April 21st saw the publication in the Guardian of yet another letter from members of the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign.
As was the case in previous letters from the same organization (here, here, and here), Vanunu is benignly referred to as a ‘whistleblower’, despite having broken the Israeli Official Secrets Act during wartime.
Considering that the Guardian itself has in the past used this erroneous term to describe a man who illegally publicized state secrets in a foreign newspaper as a victim, it is not surprising that its editors see fit to print yet another letter which promotes this false impression.
The ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign is better understood when one considers its full title: ‘Campaign to Free Vanunu and for a Nuclear Free Middle East’. Its efforts on the latter subject however appear to be confined to one country only: no indignant letters to the Guardian from these folks on the subject on Iranian or Syrian nuclear designs.
The core intentions of the UK branch of the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign are revealed by the role it plays in lobbying the British Parliament to call for “an end to Israel’s WMD”.
That lobby is jointly organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and is supported by Al-Awda, the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the Campaign to Free Vanunu and for a Nuclear Free Middle East, Friends of Sabeel, Labour Action for Peace, Pax Christi, Stop the War Coalition and the World Court Project.
Unsurprisingly, several of the above organizations are coincidentally dedicated to undermining Israel’s existence and the names attached to this letter provide an interesting glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of co-operation between anti-Israel organizations.
That the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) should work hand in hand on this subject is hardly surprising.
As well as having been a major figure in the CND in past years, Bruce Kent – one of the signatories of this letter – is today its Honorary Vice-President. He is also a patron of the PSC and Vice-President of Pax Christi. He was also previously connected to the charity ‘War on Want’ and is a trustee of the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign.
Another signatory, Ben Birnberg, is company secretary for War on Want, as well as a trustee of the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign. He is also a signatory of an anti-Israel pro-BDS campaign by “prominent British Jews”.
A third signatory, Jeremy Corbin MP, is also a patron of the PSC and infamous for his pro-Hamas stance.
Signatory Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists, was quick to issue condemnation and call for a “full inquiry” into the events aboard the Mavi Marmara last year even before the true nature of events had become clear. The IFJ has been criticized by Israeli journalists, some of whom withdrew from the organization, due to its support for the Hizbollah Television station Al Manar during the 2006 Lebanon war, and during 2009 some eight hundred Israeli journalists were expelled from the IFJ, though later readmitted.
One of the more interesting organizations supporting the CND and PSC led lobby against Israel is ‘Friends of Sabeel’. The Palestinian Christian organization Sabeel has ‘friends’ organizations in many Western countries including the UK, North America, Scandinavia and Australia and many of its members are also involved in anti-Israel campaigning, such as the Rev. Nicola Jones who was instrumental in last year’s decision by the Methodist Church in the UK to adopt BDS.
It is no coincidence that Sabeel, which campaigns for a one-state ‘solution‘, was born in the very church in which Mordechai Vanunu has been living since his release from prison in 2004 – Saint George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. Sabeel’s founder and director, Naim Ateek is a former minister of that establishment and Sabeel conference speakers have repeatedly lauded Vanunu, with his American adoptive parents being the star turn at its 2004 session.
The former bishop of Saint George’s Cathedral and the man who offered Vanunu a home there, Bishop Riah El Assal, is well-known for his apologetics for suicide bombers, Hamas and Hizbollah, as well as his anti-Israeli rhetoric.
In addition to these connections to anti-Israel groups, the PSC and Stop the War Coalition go even further: both these organizations are supporters of the annual Al Quds day held in London and organized by the pro-Iranian regime ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’.
Far from being concerned about the human rights of ordinary Iranians imprisoned, raped and tortured by their own government or the dangers of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by a theocratic dictatorship headed by a Holocaust-denying messianic, the PSC and StWC – partners of the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign – actually celebrate the type of rampant anti-Semitism promoted by the Iranian regime, along with its support for proscribed terrorist organizations in the form of Hamas and Hizbollah.
In conclusion, it is all too apparent that the ‘Free Vanunu’ campaign is not the harmless peace-loving organization it claims to be, but part and parcel of the concerted multi-fronted effort to deny Jews their basic human rights of self-determination and self-defence.
It is therefore fitting that its campaigners repeatedly choose to publicise their epistles in the newspaper which so frequently promotes others with the same agenda, including members and sympathisers of Hamas.