Any excuse…

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who was awarded the prize in 1976 for her Northern Ireland peace campaign, decided to compare Israel’s presumed nuclear stores to Nazi gas chambers:

“When I think about nuclear weapons, I’ve been to Auschwitz concentration camp… Nuclear weapons are only gas chambers perfected… and for a people who know what gas chambers are, how can you even think of building perfect gas chambers?”

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I know that people love to compare Israel to the Nazis– and as much as it strikes me as immoral and unjustified to begin to associate Israel’s self-defense measures vis a vis the Palestinians with Nazi mass extermination of the Jews, at least there is some basic (if misappropriated) correlation when you are talking about the subjugation of peoples, etc.

But, I mean, I don’t even SEE the analogy here!!

Israel’s nuclear weapons are clearly intended for self-defense and deterrent purposes with respect to hostile nation-states– not the mass extermination of any ethnic or other self-defined group (including the Palestinians). Furthermore, they’ve never been used at all. So what’s the connection? If you want to argue for disarmament, fine, but you’re going to need to present a logical argument!

Seems to me that this lady was looking for any excuse to compare Israel to the Nazis. She was at a press conference with Vanunu, and made up whatever she could. B’tachlis, this is another example of a so-called peace worker helping to thwart a realistic peace settlement in the Middle East by trying to placate Arab nations at Israel’s expense (I’m reminded of Nelson Mandela, Ghandi’s grandson and Jimmy Carter). I don’t hear her exactly calling for Syria to get rid of its Sarin and VX supply– so this is transparent, stupid and grotesque. Really.

23 thoughts on “Any excuse…

  1. Not really . . . being against Israel’s nuclear armament is ok, as it is ok to be against ANY country’s nuclear arms.
    But agree with Ronen; the connection between the gas chambers and the nuclear weapons has no basis. Why make such a comparison?

  2. LOL alexbmn, right on the money, I hope this is an example of editorials to come one JEw SChool, leaves less for me to type in the counterpoint

  3. i don’t get why people like this are considered to be “peace” activists. if they had it there way the result would not be peace.

  4. Really? You’re not going to come to the defense of Mandela or Carter? You’re going to say it’s OK for Israel to have nukes? Maybe Asaf is turning a corner and realizing that Israel has a legitimate right to self defense.
    Now having said that, this is not merely a “stupid” remark (though I did say that too in the original post). I really think that it was malicious. But I guess that’s me.

  5. Ronen, i dont know what Mandela and Carter said.
    but just because i dont go out of my way to defend stupid remakrs, doesnt mean I changed my whole political perspective 🙂
    1. I believe israel’s nuclear project should be stopped. is this likely? not really.
    2. any country has a right to defend itself. we already discussed this. unlike you, i believe imposed military regimes on populations in order to achieve such a supposed goal is not a legitimate way.

  6. Do you think all nations’ nuclear projects should be stopped? Do you think that Israel’s nuclear project has anything at all to do with the occupation?

  7. israel’s nuclear project has nothing to do with the occupation. it may have even started the program before 1967, i dont remember.
    i think there existence of a world wide treaty working to reduce nuclear proliferation, US included. will this really happen? who knows.

  8. If you’re against nuc-proliferation woldwide, then I guess that’s legit. I just hope you don’t think Israel should get rid of its stockpiles while other countries maintain there own.

  9. no i dont.
    now let me ask you – do you believe israel has a right for nuclear projects while the arab countries in the middle east dont?

  10. “now let me ask you – do you believe israel has a right for nuclear projects while the arab countries in the middle east dont?”
    Well, you didn’t ask me, but what do you mean by “right”? Is this a “right” under international law, a “right” determined under treaty, or a moral “right”?
    Do you imagine for a moment that any kind of “rights” determine which countries have nukes? It’s like speaking of a “right” to win or lose a war – no such thing. Every country tries to win its wars; and every country that wants nukes tries to get them, or decides it’s not worth it.
    If we’re speaking morally, what would the argument be for allowing any Arab country to get nukes? Some notion of equality? Wouldn’t this be easily outweighed by considering the track records of any Arab country, such country’s stability, the degree to which its government represents the people and not some ruling clique, the rationality and morality of such ruling clique, the country’s ability to produce and store such weapons safely, and to make sure the weapons are not stolen, and above all, what the likely intentions of those desiring nukes are?

  11. J, you have a very good point.
    Countries do not have ‘rights’.
    so lets me put the question in a different way – ronen, do you support israeli nuclear proliferation?
    I am really against it. I think its a bad idea and its in the interest of every sane person to promote anti-nuclear bans and treaties.

  12. Asaf– J is right about your first question. It goes to realpolitik– it is in Israel’s interest that the Arab states not develop nukes. So do they have the right? I mean, sure. Do I want them to succeed? No.
    As far as Israel’s own stores– if there were no nukes anywhere, then yes I’d support Israel ridding itself of them too. That would also be contingent on the Arab states getting rid of their own WMDs. Let me just say that I’m a lot more comfortable with Israel having nukes than I am with Pakistan or Iran or even the Ukraine having Nukes, because I think Israel’s weapons won’t be stolen or otherwise end up in the wrong hands.

  13. Hadag,
    I especially loved this:
    “I am not making a comparison with the Nazis, because our star is orange, not yellow,” he said.

  14. Actually, Ronen, you’re wrong; the Arab states don’t have the right to nuclear weapons. They voluntarily gave up that right when they signed the NPT. I agree with the rest of what you said..

  15. Eyal– good point that I wasn’t considering. However, treaties are very breakable and are only as good as the countries’ commitment to uphold them. Considering that the Arab states aren’t exactly democratic. it’s certainly possible that a successive regime will give the NPT the proverbial finger. Hell, democracies do it too.

  16. I have to take issue with both Asaf and Ronen (though I’m relieved that Asaf is against Israeli unilateral disarmament).
    Look, most anyone would agree that the world would be better off if the laws of physics didn’t allow nuclear weapons to be created (although, to date, nukes have probably, on a net basis, saved lives by ending WWII and by deterring other potential conflicts). But this is not the world we live in. Even if somehow every existing nuclear weapon on earth vanished, the knowledge of how to build them would remain. So very little would be gained from the vanishing. (And even if the knowledge of how to build nukes were to disappear, that knowledge could be recovered – and if this happened, how do we know the first country or entity to recover the knowledge would be as benign as the USA in 1945?)
    So, wishing away the nukes is pointless at best. At worst, the bans and treaties favored by Asaf would weaken the more reliable and rational holders of the weapons and do next to nothing to stop the world’s aggressors (such as North Korea) and unstable basket cases (such as Pakistan).
    I would say the interests of every sane person are best served by the reliable and rational countries, led by the USA, holding on to their stockpiles, doing everything possible to prevent the unreliable, irrational and evil from obtaining such weapons (treaties if possible; but, as Ronen says, these are mostly pointless, so more likely offering trade advantages, threatening trade embargos, and even, if all else fails, war), managing as best we can the aggressive nuclear powers (North Korea and China), and working with Russia, Pakistan and India to secure their stockpiles and fissionable materials.
    Ronen says “As far as Israel’s own stores– if there were no nukes anywhere, then yes I’d support Israel ridding itself of them too. ”
    Why? Israel faces, at some point down the line, a terrifying imbalance in conventional forces. Why give up the weapons that can counter this?

  17. J, my comments with which you are disagreeing are so hypothetical and completely improbable that to debate them is a little silly. My point was that in an ideal world, no country would have nukes or wmd’s and we’d all kiss and hug and watch the flowers grow.
    That ain’t happening, so I’d like Israel to hang on to its stockpiles. It’s a necessary deterrent, at the least.
    I forgot to say, that a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs should be a prerequisite to any disarmament initiative, so conventional weapons would not pose the same threat. (But yes, treaties are meaningless… so let’s keep the nukes)

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