Opinion

Netanyahu Claims 'Iran Lied' About Its Nuclear Program, but Israel Has Been Lying for Decades

Shimon Peres made up the official disclaimer that ‘Israel won’t be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East,’ which was the fraud of the century

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018. REUTERS
\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

Let’s leave aside our discomfort at the sight of the prime minister’s Office Depot performance. That’s a matter of style and taste. But it’s impossible to ignore the new records Israel keeps setting, again and again, for lack of self-awareness, or one might say double standards and hypocrisy.

Israelis really and truly believe it’s shocking to discover how Iran brazenly lied to the world, just as they really and truly believe it’s terrible when dictatorships shoot live bullets at demonstrators, when tyrannical regimes imprison political opponents without trial, when apartheid states maintain two penal systems, when residents of dictatorships are kept in their own country as if in a cage, when people are persecuted for their religion or nationality, when societies close their doors to refugees, when countries scoff at international law. The nation of morality can’t remain indifferent to such shocking developments.

And indeed, it is periodically shocked, and sometimes even raises an outcry. Until it comes to itself.

When Benjamin Netanyahu proved with file folders that Iran lied about its nuclear program, not one person thought Israel was the last country on earth that should have had the nerve to complain about this. After all, how has Israel acted on this very same issue for decades? Iran’s nuclear archive doubtless looks like a neighborhood lending library compared to Israel’s nuclear archive.

But Israel doesn’t sign conventions, it doesn’t allow inspections and it lies. It mocks and winks – 60 years of continuous nuclear lies. In fact, it has never said a single true word about its nuclear program. It’s all for peaceful purposes, just as Iran claims its nuclear program is. The Dimona reactor was built for lifesaving PET/CT scans at Ichilov Hospital’s nuclear medicine department.

Israel is allowed to lie. Israel is a special case. “Israel won’t be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East,” Shimon Peres said. He was proud of making up this claim, which was the fraud of the century. What is Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity if not a series of refusals to tell the truth?

Every time someone tries to expose Israel’s nuclear lies, whether in Israel or overseas, he’s denounced as an enemy and a traitor. Only Iran’s lies must be exposed. Israeli nuclear scientists win the Israel Defense Prize.

Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, according to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is a “dangerous mind” and a “Dr. Strangelove,” “a sought-after lecturer by day and a secret agent by night,” “the chairman of the department of death.” And what about his Israeli counterparts? Are they Janusz Korczak? Or Mother Teresa? The admired Prof. Ernst David Bergmann didn’t lecture by day and work as a secret agent by night? Yuval Neeman wasn’t Dr. Strangelove? And Prof. Israel Dostrovsky didn’t work for departments of death? Doubtless they were all involved in preserving rare species of endangered wildflowers.

What’s the difference between them and the terrible Dr. Fakhrizadeh, whom Israel will undoubtedly assassinate someday? The difference is huge. It’s okay for us to do it. After all, we’re a special case. We’re just defending ourselves. We’re in danger of being destroyed. We’re always in danger of being destroyed, by Tehran of course, but also by kites from Gaza (which is why it’s permissible for us to execute the kite-flyers).

But perhaps the regime in Tehran also feels that it’s in danger of being destroyed? Perhaps it, too, knows that regimes with nuclear weapons are regimes with a life insurance policy?

Can Israel, a fairly violent and aggressive country – in fact, one of the most violent and aggressive in the world today – really convince anyone that nuclear weapons are safe in its hands? In the hands of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avidgor Lieberman on a bad day? In the hands of their successors?

We need to fight Iran’s nuclear program insofar as possible, even though it’s apparently less dangerous than its hysterical depiction here. But we should also periodically examine the hump on our own back.

Netanyahu tried to shock the world by proving that Iran lied. But if the world had been shocked by Tehran’s lies, it would have had to be shocked by Jerusalem’s lies as well. For when it comes to nuclear lies, there’s no difference between them. In fact, Israel’s lie is bigger.