A Foolish LAT Op-Ed Page Article Suggesting Israel Give Up Nuclear Weapons
So I cannot view with equanimity an article by George Bisharat Friday on the Op Ed Page of the Los Angeles Times suggesting U.S. pressure on Israel to give up such weapons, supposedly in the interest of Middle East peace.
Bisharat should also have been more completely identified than simply as "a professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and (a man who) writes frequently on law and politics in the Middle East."
The fact is that on the Internet Bisharat identifies himself as a Palestinian whose grandparents lost their homes in Jerusalem in the 1948 war. He has repeatedly sought a "right of return" of Arabs to Israeli territory and advocated other action that would have the effect of destroying Israel.
Nick Goldberg, the editor of the L.A. Times Op Ed Page, once served as a correspondent in the Holy Land. While assuming the guise of a neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict, there is more than a tinge of pro-Palestinian attitudes in his views of this conflict.
Normally, in recent weeks, Goldberg has been willing to go along with an overly bland Op Ed Page in the L.A. Times as apparently wanted by the Tribune Co. owners of the newspaper and the publisher they sent out from Chicago, Jeff Johnson, to direct the editorial page. Under Johnson and editorial pages editor Andres Martinez, the editorial pages, including Goldberg's operation, have been dumbed down considerably and three Pulitzer Prize winners formerly on the staff have either been moved elsewhere in the paper or laid off. A leftwing columnist, Robert Scheer, whose presence on the Op Ed Page had long been supported by Goldberg, was terminated (as is being, it should be acknowledged, a rightwing cartoonist, Michael Ramirez).
Under all these circumstances, the least we can expect is that if a provocative article like Mr. Bisharat's is to be run on the Op Ed Page, the author be precisely identified so all can see how his ideas may be derived.
It may appear to be a seductive idea that Israel give up its nuclear weapons.
But this would create more, not less, danger in the Middle East at a time when the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been making vicious anti-Israeli statements, suggesting that Israel "be wiped off the map," denying that the Holocaust occurred in World War II and suggesting that Jews in Israel be moved back to Germany or Austria. Even Saudi Arabia and many Iranians have objected to Ahmadinejad's statements.
If Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons and the Israelis were to give them up, one can only imagine what this thuggish leader might do. I certainly would not want to rely on Mr. Bisharat's suggestions that all would be well.
No, under the present circumstances, Israel, which has pledged it would never be the ones to start using nuclear weapons, must keep them as a deterrent, just as the United States should.
And it is not enough to say that Israel can rely on the United States to support it. In 1967, when Nasser blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, sent UN peacekeepers packing, and put pressure on Israel, the U.S. waffled in its response. It took Israel's courageous attack in the Six-Day War to save Israel from a possible deadly assault. Past lessons such as this one show that Israel cannot afford to allow its security to become hostage to outside guarantees.