Everyone and their grandmother knows that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Why the mainstream media doesn’t write about it or even ask questions about it is beyond me.
Given this vacuum, the Washington Post’s piece published last Friday is important. It’s available here. Patrick Pexton, the Post’s Ombudsman, has summarized things pretty well I think. He concludes by saying:
I don’t think many people fault Israel for having nuclear weapons. If I were a child of the Holocaust, I, too, would want such a deterrent to annihilation. But that doesn’t mean the media shouldn’t write about how Israel’s doomsday weapons affect the Middle East equation. Just because a story is hard to do doesn’t mean The Post, and the U.S. press more generally, shouldn’t do it.
In recent weeks and months there have been a ton of “news” articles about Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu’s bellicose demands, the UN’s concerns, the sanctions against Iran, speculation about whether President Obama would be forced into supporting Israel if that country launched a preemptive strike against Iran, and efforts by world leaders (and even his own military and security officials) to calm the Israeli Prime Minister down. See here, here, here and here. The UN has even created a special Iran nuclear weapons task force, see here.
Not a single word in any of these articles or TV news programs about Israel’s nuclear weapons.
Well, that’s not quite true. In June, we learned from Spiegel Online International that Germany is helping Israel arm submarines with nuclear weapons. See here. I don’t recall seeing any mention of this in the American press.
It seems very odd to me that we ignore this huge elephant in the living room, while making demands on Iran, levying sanctions on the Iranian people, and even threatening a preemptive strike.
Certainly, Iran should be prevented from acquiring or building any nuclear weapons. Iran has signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and its feet should be held to the proverbial fire. Open, transparent and frequent inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities must be guaranteed.
But if I suddenly found myself sitting in the Oval Office as Commander-in-Chief, I would be demanding the same open, transparent and frequent inspections of Israel’s nuclear facilities. I would demand that Israel sign the nonproliferation agreement, which it hasn’t done yet, and I would work within the context of the UN to secure a demilitarized, non-nuclear Middle East.
THAT is ultimately in the best interests of the United States!