Each time that I hear about the negotiations regarding the future of Iran’s nuclear program I am struck by what is almost never mentioned. The Iranians are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and there is no proof that the Iranians intend to develop nuclear weapons. On the other hand, there is proof that the Israelis – secretly – developed a nuclear weapons program in the 1960s and are the only nuclear weapons power in the Middle East.
We have to ask ourselves some very difficult questions. Why is it that the discussions regarding Iran are entirely speculative, whereas there is no discussion of Israel’s nuclear weapons program?
There is a built-in assumption in the mainstream U.S. media that Israel cannot be and should not be constrained by international law. One can only assume that this is the result of at least two factors, both of which exist in combination. First, that Israel was settled largely by Europeans, and as a result has an analogous relationship to the indigenous population of the original Palestinian territories as those of us living in the U.S. and our relationship with Native Americans. This makes Israel more “comfortable” for many people in the U.S. who look at the rise of Israel as not dissimilar from that of America and its expansion Westward and its elimination of its native population.
The second factor, one must assume, is the Holocaust. Specifically, that in light of the Nazi murder of more than 6 million Jews, the state of Israel is somehow entitled to ignore international law and precedent. In the case of nuclear weapons, for instance, no actions were taken against Israel for its secret nuclear weapons program nor its collaboration with apartheid South Africa in the development of weapons of mass destruction. If this is or was the determining factor, it is, at best, curious in light of the fact that massive genocides —holocausts — have been committed against various peoples on this planet in addition to what was carried out by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. If genocide excuses countries from international law and precedent, then vast portions of this planet should be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.
For these reasons, discussions about Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions are, at best, disingenuous. To the extent that such suggestions go beyond speculation and are translated into policy, we face the on-going possibility of regional war, which seems to be the objective of the Israeli government and many Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
It is about time that people of conscience in the U.S. demand that the entire Middle East become a nuclear free zone. There are no rationales for any one country to hold nuclear domination, let alone permitting a situation where there could be a chaotic nuclear arms race. If one wishes peace, then this must come about through mutual respect and agreement rather than the peace that emerges when one side holds a gun pointed at the head of the other.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.