Home » commentary » Mordechai Vanunu Disparaged by Writer at Algemeiner

Mordechai Vanunu Disparaged by Writer at Algemeiner


By Richard Edmondson

Mordechai Vanunu, the whistle blower who exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program, is regarded as a hero by much of the world. Recently, however, Vanunu was somewhat crudely disparaged in an article published at the Jewish newspaper, The Algemeiner.

In a commentary published October 10, writer Josephine Bacon calls Vanunu “a pathetic little shrimp of a man” and a “traitor” to Israel, in a piece in which she takes the BBC to task for its airing of an interview with Peter Hounam.

Hounam is the Sunday Times reporter who broke Vanunu’s story back in 1986. He was interviewed by the BBC program ‘Witness’ in a segment which aired October 4. Bacon believes the program was unfair to Israel and that the BBC’s motive in airing it was to “tar” the Jewish state and Iran “with the same nuclear brush.” She says she listened to it “with apprehension, having a horrible suspicion as to why they were dragging it up now.”


Bacon in fact was so upset she felt prompted to write a letter to the BBC, which she quotes in full. Here is an excerpt:

“Hounam says he first met Vanunu in Sidney, Australia, but does not explain what either of them were doing there. There was no mention of John Knight, the Australian vicar who befriended Vanunu, delivered him to Hounam and converted him to Christianity. What was Vanunu’s real motive? Nothing to do with ‘Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.’ Vanunu is a pathetic little shrimp of a man who had failed all his exams and whoever hired him for a job in Dimona must have been insane – or bribed by someone, and he, the hirer, is the real villain of the piece.”

Vanunu’s conversion to Christianity is also mentioned earlier in the letter—almost as if Bacon has as much of an ax to grind over his religious faith as with his having made public Israel’s nuclear secrets. Does the thought of Jews converting to Christianity rankle Bacon, and is that perhaps why she detests Vanunu so much?

Bacon also quotes the BBC’s reply, in which the writer, Dejan Calovski, of Audience Relations, informs her that Hounam was interviewed because “Vanunu’s revelations, and the events surrounding them, are a part of contemporary history—and that’s the remit of the programme. Another reason the topic was explored is that people are talking about Iran’s (and Israel’s) nuclear capabilities at the moment and these events seems (sic) to resonate with the present debate.”

Bacon’s displeasure with the BBC is ironic given the severe criticism the British broadcaster has come under recently for its lopsided, pro-Israel coverage of the Palestine-Israeli conflict (see here, here, here, here, and here). Back in August it even censored, from its one of its BBC Proms programs, a comment by Nigel Kennedy in which the famed violinist made a passing reference to Israeli “apartheid.” So it’s perhaps a bit surprising that an ardent Israel supporter would take bilious aim at such a devoted friend of the Jewish state, but I guess some people just like having something to complain about.

Bacon closes her piece by commenting that Vanunu “was released from prison on several conditions, which he constantly breaks,” and bemoaning the “blind eye” turned upon these alleged violations by Israeli authorities. What she fails to mention is that Vanunu in reality is still a prisoner of Israel. After serving 18 years in an Israeli prison, including more than 11 in solitary confinement, the nuclear whistle blower was finally released in 2004. Since then he has repeatedly sought to leave the Jewish state, only to have his requests denied. They refuse to allow him to leave.

3 thoughts on “Mordechai Vanunu Disparaged by Writer at Algemeiner

  1. THANK YOU Richard and I must add that Ms. Bacon does NOT even publish ALL comments as I have made 2 and both remain “under moderation”
    eileen fleming
    October 10, 2013 8:13 pm

    This American writer met Vanunu in 2005, during my first of 7 trips to both sides of The Wall.

    I became a reporter after and because Vanunu told me:

    “Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’

    “Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

    “The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there, almost twenty years ago. Back then, the Dimona descended seven floors underground.

    “In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.

    “When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

    “Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.”

    Please catch up on Vanunu’s struggle for the right to leave “the only democracy in the Middle East” at the Cause dedicated to help free him:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    eileen fleming
    October 22, 2013 9:34 pm

    Dear Ms. Bacon,

    Vanunu’s legend will continue to grow the longer Israel denies him the RIGHT to leave “the only democracy in the Middle East” and proof positive is the Cause dedicated to help FREE Vanunu is over 21,000+ members strong despite the fact that Vanunu deactivated his Facebook/Cause account in 2012—and Vanunu Mordechai remains listed as a leader:

    Your thread states “7 Comments” but only 4 show up and mine from October 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm is still “awaiting moderation”—will you post it?
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  2. Hi Eileen! Truth speakers are often attacked and excoriated by small-minded people, sad to say. Vanunu is a man who had the courage to stand up and speak the truth. I wonder how much truth Ms. Bacon has uttered in her years as a “journalist.” Her silly article would suggest the answer might be very little.

  3. Richard, I read this post after the current Vengeance upon Vanunu article. I agree that this woman is crazy and her scatterbrained ideas are not the work of a journalist. This kind of infantile work is usually the product of a halfwitted hasbarat. A volunteer who is given permission to write anything promoting Israel no matter how inane. I wonder how she got an actual paying job? And why would she go by the name of Bacon? That’s not right for a Jew.

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