Israel’s Hypocrisy on a Nuclear Middle East

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/J Carrier

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/J Carrier]

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 1 2012 (IPS) – When world leaders packed their bags and headed home last week, there was one lingering memory of the General Assembly’s high-level debate: Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic presentation of a cartoonish nuclear red line, which hit the front pages of most mainstream newspapers in the United States.

The Israeli prime minister warned Iran against crossing that red line even though the Jewish state itself had crossed it when it went nuclear many moons ago.

As Mouin Rabbani, contributing editor to the Middle East Report, told IPS, “The real absurdity of Netanyahu lecturing the world about nuclear weapons was precisely that – an Israeli leader lecturing the world about the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.”

The fact of the matter is that not only is Israel the region’s sole nuclear power, and not only has it on previous occasions all but threatened to use these weapons of mass destruction, but it has since its establishment consistently and steadfastly rejected ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Rabbani said.

“It’s a bit like listening to (Hustler magazine publisher) Larry Flynt denouncing pornography – though to be fair to Flynt, it’s unlikely he will reach the levels of hypocrisy displayed by Netanyahu,” said Rabbani, a Middle East expert who has written extensively on the politics of the volatile region.

Still, most Middle East leaders, speaking during the high-level debate here, seem to have accepted Israel’s double standards on nuclear politics – and with hardly an aggressive response to Netanyahu’s address to the Assembly. Continue reading