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News :: International
Israel - IDF Tweet - Rockets Hit the Dimona Nuclear Bomb Site - No Damage
04 Jul 2014
An official Israeli Defense Force twitter account issued a warning of a possible nuclear leak at the country’s research reactor on Thursday. The Tweet was soon deleted while officials reported a security breach and apologized
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Rt - The Syrian Electronic Army has apparently taken credit for the hack, tweeting 'Long live Palestine!' via an IDF spokesperson's account. In their own twitter account, the hackers said they hacked the “whole ‘Israeli army’ propaganda”, attaching a screenshot to prove their claim.

The security breach was quickly noticed and rogue tweets deleted by the IDF, which confirmed that its account had been hacked and apologized to their followers. The tweets were deleted within minutes, but not before dozens of people had already retweeted the two hacked messages

A barrage of rockets pounded southern Israel on Thursday. More than ten rockets and mortar shells hit the area in less than an hour, but none came close to the Dimona Nuclear Facility in the Negev Desert, according to Jerusalem Post.

Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza strip have been trading strikes ever since the bodies of 3 missing Israeli teens were found in West Bank last week. Israel vowed to bring the perpetrators of the suspected kidnapping and execution to justice, immediately bombarding dozens of suspected Hamas militant sites and sparking a tit-for-tat rocket campaign.

The Twitter hacking comes just days after the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the IDF’s official blog. On Sunday, the blog was showing a defaced page, with a message written in Arabic. The IDF has not commented on that hacki, according to Cyber News Alerts, who suspects the attack was a spear phishing attack.

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Israel - IDF Tweet - Hoax
04 Jul 2014
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Some other screen grabs.
Re: Israel - IDF Tweet - Rockets Hit the Dimona Nuclear Bomb Site - No Damage
04 Jul 2014
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Israel Nuclear Bombs

Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons[6][7] and to be the sixth country in the world to have developed them.[1] It is one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea.[8] Israel maintains a policy known as "nuclear ambiguity" (also known as "nuclear opacity").[9][10] Israel has never officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, instead repeating over the years that it would not be the first country to "introduce" nuclear weapons to the Middle East, leaving ambiguity as to whether it means it will not create, will not disclose, will not make first use of the weapons or possibly some other interpretation of the phrase.[11] The "not be the first" formulation goes back to the Eshkol-Comer memorandum of understanding made between Israel and the United States on March 10, 1965, which contained Israel's written assurance for the first time that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East.[12][13] Israel has refused to sign the NPT despite international pressure to do so, and has stated that signing the NPT would be contrary to its national security interests.[14]

Israel started investigating the nuclear field soon after its founding in 1948 and with French support secretly began building a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant in the late 1950s. Israel is alleged to have developed a nuclear weapon in the late 1960s, but it is not publicly confirmed.[15][16][17] Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician, provided explicit details and photographs to the London Sunday Times of a nuclear weapons program[18] in which he had been employed for nine years, "including equipment for extracting radioactive material for arms production and laboratory models of thermonuclear devices."[19]

Estimates as to the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal vary between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads. It is estimated that the Israel nuclear deterrent force has the ability to deliver them by intermediate-range ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile, aircraft, and submarine-launched cruise missile.[2]

Israel is believed to have begun full scale production of nuclear weapons following the 1967 Six-Day War, although it may have had bomb parts earlier. A CIA report from early 1967 stated that Israel had the materials to construct a bomb in six to eight weeks[59] and some authors suggest that Israel had two crude bombs ready for use during the war.[26] According to US journalist Seymour Hersh, everything was ready for production at this time save an official order to do so. Another CIA report from 1968 states that "...Israel might undertake a nuclear weapons program in the next several years."[60] Moshe Dayan, then Defense Minister, believed that nuclear weapons were cheaper and more practical than indefinitely growing Israel's conventional forces.[61] He convinced the Labor Party's economic boss Pinchas Sapir of the value of commencing the program by giving him a tour of the Dimona site in early 1968, and soon after Dayan decided that he had the authority to order the start of full production of four to five nuclear warheads a year. Hersh stated that it is widely believed that the words "Never Again" were welded, in English and Hebrew, onto the first warhead.[62]

In order to produce plutonium the Israelis needed a large supply of uranium ore. In 1968, the Mossad purchased 200 tons from Union Minière du Haut Katanga, a Belgian mining company, on the pretense of buying it for an Italian chemical company in Milan. Once the uranium was shipped from Antwerp it was transferred to an Israeli freighter at sea and brought to Israel. The orchestrated disappearance of the uranium, named Operation Plumbat, became the subject of the 1978 book The Plumbat Affair.[63]

Estimates as to how many warheads Israel has built since the late 1960s have varied, mainly based on the amount of fissile material that could have been produced and on the revelations of Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu.

..... By 1969, U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird believed that Israel might have a nuclear weapon that year.[64][65] Later that year, U.S. President Richard Nixon in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir pressed Israel to "make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program", so maintaining a policy of nuclear ambiguity.[66] Before the Yom Kippur War Peres nonetheless wanted Israel to publicly demonstrate its nuclear capability to discourage an Arab attack, and fear of Israeli nuclear weapons may have discouraged Arab military strategy during the war from being as aggressive as it could have been.[26]

The CIA believed that Israel's first bombs may have been made with highly enriched uranium stolen in the mid-1960s from the U.S. Navy nuclear fuel plant operated by the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, where sloppy material accounting would have masked the theft.[67][68]

By 1974 U.S. Intelligence believed Israel had stockpiled a small number of fission weapons,[69] and by 1979 were perhaps in a position to test a more advanced small tactical nuclear weapon or thermonuclear weapon trigger design.[70]

The CIA believed that the number of Israeli nuclear weapons stayed from 10 to 20 from 1974 until the early 1980s.[2] Vanunu's information in October 1986 said that based on a reactor operating at 150 megawatts and a production of 40 kg of plutonium per year, Israel had 100 to 200 nuclear devices. Vanunu revealed that between 1980 and 1986 Israel attained the ability to build thermonuclear weapons.[71] By the mid 2000s (decade) estimates of Israel's arsenal ranged from 75 to 400 nuclear warheads.[2][3]

Several reports have surfaced claiming that Israel has some uranium enrichment capability at Dimona. Vanunu asserted that gas centrifuges were operating in Machon 8, and that a laser enrichment plant was being operated in Machon 9 (Israel holds a 1973 patent on laser isotope separation). According to Vanunu, the production-scale plant has been operating since 1979–80. The scale of a centrifuge operation would necessarily be limited due to space constraints.[specify] Laser isotope separation, however, if developed to operational status, could be quite compact. If highly enriched uranium is being produced in substantial quantities, then Israel's nuclear arsenal could be much larger than estimated solely from plutonium production.[72] Uranium enrichment could also be used to re-enrich reprocessed uranium into reactor fuel to more efficiently use Israel's uranium supply.

In 1991 alone, as the Soviet Union dissolved, nearly 20 top Jewish Soviet scientists reportedly emigrated to Israel, some of whom had been involved in operating nuclear power plants and planning for the next generation of Soviet reactors. In September 1992, German intelligence was quoted in the press as estimating that 40 top Jewish Soviet nuclear scientists had emigrated to Israel since 1989.[73]

In a 2010 interview, Uzi Eilam, former head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, told the Israeli daily Maariv that the nuclear reactor in Dimona had been through extensive improvements and renovations and is now functioning as new, with no safety problems or hazard to the surrounding environment or the region.[74]

Nuclear testing[edit]

According to Lieutenant Colonel Warner D. Farr in a report to the USAF Counterproliferation Center much lateral proliferation happened between pre-nuclear Israel and France stating "the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one—such was the depth of collaboration" and "the Israelis had unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data." minimizing the need for early Israeli testing though this cooperation cooled following the success of the French tests.[26]

In June 1976, a West Germany army magazine, Wehrtechnik ("military technology"), claimed that Western intelligence reports documented Israel had conducted an underground test in the Negev in 1963. The book Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East: Dimensions and Responsibilities by Taysir Nashif cites other reports that on November 2, 1966, the country may have carried out a non-nuclear test, speculated to be zero yield or implosion in nature at Al-Naqab, in the Israeli Negev desert region.[2][26]

On September 22, 1979 Israel may have been involved in a possible nuclear bomb test also known as the Vela Incident in the southern Indian Ocean. A secret committee was set up under then U.S. president Jimmy Carter headed by Prof. Jack Ruina of MIT. Most of the committee's members assumed that South African navy vessels had sailed out of Simonstown port, near Cape Town, to a secret location in the Indian Ocean, where they conducted the nuclear test. The committee defined the nuclear device tested as compact and especially clean, emitting little radioactive fallout, making it very nearly impossible to pinpoint. Another committee assessment concluded a cannon had fired a nuclear artillery shell and the detected test was focused on a small tactical nuclear weapon. After renouncing their nuclear weapons South Africa was revealed to only have six large and of the most primitive aircraft deliverable atomic bombs with a seventh being built but no sophisticated miniaturized devices in the artillery shell size.[75]



The Israeli nuclear program was first revealed publicly on December 13, 1960, in a small Time article,[76] which said that a non-Communist non-NATO country had made an "atomic development". On December 16, the Daily Express revealed this country to be Israel, and on December 18, US Atomic Energy Commission chairman John McCone appeared on Meet the Press to officially confirm the Israeli construction of a nuclear reactor and announce his resignation.[77] The following day The New York Times, with the help of McCone, revealed that France was assisting Israel.[78]

The news led Ben-Gurion to make the only statement by an Israeli Prime Minister about Dimona. On December 21 he announced to the Knesset that the government was building a 24 megawatt reactor "which will serve the needs of industry, agriculture, health, and science", and that it "is designed exclusively for peaceful purposes".[79] Bergmann, who was chairman of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission from 1954 to 1966, however said that "There is no distinction between nuclear energy for peaceful purposes or warlike ones"[80] and that "We shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter".[81]

Weapons production[edit]

The first public revelation of Israel's nuclear capability (as opposed to development program) came from NBC News, which reported in January 1969 that Israel decided "to embark on a crash course program to produce a nuclear weapon" two years previously, and that they possessed or would soon be in possession of such a device.[82] This was initially dismissed by Israeli and U.S. officials, as well as in an article in The New York Times. Just one year later on July 18, The New York Times made public for the first time that the U.S. government believed Israel to possess nuclear weapons or to have the "capacity to assemble atomic bombs on short notice".[83] Israel reportedly assembled 13 bombs during the Yom Kippur War as a last defense against total defeat, and kept them usable after the war.[61]

The first extensive details of the weapons program came in the London-based Sunday Times on October 5, 1986, which printed information provided by Mordechai Vanunu, a technician formerly employed at the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona. For publication of state secrets Vanunu was kidnapped by the Mossad in Rome, brought back to Israel, and sentenced to 18 years in prison for treason and espionage. Although there had been much speculation prior to Vanunu's revelations that the Dimona site was creating nuclear weapons, Vanunu's information indicated that Israel had also built thermonuclear weapons.[71]

Theodore Taylor, a former U.S. weapon designer leading the field in small, efficient nuclear weapons, reviewed the 1986 leaks and photographs of the Israeli nuclear program by Mordechai Vanunu in detail. Taylor concluded that Israel's thermonuclear weapon designs appeared to be "less complex than those of other nations," and as of 1986 "not capable of producing yields in the megaton or higher range." Nevertheless, "they may produce at least several times the yield of fission weapons with the same quantity of plutonium or highly enriched uranium." In other words, Israel could "boost" the yield of its nuclear fission weapons. According to Taylor, the uncertainties involved in the process of boosting required more than theoretical analysis for full confidence in the weapons' performance. Taylor therefore concluded that Israel had "unequivocally" tested a miniaturized nuclear device. The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) concluded after reviewing the evidence given by Vanunu that as of 1987, "the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960." and would require supercomputers or parallel computing clusters to refine their hydrogen bomb designs for improved yields without testing, though noting they were already then developing the computer code base required.[30] Israel was first permitted to import US built supercomputers beginning in November 1995.[84]

According to a 2013 report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which cited US Defense Intelligence Agency figures, Israel began the production of nuclear weapons in 1967, when it produced its first two nuclear bombs. According to the report's calculations, Israel produced nuclear weapons at an average rate of two per year, and stopped production in 2004. The report stated that Israel has 80 nuclear warheads and has enough fissile material to produce 190 more.[85][86] In 2014, former US president Jimmy Carter stated that "Israel has, what, 300 or more, nobody knows exactly how many" nuclear weapons.[87]

South African documents[edit]

See also: Israel–South Africa relations and South Africa and weapons of mass destruction

In 2010, The Guardian released South African government documents that it alleged confirmed the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal. According to the newspaper, the documents are minutes taken by the South African side of alleged meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975. The Guardian alleged that these documents reveal that Israel had offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons that year. The documents appeared to confirm information disclosed by a former South African naval commander Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union, who said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa involving an offer by Israel to arm eight Jericho missiles with atomic bombs.[88][89] Waldo Stumpf—who led a project to dismantle South Africa's nuclear weapons program—doubted Israel or South Africa would have contemplated a deal seriously, saying that Israel could not have offered to sell nuclear warheads to his country due to the serious international complications that such a deal could have. Shimon Peres, now Israeli President and then Defense Minister, has rejected the newspaper's claim that the negotiations took place. He also asserted that The Guardian’s conclusions were "based on the selective interpretation of South African documents and not on concrete facts".[90]

Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb and The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb, said "Nothing in the documents suggests there was an actual offer by Israel to sell nuclear weapons to the regime in Pretoria."[91]

..... It has been reported that Israel has several other nuclear weapons capabilities:
Suitcase bomb: Seymour Hersh reports that Israel developed the ability to miniaturize warheads small enough to fit in a suitcase by the year 1973.[169]
Tactical nuclear weapon: Israel may also have 175 mm and 203 mm self-propelled artillery pieces, capable of firing nuclear shells. There are three battalions of the 175mm artillery (36 tubes), reportedly with 108 nuclear shells and more for the 203mm tubes. If true, these low yield, tactical nuclear artillery rounds could reach at least 25 miles (40 km), while by some sources it is possible that the range was extended to 45 miles (72 km) during the 1990s.[26]
EMP strike capabilities: Israel allegedly possesses several 1 megaton bombs,[170][171] which give it a very large EMP attack abilities.[172] For example, if a megaton class weapon were to be detonated 400 kilometers above Omaha, NE, USA, nearly the entire continental United States would be affected with potentially damaging EMP experience from Boston to Los Angeles and from Chicago to New Orleans.[173] A similar high altitude airburst above Iran could cause serious damage to all of the electrical systems in the Middle East, and much of Europe.[174]
Enhanced Radiation Weapon (ERW): Israel also is reported to have an unknown number of neutron bombs.[26]
Nuclear land mine: Israel supposedly has deployed multiple defensive nuclear land mines in the Golan Heights.[175
Re: Israel - IDF Tweet - Rockets Hit the Dimona Nuclear Bomb Site - No Damage
09 Jul 2014
Two Weights, Two Measures

The Israel Lobby and French Politics


Pascal Boniface is a specialist in what the French call ‘geopolitics’. His output has been prodigious, traversing a wide variety of subjects. His latest book was published in May, titled: La France malade du conflit israélo-palestinien. For his literary efforts in this arena, Boniface has moved from respected commentator to being persona non grata in the mainstream media.

This story begins in 2001. Boniface was an adviser to the Parti Socialiste, with the PS then in a cohabitation government under RPR President Jacques Chirac and PS Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. In April 2001, he wrote an opinion for PS officials. The Party’s approach to Israel is based on realpolitik rather than on ethical principles, and it was time for a reappraisal.

Boniface published an article to the same effect in Le Monde in August 2001, which led to a response and rebuke by the then Israeli ambassador. Boniface then became fair game for the Israel lobby (my term – Boniface assiduously avoids it). Boniface was accused, via selective quotation, of urging the PS to cynically cater to the French Arab/Muslim community, more numerous than the Jewish community, to gain electoral advantage. As recently as January 2014, Alain Finkielkraut (rabble-rouser on the ‘Islamist’ problem in France) denounced Boniface on the same grounds.

The 1300 word 2001 note is reproduced in Boniface’s latest book. In a prefatory note to the reproduction, Boniface notes: “How many times have I not heard that one can’t move on the Middle East because of the ‘Jewish vote’ (sic) which of course does not exist but which nevertheless is largely taken on board by the elected of all sides.” Again, “It is not because there are more Arabs than Jews that it is necessary to condemn the Israeli Occupation; it is rather because the Occupation is illegal and illegitimate, contrary to universal principles and to the right of peoples to govern themselves.”

In the note itself, Boniface opines: “The intellectual terrorism that consists of accusing of anti-Semitism those who don’t accept the politics of Israeli governments (as opposed to the state of Israel), profitable in the short term, will prove to be disastrous in the end.” Paraphrasing Boniface: ‘… it will act to reinforce and expand an irritation with the French Jewish community, and increasingly isolate it at the national level.’ Boniface concludes:

“It is better to lose an election than to lose one’s soul. But in putting on the same level the government of Israel and the Palestinians, one risks simply to lose both. Does the support of Sharon [then Prime Minister] warrant a loss in 2002? It is high time that the PS … faces the reality of a situation more and more abnormal, more and more perceived as such, and which besides does not serve … the interests in the medium and long term of the Israeli people and of the French Jewish community.”

As Boniface highlights in 2014, “This note, alas, retains its topicality.”

Then comes 9/11 in September. There is the second Intifada in Palestine. Boniface wanted an internal debate in the PS, but is accused of anti-Semitism. The glib denunciation of terrorism brings with it a prohibition against the questioning of its causes.

Not content to be silenced, Boniface wrote a book in 2003, titled Est-il permis de critique Israël ?. Boniface was rejected by seven publishing houses before finding a publisher. In 2011, Boniface published a book titled Les Intellectuels Faussaires (The Counterfeit Intellectuals). In that book he called to account eight prominent individuals, not for their views (virulently pro-Israel, Neo-cons, Islamophobes) but because he claims, with evidence, that they persistently bend the truth. Yet they all regularly appear on the French mainstream media as expert commentators. The point here is that the 2011 book was rejected by fourteen publishers; add those who Boniface knew would be a waste of time approaching. Belatedly, Boniface found a willing small-scale publisher for Faussaires, and it has sold well in spite of a blackout in outlets that Boniface had expected some coverage.

Boniface also notes that Michel Bôle-Richard, recognized journalist at Le Monde, experienced a rejection for his manuscript Israël, le nouvel apartheid by ten publishing houses before he found a small-scale publisher in 2013. Boniface’s La France malade was rejected by the house that published his 2003 book. By default, it has been published by a small-scale Catholic press, Éditions Salvator. As Boniface notes, ‘this is symptomatic of the climate in France and precisely why this book had to be written’. It’s noteworthy that much of the non-mainstream media, including Marianne, Le Canard Enchainé and Mediapart, steers clear of the issue.

Boniface’s book is not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rather, it is about the parlous influence of the domestic Israel lobby on French politics and French society more broadly. Boniface claims that one can criticize any government in the world (one can even mercilessly attack the reigning French President), but not that of Israel.

After 2001, the PS was pressured to excommunicate him. Two regional presses ceased to publish his articles. There were attempts to discredit his organization – the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques – and to have him removed. He has been slurred as an anti-Semite.

At the peak of French Jewish organizations is the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France. CRIF’s formal dominant concern is the combating of anti-Semitism. At its annual dinner, its President cites the yearly total of recorded anti-Semitic incidents, berating the assembled political elite (‘the turn up of Ministers rivals that of the 14th July’) who don’t dare to reply.

There are indeed recurring anti-Semitic events, and there was a noticeable surge for several years in the early 2000s. Prime Minister Jospin was blamed for not keeping a lid on troublemakers (read Arab/Muslim) from the banlieues. The Socialists were ousted in 2002 and CRIF became a vocal advocate for and supporter of the new Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy’s domestic hard-line against civil disorder.

But Jospin was ‘guilty’ of more. One of the PS’s most ardent supporters of Israel, Jospin visited Israel and the Occupied Territories in 1999. Experiencing the latter first hand, his government’s policy towards Sharon-led Israel becomes less ardent. For CRIF, France’s less than a 100% plus pro-Israel stance puts French Jews at greater risk, so CRIF maintains as its imperative to influence both foreign and domestic policy. After the Merah murders of (amongst others) three Jewish children and an adult at a Toulouse school in 2012, CRIF was still laying blame on Jospin. As Boniface notes, CRIF perennially attempts to influence France’s policies but refrains from attempting to influence Israel’s policies.

When the publisher of Boniface’s 2003 book rejected the latest proposal (originally planned as a revised edition of the earlier book), the excuse was that it was over-laden with statistics. Statistics there are (helped by French infatuation with surveys and polling), and they ground Boniface’s cause.

Boniface highlights a change in attitudes after the 1960s. Anti-Semitism was still observably prevalent in the 1960s (would you accept Jews as in-laws?, a Jewish President?, etc.) but has since been consistently in decline. At the same time, popular support for Israel has experienced consistent decline. Until 1967, support for Israel, as the ‘underdog’, in France was high. Gradually attitudes have changed. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 is a turning point. Increasingly the manifestations of conflict – the intifadas, the failures at Camp David and later of Oslo – are blamed on Israel. Increasingly, the sympathy is more in favor of the occupied rather than the occupier.

In 2003, a European-wide survey produced the result that the greatest percentage of those surveyed thought that, of all countries, Israel was a threat to world peace – ahead of the US, Iran and North Korea, and so on. If the facts are ugly then bury them. There has been no subsequent comparable survey.

With anti-Semitism down and dislike for Israeli government policies up, the main agenda of CRIF has been to become a ‘second ambassador’ for Israel under cover of the supposed omnipresent pall of anti-Semitism in France. Other organizations like the Bureau national de vigilance contre l’anti-sémitisme (BNVCA) and the Union des étudiants juifs de France (UEJF) are part of the Israel cheer squad.

Boniface cites CRIF President Roger Cukierman in 2005: “Teachers have a demanding task to teach our children … the art of living together, the history of religions, of slavery, of anti-Semitism. A labor of truth is also essential to inscribe Zionism, this movement of emancipation, amongst the great epics of human history, and not as a repulsive fantasy.” And CRIF President Richard Prasquier in 2011: “Today Jews are attacked for their support of Israel, for Israel has become the ‘Jew’ amongst nations.” After 2008, following the ascendancy of Prasquier to the CRIF presidency, CRIF institutionalizes the organization of trips to Israel by French opinion leaders, and the reception in France of Israeli personalities.

Boniface finds it odious that anti-Semitism should be ‘instrumentalized’ to protect Israeli governments regardless of their actions. There is the blanket attempt at censorship of all events and materials that open Israel’s policies to examination.

Representative is a planned gathering in January 2011 at the prestigious École normale supérieure of 300 people to debate the ‘boycott’ question. Among the participants were the Israeli militant peacenik Nurit Peled, who lost her daughter in a suicide bombing, and the formidable Stéphane Hessel. The ENS’s director cancelled the booking under direct pressure. The higher education Minister and bureaucracy were also lobbied, in turn putting pressure on the ENS.

In February 2010, Sarkozy’s Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie issued a directive criminalizing those calling for a boycott of Israeli products. The formal reason given was that such a boycott militates against the freedom of commerce. The directive imposes a jail sentence and a heavy fine, and the Justice Minister instructed prosecutors that it is to be vigorously applied. Even the magistrature has criticized the directive, noting that its claimed dependence on a 2004 anti-discrimination law is inadmissible, and that it involves ‘a juridical assault of rare violence’ against a historic means of combating crimes of state. The directive remains in force under the Hollande Presidency.

The most striking reflection of the wholesale censorship agenda of the Israel lobby is the abuse of Jewish critics of Israel.

April 2010, under the banner, a group of respected European Jews criticize the Occupation in defense of a more secure Israel, urging ‘two peoples, two states’ – they are attacked. March 2012, Jacob Cohen, Jewish critic of Israel, is physically menaced by the Ligue de défense juive (LDJ) during the launch of his book. November 2012, the mayoralty of the 19th arrondisement is attacked by the BNVCA for supporting an exhibition on the Negev Bedouins. Its sponsors, the Union juive française pour la paix (UJFP), are characterized as fronts for Palestinian propaganda. December 2012, Israeli Michel Warschawski is awarded the ‘prix des droits de l’homme de la République française’ – he is demonized. Other prominent Jewish intellectuals – Franco-Israeli Charles Enderlin, Rony Brauman, Edgar Morin, Esther Benbassa, members of the UJPF – are demonized.

July 2014, three young Jewish Israelis have been murdered. Charles Enderlin reports from Israel. The television channel France 2 mis-edits Enderlin’s reportage of ‘three young Israelis’ as ‘young colonists’. Widely respected for his sober reporting, Enderlin has been subsequently subject to a volley of abuse – thus: ‘it’s time to organise a commando to bump off this schmuck’.

April 2012, at the first Congress of friends of Israel. Israeli Ofer Bronchtein, President of the Forum international pour la paix, arrives as an official invitee. The LDJ attack him; the organisers, including CRIF, ask him to leave. Bronchtein later noted:

“If I had been attacked by anti-Semites in the street, numerous Jewish organisations would have quickly called for a demonstration at the Bastille. When it is fascist Jewish organisations that attack me, everybody remains silent …”

February 2013, Stéphane Hessel dies. Hessel’s life is an exemplar of courage and moral integrity; in his advanced years, this life was brought to our attention with the publication of his Indignez-vous ! in 2010. Hessel, part Jewish, was a strong critic of the Occupation and of the 2008-09 Gaza massacre. His death is met with bile from the lobby. CRIF labelled him a flawed thinker from whom they had little to learn and a doddery naïf giving comfort to the evil of others. A blogger on JssNews ranted: ‘Hessel! The guy who stinks the most. Not only his armpits but his inquisitorial fingers regarding the Jews of Israel.’ The LDJ celebrated – ‘Hessel the anti-Semite is dead! Champagne! [with multiple exclamation marks].’

Peculiarly in France, there is the LDJ. Its counterparts banned in Israel and the US (albeit not in Canada), the LDJ represents the strong-arm end of the Israel lobby. CRIF looks the other way. Boniface notes that it has been treated leniently to date by the authorities; is it necessary to wait for a death to confront its menace? On the recent murder of the three young Israelis, an LDJ tweet proffers: ‘The murders are all committed by the apostles of Islam. No Arabs, no murders! LDJ will respond rapidly and forcefully.’

As a de facto ambassador for Israel, the lobby has long attempted to influence French foreign policy. Boniface notes that in 1953 the new Israeli ambassador was met by Jewish representatives with the claim that ‘we are French citizens and you are the envoy of a foreign state’. That was then.

At successive annual dinners, CRIF has called for France to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘eternal’ capital, and to incorporate Israel as a member state in the Francophonie (with the associated financial benefits and cultural leverage). On those fronts, CRIF has been unsuccessful. But it has had success on the broader front.

The turning point comes with President Chirac’s refusal to sanction the coalition of the willing in its criminal rush to invade Iraq in March 2003. The lobby is not amused. Now why would that be? In whose interests did the invasion and occupation occur? Chirac’s reluctance is met with a concerted strategy of the French lobby in combination with the US Israel lobby and US government officials to undermine the French position. Thus the ‘French bashing’ campaign – not generated spontaneously by the offended American masses after all. In his 2008 book, then CRIF President Roger Cukierman notes his gratitude for the power of the US lobby, and its capacity to even pressure the French leadership over Iraq.

Boniface claims that Chirac falls into line as early as May 2003. There is established high level links between France and Israel. After that … Sharon is welcomed to France in July 2005. France denies acknowledgement of the Hamas electoral victory in January 2006. France demurs on Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 (in spite of the historic ties between Beirut and Paris). France remains ‘prudent’ regarding Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in late 2008 and the murderous assault on the Turkish-led flotilla in May 2010. France did vote ‘yes’ to a Palestinian state at the UN in November 2012, but in general French foreign policy has become captive to Israeli imperatives, thanks in particular to the domestic lobby.

* * *

In February 2006 a young Jew Ilam Halimi is tortured and murdered. The shocking event becomes a cause célèbre in the media. Halimi’s killer was an anti-Semite. The killer’s hapless gang members receive various sentences, but parts of the Jewish community complain of their inadequacy, want a retrial and lobby the Élysée. The Halimi murder has since been memorialized with a school prize for the guarding against anti-Semitism, and several films are being produced. At about the same time an auto worker had been murdered for money (as was Halimi). The latter murder received only a couple of lines in the press.

Boniface produces summary statistics that highlight the violent underbelly in French society. A shocking count of conjugal murders, large-scale infanticide and rampant child abuse. Tens of thousands of attacks on police and public sector workers. A string of shocking gang attacks with death threats against members of the Asian and Turkish communities – those presumed to keep much liquid cash in their homes. Boniface notes that the anti-Semitic attacks (some misinterpreted in their character) need to be put into perspective.

And then there’s the Arab/Muslim communities. A survey was desirably undertaken in schools to combat racism. A student innocently notes that any tendency to display anti-Semitism is met with a huge apparatus of condemnation. (The 2002 Lellouche Law raised the penalties for racism and explicitly for anti-Semitism.) On the other hand, noted the student, tendencies to racist discrimination against blacks or Arabs are ignored or treated lightly.

There is, as Boniface expresses it, deux poids, deux mesures – two weights, two measures. It is widely felt and widely resented. TWTM could be the motif of Boniface’s book.

Arabs and blacks often refrain from reporting abuse or assaults with the prospect that the authorities will not pursue the complaint. Women wearing the veil are perennially harassed and physically attacked. A young pregnant woman is punched in the stomach; she loses her child. There is perennial use of the term ‘dirty Arab’. Arabs and blacks are perennially harassed by police because of their appearance and presumed ethnicity. Islamophobia escalates, with implicit support from CRIF and from pro-Israel celebrities such as Alain Finkielkraut. (Finkielkraut was recently beamed up to the celestial Académie française; his detractors were labelled anti-Semites.)

Salutary is the perennial humiliation experienced by Mustapha Kessous, journalist for Le Monde. Boniface notes that Kessous ‘possesses a perfect mastery of social conventions and of the French language’. Not sufficient it appears. On a cycle or in a car he is stopped by police who ask of him if he has stolen it. He visits a hospital but is asked, ‘where is the journalist’? He attends court and is taken to be the defendant, and so on.

In 2005, a Franco-Palestinian Salah Hamouri was arrested at a checkpoint and eventually indicted on a trumped up charge of involvement in the murder of a rabbi. In 2008 he took a ‘plea bargain’ and was given 7 years in jail. He was released in 2011 in the group exchange with the release of French IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. In France, Shalit is treated with reverence, though a voluntary enrolee of an occupying force. Hamouri’s plight has been treated with indifference. TWTM.

In March 2010, Said Bourarach, an Arab security guard at a shop in Bobigny, is murdered by a group of young men, Jewish and known to the police. They get off, meanwhile alleging that the murdered guard had thrown anti-Semitic insults. In December 2013, young Jews beat up an Arab waiter for having posted a quenelle (an anti-authority hand gesture ridiculously claimed to be replicating a Nazi stance and thus anti-Semite) on a social network. The event received no coverage.

TWTM. The media is partly responsible. The authorities in their manifest partisanry are partly responsible. The lobby is heavily responsible.

Boniface is, rightly, obsessed with the promise of universalism formally rooted in Republican France. He objects to the undermining of this imperative by those who defend indefensible policies of Israeli governments and who divert and distort politics in France towards that end.

For his pains, Boniface is denigrated and marginalized. Evidently, he declines to accept defeat. Hence La France malade …

Evan Jones is a retired political economist from the University of Sydney.
The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal
09 Jul 2014
"The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy" is a 1991 book by Seymour Hersh. It details the history of Israel's nuclear weapons program and its effects on Israel-American relations. The "Samson Option" of the book's title refers to the nuclear strategy whereby Israel would launch a massive nuclear retaliatory strike if the state itself was being overrun, just as the Biblical figure Samson is said to have pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had gathered to see him humiliated.

According to The New York Times, Hersh relied on Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli government employee who says he worked for Israeli intelligence, for much of his information on the state of the Israeli nuclear program. However, Hersh confirmed all of this information with at least one other source.[1] Hersh did not travel to Israel to conduct interviews for the book, believing that he might have been subject to the Israeli Military Censor. Nevertheless, he did interview Israelis in the United States and Europe during his three years of research.[1]

Publisher Random House says, on the inside folds of the cover, that The Samson Option "reveals many startling events," among them:
How Israel stole United States satellite reconnaissance intelligence and used it to target the Soviet Union.
How Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir directed that some of the intelligence stolen by American Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel, be turned over to the Soviet Union.
How Israel created a false control room at the Dimona nuclear facility to hide from American nuclear inspectors its use in creating nuclear weapons.
How President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration tried and failed to force Israel to acknowledge its nuclear ambitions.
How Israel threatened to use nuclear weapons on the third day of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, blackmailing U.S. President Richard Nixon into airlifting military supplies.
How Israel used a top London newspaper editor to capture Mordechai Vanunu.
How a top American Democratic Party fund-raiser influenced the White House while raising money for the Israeli bomb.
How American intelligence finally learned the truth about Dimona.

The American Library Association book review lists additional "significant revelations" in the book:[2]
Fuller details about the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981.
That Israel collaborated with South Africa on a nuclear test over the Indian Ocean in 1979. (Now disputed. See nuclear.)
That during the 1991 Gulf War Israel pointed nuclear armed mobile missiles at Iraq.
That Israel holds a few neutron bombs in additional to several hundred other nuclear weapons.
That U.S. policy towards Israel’s nuclear program "was not just one of benign neglect: it was a conscious policy of ignoring reality."

The New Scientist book review lists specific examples of U.S. official’s suppression of information:
CIA analysts kept quiet about what they found in Lockheed U-2 spy plane photographs of Dimona during the 1950s.
Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission during the 1950s, probably knew about and supported the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[2]

The review also notes the revelation that U.S. President John F. Kennedy attempted to persuade Israel to abandon its nuclear program, and angry notes were exchanged between Kennedy and Israeli Premier David Ben-Gurion in 1963.

Other allegations in The Samson Option include:
The U.S. did not understand that Israel saw the Soviet Union as its number one threat; that even before he became President Nixon’s National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger had told Israeli leaders that the U.S. would not help Israel if the Soviets attacked it; that Israeli missiles targeted the Soviet Union from 1971 on; that the Soviets had added four Israeli cities to their target list; that the Soviets had threatened Israel after the 1973 war because Israel kept breaking ceasefires with Egypt.[3]
The White House under Kennedy was "fixated" upon what to do about Israel’s nuclear weapons. However, none of the prominent Kennedy biographers, including Arthur Schlesinger and Theodore C. Sorensen mentioned the fact.[4]
In December 1960 U.S. Atomic Energy Commission chairman John A. McCone revealed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information about Israel's Dimona nuclear weapons plant to the New York Times. Hersh writes that Kennedy appointed McCone Director of Central Intelligence in part because of his willingness to deal with Israeli and other nuclear issues - and despite the fact that McCone was a Republican. McCone resigned as director in 1965, feeling unappreciated by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who he complained would not read his reports, including on the need for full-fledged inspections of Israeli nuclear facilities.[5]
President Johnson suppressed the January, 1965 Gilpatric report which called for tough anti-nuclear proliferation efforts, including against Israel, because he feared backlash from American Jews. In June 1965 Senator Robert F. Kennedy publicly called for many of the report’s recommendations, invoking his assassinated brother’s name, thus provoking Johnson to further bury the report.[6]
Hersh alleges that the Soviets learned about and communicated to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat Israeli threats to use the Samson Option in the 1973 war.[7]
Menachem Begin’s conservative party coalition, which took power in 1977, was more committed to “the Samson Option and the necessity for an Israeli nuclear arsenal” than the Labor Party. Rather than merely react to attack, they intended to “use Israeli might to redraw the political map of the Middle East.” Begin, who hated the Soviet Union, immediately targeted more Soviet cities with nuclear weapons.[8]
Hersh includes two quotations from Israeli leaders. He writes that a "former Israeli govt official" with "first hand knowledge of his government’s nuclear weapons program" told him: We can still remember the smell of Auschwitz and Treblinka. Next time we’ll take all of you with us.[9] And he quotes then Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon as saying: We are much more important than (Americans) think. We can take the Middle East with us whenever we go.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Yale professor Gaddis Smith reviewed the book for Foreign Affairs, calling it a "fascinating work of investigative history" that succeeded in sifting "hard fact from the decade's rumors and half-confirmed reports" on the Israeli program.[11] New Scientist's review stated that the book "breaks new ground" by revealing that "US officials helped to suppress the information they gathered on Dimona," i.e., Israel's Negev Nuclear Research Center.[12] The book spent three weeks on Publishers Weekly's bestseller list.[13]

Some Jewish and Israeli publications were much more critical of the book. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee's newsletter "Near East Report" said that the book has "many inaccuracies,"[14] and The Jerusalem Report said that it was "yet another pretentious, self-serving and therefore unreliable effort to stir up a controversy for its own sake and make a fast buck."[15]


Spy allegation[edit]

Hersh stated in The Samson Option that the foreign editor of the British Daily Mirror, Nicholas Davies, told the Mossad in 1986 the name of the hotel in which Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu was hiding.[16] Vanunu was in the process of revealing information on the Israeli nuclear program to The Sunday Times, but was subsequently kidnapped and smuggled to Israel by the Mossad. Hersh further stated that Davies was involved in Israeli arms sales, and that his boss Robert Maxwell also had ties to the Mossad. He received this information from Ben-Menashe and from Janet Fielding, Davies' former wife.[17]

Both Davies and Maxwell immediately rejected the allegations, calling them "a complete and total lie" and a "ludicrous, a total invention" respectively.[16] On October 23, 1991 they filed a libel suit against the book's British publisher, Faber & Faber Ltd., and two days later they filed another libel suit against Hersh himself.[18] Davies never pursued his case, and Maxwell died the following month. In August 1994 the Mirror Group settled Maxwell's suit, paying Hersh and Faber & Faber damages, covering their legal costs, and issuing a formal apology.[19]

Two British MPs asked for further investigations into the book's revelations. Labour Party MP George Galloway proposed an independent tribunal to investigate the extent of foreign intelligence penetration of Maxwell's Mirror Group.[16] Conservative Party MP Rupert Allason asked for the Department of Trade and Industry to see if potential arms sales to Iran had violated a UN embargo.[16]

Pollard information[edit]

In The Samson Option Hersh cites Ben-Menashe and an anonymous Israeli source in stating that US intelligence information stolen by convicted spy Jonathan Pollard had been "sanitized" and given by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir directly to the Soviet Union. This information was said to include US data and satellite pictures which were used by US forces for nuclear targeting against the USSR. These claims were subsequently denied by the military aide to Shamir, the then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Soviet official who was said to have received the information, and a Washington official.[20]

Gates arms deals[edit]

Because Hersh named Ben-Menashe as a major source of the book, other allegations by the former Israeli official were granted greater attention.[21] Among other things, Menashe had claimed that Robert Gates, then in Senate hearings to be confirmed as the director of the CIA, had been involved in "illegal arms shipments to Iraq" during the 1980s. However, Gates was confirmed after the Senate Intelligence Committee could not substantiate the claims.[2
Hamas Attempts Strike On Israeli Nuclear Site
09 Jul 2014
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After a day of counter-strikes between Hamas and Israeli forces, rockets are fired at the highly secure Dimona nuclear site Hamas militants have fired rockets towards the Dimona nuclear reactor facility, an Israeli military spokesman has said. The official said three rockets were detected and the "Iron Dome" defensive missile system was activated.

Writing on Twitter, the official said: "A few minutes ago, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired three rockets at Dimona. Two fell in open areas, Iron Dome intercepted the other." The Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said it "launched three M75 rockets at Dimona".The rockets have a range of about 50 miles. Israeli troops also killed two Gaza militants in a seafront gunfight on Wednesday, close to the site of a failed attack on a military base a day earlier, according to reports.

"Two armed terrorists came out of the sea more or less in the same area where the incident took place 24 hours ago," Israeli public radio said. "Army lookouts spotted them and there was a gunfight which ended with both terrorists killed." The nuclear reactor strike attempt comes after the Israeli military has said it has shot down rockets fired by Palestinian militants at other areas, as Israel's major air offensive over the Gaza Strip approaches its third day.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said at least eight rockets sent from Gaza were intercepted over Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ashkelon on Wednesday. Israel said a rocket hit the city of Zichron Yaakov on Wednesday afternoon, which is some 120km (75 miles) from Gaza, representing the longest-range rocket strike by Hamas on the state to date.

The IDF claims at least 48 missiles, sent by Hamas, which controls Gaza, "struck Israel" since midnight. Other locations targeted included Beersheva and Sderot in the south, Rishon Lezion, and Hadera in the north - 60 miles from Gaza. In total, more than 300 rockets have been fired at Israel since the military launched Operation Protective Edge began on Monday night.

To date no fatalities have been reported in Israel. The fatalities come after at least 49 people, including children, have been killed in the biggest Israeli assault on Gaza in nearly two years Officials in Gaza say that more than 300 people have also been injured since Monday, but that number is likely to climb as Israel attempts to "dismantles" Hamas. The Israeli military said a total of 550 Hamas targets have been hit since the operation began, with 130 targets hit on Wednesday.

They included 60 suspected rocket launch sites on the Gaza Strip from Beit Hanoun in the north, to Rafah near the Egyptian border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has quoted him as saying he plans to "intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terrorist organisations in Gaza" even further. The Israeli cabinet has warned it may also send in ground troops and has authorised the call-up of as many as 40,000 reservists.

At a crisis meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing atrocities in Gaza. Mr Abbas said: "It's genocide - the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people." The US State Department said it has called for all sides to deescalate Gaza tension but reiterated Israel's right of self-defence. The exchange of fire marks the heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas since an eight-day battle in November 2012.

Tensions increased last month after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. Israel blamed Hamas and launched a crackdown on the group's members and arrested hundreds of people. The situation deteriorated further last week when a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem was abducted and burned to death in what was viewed as a revenge attack
British trade union UNITE joins BDS campaign
09 Jul 2014
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Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, condemned Tuesday Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory and joined the international BDS movement.

Unite the Union, known as Unite, is a British and Irish trade union, formed on 1 May 2007 by the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union. On 2 July 2008, Unite signed an agreement to merge with the United Steelworkers to form a new global union entity called Workers Uniting, which represents over 3 million members in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, North America and the Caribbean. Unite retains its separate identity in the United Kingdom.

At the three-day annual conference held in Liverpool last week, Unite adopted several motions in regard to the Palestinian cause.

The first motion, ‘Israel and Palestine’, condemned Israel for committing ‘apartheid crimes’ against the Palestinian people. According to Middle East Monitor, it also condemned Israeli violations of international law such as settlement construction, crimes of persecution against the Palestinian people, and the Israeli military's detention and torture of Palestinian children. It also highlighted Israeli racist laws affecting Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The union requested its members, estimated to be over 1.5 million, to take bolder steps, similar those taken against the South African apartheid regime, as part of the fight against Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The union announced that it would work with others to develop a campaigning and leverage strategy around BDS within the next 12 months, notably against complicit companies involved in the occupation, the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements, such as Veolia, G4S and Sainsbury's.

Unite also adopted a motion on the conditions of siege in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp. According to Middle East Monitor, the conference “urged all parties to withdraw and allow humanitarian aid to reach [camp residents] without further delay.”

Unite also reaffirmed “its commitment to Resolution 194, which asserts the rights of Palestinians [expelled by Israel] to return to their land”.

The third motion titled “Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation” was not carried, however. The motion expressed support for the stricken U.S.-led peace talks and encouraged engagement with both Israeli and Palestinian trade unions.