Israel’s Nuclear Opacity Hurts Its Stance on Iran

In the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times, Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller have an op-ed about the Israeli covert nuclear program. Cohen, a non-proliferation fellow at California’s Monterey Institute of International Studies is about to drop a book — “The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain With the Bomb” — about Israel and its opaque nuclear program, about which the Jewish state adopts a policy of ambiguity to protect.

I’m still plowing through the Foreign Affairs article from which the Cohen and Miller’s IHT op-ed is drawn (I’ll report on the FA article later), but this little piece from the shorter version is worth taking note of with regards to the ongoing debate over Israel’s stance on the Iranian nuclear program:

Israel needs to recognize, moreover, that the Middle East peace process is linked to the issue of nuclear weapons in the region. International support for Israel and its opaque bomb is being increasingly eroded by its continued occupation of Palestinian territory and the policies that support that occupation. Such criticism of these policies might well spill over into the nuclear domain, making Israel vulnerable to the charge that it is a nuclear-armed pariah state, and thus associating it to an uncomfortable degree with today’s rogue Iranian regime.

Indeed, while almost all states publicly oppose the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, there is also growing support for dealing with this problem in an “evenhanded” manner, namely, by establishing a nuclear weapons free zone across the entire region.

However, if Israel takes seriously the need to modify its own nuclear posture and its approach to the peace process, there will likely be stronger international support for measures designed to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold and to contain a nuclear-armed Iran if those efforts fail.

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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.

2 Comments

  1. The Palestinians and the Lebanese just don’t have the same clout as the Israel lobby, and they don’t have any oil either. So the mainstream American attitude toward them is, basically, f**k ‘em, while the Israelis are viewed as good guys, “just like us.”

    Indelicate but spot on, I’d say

  2. Israel IS a nuclear-armed pariah state. Any other country that had done the things Israel has done over the past thirty years would be a target for economic sanctions and, according to the doctrine of at least one former U.S. president, preemptive war.

    The Palestinians and the Lebanese just don’t have the same clout as the Israel lobby, and they don’t have any oil either. So the mainstream American attitude toward them is, basically, f**k ’em, while the Israelis are viewed as good guys, “just like us.”

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