Israel, they give advanced notice. Israelis build temporary brick walls blocking the entrances to the weapons-making areas. Americans admire the walls and never breach them to see what is down in the underground rooms.

    Benny Morris, unlike Mordechai Vanunu, never worked at Dimona, and hence can say whetever he wants within the speech restrictions of Israeli law. Vanunu broke his secrecy agreement with the regime and hence, was punished.

    Israel’s nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities are located at the Dimona reactor site, per

    “Dimona consists of nine of these blocks called machons (in Hebrew facility or institute).

    Machon 1 – The large silver-domed reactor containment vessel, nearly 20 meters [about 60 feet] in diameter, is visible from a nearby highway. Uranium fuel rods remain in the reactor for a few months before being discharged for reprocessing. The heavy water used as a moderator is cooled by ordinary water through a heat exchanger, which reportedly results in steam sometimes visible from the outside. Reports of annual production of as much as 60-kg of plutonium suggest that the reactor power level has been upgraded to 120-150 megawatts, much higher than the original power of 26 megawatts. Tritium can be produced by irradiating lithium-6 targets in the reactor. The reactor is four decades old, and may be reaching the end of its practical lifetime.

    Machon 2 – Of the 2,700 employees at Dimona, it is said that only 150 are permitted access to Machon 2, which reportedly extends six floors underground. The chemical reprocessing plant removes plutonium produced in the reactor from the spent uranium rods. Before reprocessing begins, the rods are stored in water filled tanks for several weeks while the short-halflife radio-isotopes decay. The residual uranium is reprocessed to be used in new fuel rods. The facility also separates lithium-6 from natural lithium for use in thermonuclear weapons. According to Vanunu, the average weekly production is 1.2 kilograms of pure plutonium, enough for 4-12 nuclear weapons per year.

    Machon 3 – The facility includes processing of natural uranium for the reactor, and conversion of lithium 6 into a solid for use in thermo-nuclear warheads.

    Machon 4 – This facility is dedicated to the treatment of radioactive waste products. It includes a waste treatment plant and high-level waste storage. Low-level waste is mixed with tar, taken out in cans and buried nearby.

    Machon 5 – Uranium from Machon 3 is made into rods coated in aluminum to be sent to the reactor.

    Machon 6 – Supply of services to other Machons, including electricity, steam and specialized chemicals (nitrogen etc). It also hosts emergency electrical generators.
    Machon 7 – Unknown – may no longer exist.

    Machon 8 – Large laboratory for testing purity of samples from Machon 2, experiments on new processes. A secret unit (Unit 840) has been making enriched uranium since 1979-80 on a production scale. This may consist of a gas centifuge faclity for the production of enriched uranium.

    Machon 9 – A laser isotope separation facility can be used to enrich uranium and to increase the proportion of isotope plutonium-239 in plutonium.

    Machon 10 – Depleted uranium made into tips of shells for Israeli use and for export to Switzerland.”

  4. Actually, Olmert himself let that slip in 2006.

    Olmert admits Israel has nuclear weapons

    13 Dec 2006

    Olmert….said: “Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map [the infamous “wipe israel off the map” fabrication repeated yet again].

    “Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as France, America, Russia and Israel?”

    A spokesman later said he did not mean to say that Israel had or aspired to acquire atomic weapons.

  5. “Iran will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.”

  6. In the fog that is the Middle East, clarity and light is a priceless commodity.

  7. Surely Benny Morris can’t be serious about his “nuke ’em high” column. I like to think of his argument as “Benny and the Jest.”

    Is there a legal reason why Israel won’t fess up to having nuclear weapons? Where’s the advantage in being noncommittal on something everyone knows?

    1. Frank Zappa’s Cruisin’ with Ruben and the Jets is laying low and unsung behind Elton John (and many others) and is the granddaddy of them all, with an open play in the title on Bernstein’s only interesting and lasting piece as well.

      Now that you mention it, it is hard not to think of this particular Benny in terms of the remake of The Mummy (1999), which was hilarious and quite well made:

      Rick: So what’s the scam, Beni? You take them out into the middle of the desert and then you leave ’em to rot?

      Beni: Unfortunately, no. These Americans are smart. They pay me only half now, half when I get them back to Cairo, so this time I must go all the way.

      Rick: Them’s the breaks, huh?

  8. Benny Morris is just a desperate Israeli propagandist trying to lift the spirit of an immoral, decaying colonial entity. In time he will drown in his whiskey bottle. But, what about New York Times? Isn't advocating a nuclear strike on any country a crime in America? Freedom of speech is fine, but even a Zionist sucker like New York Times should exercise some self restraint when it comes to genocide. Or is it New Orc Times, already ?

  9. From the title of the essay, “Should the Israelis Arrest Benny Morris?”, I thought the argument was going to be based on the UN Charter which forbids member nations to threaten war on one another. Member nations adopt the UN Charter as national law when they join the UN. A great many contemporary politicians and political advisers need to be arrested by their respective nations because they threaten war, including Bush, Cheney, Rice, Bolton, McCain, Obama, Clinton, Lieberman, in fact most of the US Congress. Then there is Olmert, Netanyahu, and most of the Knesset, Blair and most of his ministers, Sarkozy and other EU leaders, the list is long. I think some towns in Vermont have started issue arrest warrants for national politicians who break the law. Maybe the next G8 meeting could be held in Brattleboro, Vermont, and we could start to have a peaceful world.

  10. Maybe the Americans should arrest him.
    Insiting a riot is against the law in
    America. I think we have a similar law
    against inciting nuclear holocaust.

    1. Oh no, not every Holocaust is bad.
      Only when real people are killed in it.
      It is more than “just statistics,” like uncle Joseph used to say.
      That cynical bastard.
      There’s this issue of quality too.

  11. Now that we know that Israel is a nuclear power we can press the US government to end the foreign aid.

    It is illegal to give them another penny.

    1. Anne,
      Good thought but there is no organization (that I know of) dedicated to breaking the bad habit of sending American tax dollars to Israel. We need a AZL (Anti-Zionist League) or CUFPR (Christians United for Palestinian Rights). Some formal ogranization unafraid to say what is on the minds of so many Americans; namely that Israel is a racist, land-stealing criminal enterprise and is not to be supported by the American Government. Damn right, I’d join and support it.

  12. And I do it because Israel’s statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights-two of the many they defy:

    Article 19:
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Article 13:
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country

  13. This could be more “mad man” game theory playing to intimidate Iran. I hope that’s all it is.

  14. How outraged would the whole so called civilized westren world,its leadrs,and its media of any kind be had this article been writen by an Iranian about Israel.He could face an immidate arrest in so many European countries!

  15. Benny Morris pretty much said – “I dare you to hijack Pakistani nuclear warheads!”

    Threatening people with annihilation puts them in an uncomfortable position where they will do anything to gain some leverage or level the playing field.

    Of course you won’t hear anything from the UN Nuclear “watchdogs” about doing examinations of “potential” Israeli weapons sites. Israel ignores the UN like it does not exist, they have more than 2 dozen UN Resolutions against them, when is somebody planning to introduce sanctions against them?

    1. We can each of us individually introduce our own sanctions: don’t buy Intel (plant in Israel), boycott Lowes (CEO = AIPAC big shot), Stanley tools (Made in Israel), Catepillar (collaborating with terrorists, i.e. selling dozers to Israel). Divest from these and other companies with known links to Israel. Let’s just do it!

  16. Arrest him? Absolutely not. But we’d all be better off if the CIA would take him out.

    What really surprises me is that, if so-called “Muslim terrorists” were really serious, they’d be targeting insects like Morris and our own Likudniks. They’re fairly soft targets, unlike politicians, yet capable of doing so much damage.

    That’s why I believe that this whole “us-vs-them” crap is just an Orwellian charade with both “Muslim terrorist” leaders and our own bunch in on the scam.

  17. War mongering in the New York Times, again!

    This is WRONG!

    The war-mongering editorial in Friday’s (6/18/08) New York Times [this time, instead of Darfur, they are advocating bombing Iran!] Using bombs to stave off war proves yet again that the New York Times has been seriously compromised ethically.

    Here is author Benny Morris, from a 2004 interview: [Referring to Sharon’s Security Wall] “Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”.

    This is very sad news. I as well as countless others, have TRUSTED the New York Times in an era of an alarmingly narrow window of media afforded this priceless pact.

    Those days are over.

    Reprinted in the International Herald Tribune [of course, where else?] is the full, New York Times editorial, whose phony tone appeals for the moral “ok” from readers to do nothing less than to bomb Iran!


    We are not starting another war!

  18. Speaking of walls, Chertoff’s wall along the southern border of the US is curtains for the country over longer or shorter run.

    Boeing is collecting a cool $700 million for the work.

    It won’t work for the supposed “purpose” for which it was built. But it does work in other, much more subversive ways, as do all fortified “borders”.

    The real toll is ultimately psychological, but elusive and subtle.

    It is not just that an agent whose first loyalty to a foreign power is defining the US borders, making the line on a map a line of steel on the ground.

  19. Imagine if a Chinese Newspaper ran a Vietnamese editorial calling for bombing the US. There would be outrage. Western Leaders would be making official statements condemning China’s “warmongering” and there would be demands for political and economic actions.

    Here – nothing. Bombing the “barbarians” is acceptable.

  20. This is Outrageous!

    What is going on here?

    Today, we have the New York Times promoting:

    1 – Bombing Iran (Benny Morris and others)

    2 – Sending troops in and bombing Darfur (see Nicholas Kristof’s hundreds of columns!)

    3 – Supporting the protests of the Beijing Olympics – which are ALL funded and motivated by dubious, and potentially corrupt, sources (like Reporters Without Borders, look up “Reporters Without Borders is a Fraud” to read more)

    (When did we all walk through the mirror and into THIS upside down world?)

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