Message to Israeli SECURITY regarding Mordechai Vanunu
January 3, 2010
Just days before my first of seven journeys to Israel and occupied Palestine in June 2005, a Palestinian American friend warned me, “Don’t visit Vanunu, if you see him; don’t speak to him. He’s not allowed to speak to foreigners and you could cause him trouble.”
I responded, “OK, I won’t track him down, but Jerusalem is a small town and if our paths cross, I will speak to him. What kind of government is that, that will tell a human being who they can and cannot talk with?”
Not only did I cross paths with Vanunu during that trip, I have met with him on every trip since, have been streaming 2005, 2006 and 2008 video interviews with him on my site and have reported since day one on his FREEDOM OF SPEECH TRIAL in the ‘democracy’ of Israel since it began January 25, 2006.
This American citizen journalist wants to assure Israeli SECURITY that Vanunu never gave me an order that I have followed.
As a Christian Anarchist whose manifesto is The Sermon on the Mount, I listen to my conscience/heart and will act accordingly.
Israeli SECURITY knows that all during Vanunu’s captivity in occupied East Jerusalem, since April 21, 2004, he has spoken with hundreds –if not thousands-of internationals.
I also have written twice to the Mossad agent who trapped him in 1986 and who lives less than a two hour car drive from my home:
On December 29, 2009, Vanunu was arrested once again, this time just for meeting with his Norwegian girlfriend, Dr. Kristen Joachimen, a scholar and an associate professor of Biblical Studies.
Learn more here:
On YouTube, Russian media reported that a search of Vanunu’s belongings uncovered a letter from an America causing Israeli officials to be concerned that “he could be orchestrating something” and you can view it here:
In June 2009, I mailed a copy of my second book and a few articles to the Israeli High Court Judge, so she could read the final chapter; BROTHER V and learn what this American’s interest in Vanunu has been: his childhood, his stumbling into Christianity, his FREEDOM OF SPEECH TRIAL and denial of basic human rights by the Jewish State.
In June 2006, Vanunu told me, “When I decided to expose Israel’s nuclear weapons I acted out of conscience and to warn the world to prevent a nuclear holocaust.”
I too act out of conscience and because corporate media has failed to do their job; go-seek and report the truth, no matter how ugly or brutal it is.
In 2005, Vanunu told me:
“When I became the spy for the world I did it all for the people of the world. If governments do not report the truth, if media does not report the truth, all we can do is follow our conscience…Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMD’s. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians, right here in Israel.
“My Christian conversion was also considered as treason and led to me receiving more time in jail than any murderer has ever served. The Israelis have this very beautiful article about freedom and liberty but they want to destroy anyone who criticizes them for revealing the truth to the world. The world must look and see what kind of democracy Israel is when one speaks out the truth. Israel is not a democracy unless you are a Jew.”
Anyone who bothers to speaks with Vanunu for even a few minutes can readily understand that the ‘secret’ Vanunu has that can harm Israel is nothing more than bad PR!
This American also believes all people are equal and equally loved by God and that only THE TRUTH will set US free.
I also have a radical hope that Israeli SECURITY will WAKE UP and allow Vanunu the right to leave the Jewish state and fade away into history, instead of keep making it, for only then will this little one shut up about him.
On the third day of my fifth trip to occupied east Jerusalem, I crossed paths with Vanunu on July 16, 2007; the 9th day of Av, the day which commemorates the Jewish Temple’s destruction.
I was on my way back to my hotel on Nablus Road in occupied east Jerusalem just after attending the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions media kick off day regarding that summer’s plan to rebuild 300 homes out of the now 24,000 Palestinian dwellings that the state of Israel has destroyed since 1967.
I had just witnessed the pouring of the foundation of the new home of the Hamdan clan of nine who still had the deeds to their property that were filled-out during the Ottoman Empire.
My mind was still on them when I noticed in front of me an old man, hunched over as in the proverbial image of one whose back is breaking under the weight of the world, walking very slowly and talking to himself.
It was not until I passed him by and he called out to me, “Hi, remember me?”
Only because I recognized his voice, did I realize, that I had passed by Mordechai Vanunu.
I had failed to recognize him, for I had walked with Vanunu on the streets of occupied east Jerusalem before, and he always had walked as fast as I did, and everyone in my life who takes a walk with me, always tells me to slow down, for they cannot keep up!
Vanunu’s gait on that day was like many other old men’s on the hot streets of Jerusalem in July and it broke my heart to see such a change in him.
But, Vanunu smiled when he informed, “This is the very spot where they stoned to death the first Christian martyr for freedom of speech,” as we had crossed paths in front of St. Stephen’s Church.
2,000 years ago, Saint Stephen was the first follower of Jesus to be stoned to death for speaking truth to power.
Vanunu had quit talking to me once again in June 2007, after he emailed me with his command to delete the “30 Minutes with Vanunu” from my website.
Vanunu didn’t give me a reason as to why and I emailed him back that no way would or could I comply with such a request, for the video was also cross posted on Google News and Information Clearing House and had become a part of his history.
But now that we were face to face, I asked him, “Just exactly why did you want that video deleted?”
He responded, “It’s not making any money.”
I retorted, “Look, I have no control over people’s generosity or lack of!”
He smiled as he challenged me, “If you want to keep running my video, you should pay me $1,000.00 a month.”
We both laughed at that!
In March 2006, just prior to the taping of “30 Minutes with Vanunu” he told me that his brother Meir had the idea that all the media that caused his FREEDOM OF SPEECH trial -which lead to a six month jail sentence handed down on July 3, 2007- should donate at least a thousand dollars to his defense fund.
As all the media who he had spoken with Vanunu in 2004, had been MIA ever since, we both had hoped the video interview would raise awareness and some much needed funds, for Vanunu has been living off the generosity of supporters since he hasn’t had a job since 1986.
I reminded Vanunu that, “I never claimed to be a fundraiser. I am a writer and the only way I can really help you is to keep writing your story and running that video. Unless we the people stand up and claim our liberties and rights, we don’t have any!
“It is only right and just that my work remains on my site and I remind you that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms-and which Israel agreed to uphold for their very statehood was contingent upon- affirms that: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Vanunu shrugged and replied, “Do what you want.”
That is always what he has ended up saying to me, every time we have argued.
I met Vanunu for the first time, in June 2005, which was only days after he disbanded the US Campaign to free Vanunu. I hadn’t even known there was a campaign; in fact I had not even heard his name until I began to research for my first book, KEEP HOPE ALIVE, and he became one of the stories I told in it.
From the moment I met Vanunu, and perhaps because I am nine months older than he, I related to him as a sister and never hesitated to speak to him as I do to my blood brothers and all friends: honestly!
In 2005, I was interested in learning what kind of kid he had been and how he stumbled into Christianity. After he filled me in, I was convinced that when America knew what kind of person he had been; everything would change for him and occupied Palestine.
Vanunu told me I was naïve and I have never disagreed, for that is how I am wired and also the way it just is.
In July 2007, Vanunu laughed at me when he said, “You are too naïve. You think you’re going to change anything with your website? Maybe a few hundred people a day read anything you say.”
I replied, “I know I am just one little voice in the wilderness calling out, but there are more like me all the time and the weapons NONVIOLENT people have are words!
“And only in solidarity do we have it in our power to begin the world again.
“And I have a link connected to my site that tells me the U.S. Government and Military visit me daily, and even if Big Brother were my only readers, it is worth it to me to speak out and agitate them with the truth. It is the right and just thing to do.”
I then reminded Vanunu, that when I was a child, my dream had been to grow up and be like Brenda Starr; the red headed ace investigative journalist of the Sunday Comics.
Vanunu laughed at me when I said it again in 2007, but when I first told him about my child hood dream in June 2005, he looked at me like I was crazy and it was the first time he had ever heard of Brenda Starr.
I suppose it is crazy for me to still believe that Vanunu’s on going misery will wake up American Christians about the truth in the Holy Land, but only those deemed crazy by the status quo, ever make a difference in this world and so, I persist.
I suppose it also is crazy how Vanunu got caught up in my mind with George; a little boy of Beit Jala, a suburb on the west side of the Little Town of Occupied Bethlehem, who irrevocably changed my life, but I ascribe that experience to be a mystical one.
It is George’s three year old face that adorns the banner of my website and the photo is courtesy of photographer Debbie Hill, who ‘captured’ George the morning after the Israeli army destroyed his bedroom in retaliation for a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated his once peaceful Christian village to snipe across the way into the illegal settlement/colony of Gilo.
The shrapnel that pierced the wall of George’s sanctuary read ‘Made in USA’ and was delivered via American made Apache helicopters.
The second I saw George’s eyes, in the photo first published in 2000, by The Florida Catholic, my heart said “DO SOMETHING!”
What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I still stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem as I beg God to intervene and help us end the insane cycle of violence in the so called Holy Land for the sake of all the children who live there.
When I met George for the first time in June 2005, I vowed to him that the rest of my life would be dedicated to doing something to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine. Of course I was clueless as to what I could do as well as how an impossible mission I had taken on, but as it is only the hopeless causes that are worth fighting for, I persist.
In April 2005, two months before my first trip to Israel and occupied Palestine, I turned the TV on which had been tuned in last to the History Channel.
The very clip that ran before my eyes was of Vanunu being transported to his closed door trial in 1986 which captured his inspired move to write upon his palm: “HIJACKED” and the Rome flight number he had been on.
The show was called, “Sexpionage” and was all about Russian female spies, one from the Mossad and also documented Shimon Perez, lying to the world that Israel would never be the first in the Mid East to introduce nuclear weapons.
Then a black and white photo of a bearded, unkempt and disheveled Vanunu filled the TV screen, and I immediately thought his eyes looked just like George’s of Beit Jala’s. And once again, I heard in my heart: “Do Something!”
Not until I met Vanunu did I learn his eyes are nothing like George’s of Beit Jala, but I have done something; documented some of his history and likened him to Jeremiah, the prophet of doom.
When Vanunu read my comparison, he emailed me:
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!”
But in the spirit of freedom of speech and because I listen to my conscience, I persist!
It should be understood that prophets do NOT necessarily predict the future-but they do point out impending doom and at least provoke people to think about God.
In 1986, Vanunu pointed to the Negev and Israel’s clandestine seven-story underground WMD facility called the Dimona, which still has never allowed IAEA inspectors into.
Israel has kept Vanunu under house arrest in occupied east Jerusalem for nearly five years now, claiming he still has something he hasn’t said about a place he has not set foot into since 1985 and it is ludicrous-perhaps insane- to imagine things haven’t changed since then.
The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah spent much of his life under house arrest in Jerusalem, for talking truth to power. We know more about the personal life and struggles of Jeremiah than any other Hebrew prophet. Jeremiah, which translates as “The Lord throws”-as in hurling, had few friends, was intensely introspective, self-critical, timid by nature but was always honest and open about his feelings.
Jeremiah never married and began prophesying in Judah from 604-586, a time of storm and stress when the doom of entire nations-including Judah itself-was being sealed.
Jeremiah had been the king’s friend and confident, but the prophet soon entered a dreary round of persecution and imprisonment, alternating with only brief periods of freedom and was labeled a traitor and agitator, for saying things such as:
“I cannot keep silent…Disaster follows disaster; the land lies in ruins…My people are fools; they do not know me.”-Jeremiah 4:19
In 2005, Vanunu told me:
“I really had no idea what I was doing by getting baptized a Christian, I just felt like I had to do it. It was my way to be a new being. It wasn’t until after my trial that I started to read the New Testament.
“While I was in prison I would read aloud for ½ hour twice a day. I would read the entire New Testament and begin it again when I finished the Book of Revelation. I did this for me as well as for my captors. Not so much the prison guards but the ones who watched me on camera 24 hours a day.
“Once I covered up the camera that spied on me and was punished for one month in solitary without any books or radio, no contact with anyone anywhere was allowed.
“The Shen Beet, you know like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA were watching me constantly. They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long.
“I chose to read them 1 Corinthians 13, instead:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.
“For the first five years I was in prison every day, twice a day I would loudly pray by reading Bible verses. I would also read the Anglican service from the Book of Common Prayer. I did it twice a day, every day for five years.
“I began to see I had become like a machine. I knew if I continued I would lose my mind. So after that I only prayed in silence. Although I knew I was driving them nuts with my loud praying, it was driving me nuts too.”
On my last day in Jerusalem in June 2005, I met Vanunu at the American Colony, and we walked as fast as any two New Yorkers’ up the hill to the Mount of Olives. When we reached the spot to view the site of the tombs of many Jews, Vanunu said, “Those are the Jews expecting to be resurrected first when the Messiah comes.”
I asked Vanunu:
“Have you heard of the USA craze of the Left Behind series of books which leave behind the gospel of peace and love. These books are bad theology and poor literature. Did you know that in America there are Christians who actually want Armageddon? They believe they will escape the nuclear holocaust because they are now the new chosen ones. They think they will be raptured, they think they will be lifted out of the world. They believe a theology of escapism and they ignore that the gospel is: ‘The peacemakers shall be called the children of God’ and that Jesus is The Prince of Peace.”
Vanunu replied, “The time has come for the USA to see the truth of Zionism. It began as a secular nationalist movement not a religious one. Then some Christians believed when Israel became a nation it was the beginning of the second coming. They are deluded if they believe peace will come through atomic weapons. Atomic weapons are holocaust weapons. Christians should be the first people against them…The Christians in America should be helping the Christians here. America needs to wake up to this fallacy that Jesus will come back by nuclear war. America needs to wake up that the Palestinian Christians here have no human rights. Aren’t Christians supposed to be concerned about other Christians? Aren’t Christians supposed to be concerned about all the poor and oppressed?”
I responded, “It is non-negotiable all that stuff Jesus said about doing for the least and the oppressed. It is non-negotiable for Christians that we must forgive our enemies and we must love those who hate us, for what ever we do or do not do, we do it unto God!
“Every time I went through a checkpoint, saw the wall or heard a story of oppression, I wondered how God can stand this situation. I can’t.”
At the summit of the Mount of Olives there is much pavement, but not many trees. I found one tree cradling a few stone steps and sat down while Vanunu wandered about. After about ten minutes, Vanunu reappeared and I immediately asked him, “How was it being crucified for telling the truth?”
“My human rights have been denied me because I am a Christian. When I was on trial I was treated just like a Palestinian; no human rights at all and cruel and unusual punishment, all because I told the truth. The government spread slander about me, that I was a homosexual, that I hated Jews, that I wanted fame and money. What I did was sacrifice my life for the truth. In prison I really began to feel like Jesus and Paul. When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, it was like me in Dimona exposing the Israelis’ dirty secrets. I felt like Paul being thrown in prison for speaking the truth.
“The only real way to worship is in loving one’s enemies. It was not easy to love my tormentors, it was only because I felt so much like Jesus crucified on the cross, and me crucified in prison, that I could do it. It was not ever easy. I have forgiven but not forgotten anything and I never will.
“In Israel, a life sentence is 25 years. Even murderers go free after 17. They imposed the same restrictions on me that Palestinians receive; no human rights at all. No phone, no visitors except family and only through an iron grill. No vacation, no holidays, no gifts. Even murderers get out for vacations! I was locked up for 18 years and still cannot go on vacation, I cannot leave and that is all I am asking, just to leave here.
“For 18 years in prison they even attempted to control my thoughts on paper. I would write exactly what I wanted and they would censor words like ‘kidnapped’ and ‘atomic bomb.’ They would show me how they chopped up my letters, but I continued to write exactly what I wanted. They held my body, but never my spirit or mind.
“The only way to peace is peace; the only way is non-violence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peace-full voice. When I became the spy for the world I did it all for the people of the world.
“If governments do not report the truth, if media does not report the truth, all we can do is follow our conscience. Daniel Ellsberg did, the woman from Enron did, and I did.
“The USA needs to wake up and see the truth that Israel is not a democracy unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMD’s. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians, right here in Israel.”
I told Vanunu, “In America we understand about inalienable rights. That means they are God given rights that governments cannot take away. The right to worship where and how we choose. When I read that you were not allowed to go the few miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 2004, to celebrate mass at the Church of the Nativity, I wondered, what kind of democracy is that?
“I cannot understand how a democracy can haul anyone into jail just because they wanted to go to a church in the next town.
“American democracy ensures her citizens the right to think and to speak out the truth as we see it.
“American democracy understands everyone has the right to a life, to liberty-which means freedom from captivity and any arbitrary controls.
“Last night I attended an Interfaith Peace Conference at Notre Dame Cathedral and I kept thinking about what President George W. Bush promised at his second inaugural and wondered if he had even one thought about Palestinians when he delivered it.”
‘There is no justice without freedom. There can be no human rights without liberty. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty we will stand with you.’-George W. Bush
Perhaps I am crazy to believe that all things will work for the good for those that love God and are called to his/her purpose and that every one of US was created for a purpose.
My comfort is in knowing that my conscience is clear that at least I did something.
And my hope, wish and prayer is that America will WAKE UP in 2010 and we all will do something to help FREE Vanunu, FREE Gaza and Palestine and THE WALL will fall!
PS: Just weeks after his FREEDOM OF SPEECH TRIAL began the whistle blower of Israel’s underground WMD Facility sent this message to Senator Clinton and USA Christians: