As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit the U.S. media circuit on Tuesday to regurgitate claims he laid out in his “bizarre” speech accusing Iran of violating the nuclear accord, journalists and non-proliferation advocates worked to call attention to the fact that there is only one nation in the Middle East that already possesses nuclear weapons but refuses to acknowledge them: Israel.
“I just want someone in a position of power in this country to call out Israel for its nuclear weapons,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, told Common Dreams in an email. “How can this hypocrisy continue, with Israel having hundreds of nuclear weapons, no inspections and no adherence to any nuclear treaty calling out Iran on nuclear weapons? It is because Israel is good and Iran is evil? Ask the people of Gaza about that one.”
A striking example of Israel’s hypocrisy and refusal to confirm what virtually the entire international community has known for decades came when Netanyahu was asked about his country’s nukes Tuesday morning by CNN‘s Chris Cuomo—a question that notably didn’t come up in the prime minister’s earlier softball interview on “Fox & Friends.”
“Does Israel have nuclear capabilities and nuclear weapons, yes or no?” Cuomo asked.
Netanyahu offered an evasive response, claiming “we’ve always been the first to say we wouldn’t introduce it so we haven’t introduced it.”
After Cuomo continued to press for a “yes or no answer,” Netanyahu said, “That’s as good an answer as you’re going to get.”
As The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald noted in response to the exchange between Cuomo and Netanyahu, the inconvenient fact that Israel continues to shroud its own nuclear stockpile in secrecy as it levels accusations against Iran—which, unlike Israel, allows inspectors to examine its nuclear facilities to ensure they’re being used for peaceful purposes—is “typically ignored” by America’s corporate media outlets.
Kudos to @ChrisCuomo for pressing Netanyahu on that little uncomfortable fact that is typically ignored: the only country in the Middle East with a proven, clandestine nuclear weapons stockpile is . . . Israel. And the rogue state refuses to join the NPT https://t.co/giuIE0Przz https://t.co/IJwFkuJ9E9
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 1, 2018
Netanyahu’s media appearances came just hours after the Trump administration was forced to retract a false statement claiming that Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.”
After journalists quickly noted that this assertion was false, the White House quietly changed “has” to “had” and said the inaccuracy was the result of a “clerical error.”
In a tweet on Monday responding to the Trump administration’s statement, Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione noted that it is Israel, not Iran, that has repeatedly attempted to hide its nuclear capacities.
May I just point out that #Israel had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it tried and failed to hide for years. They repeatedly and consistently lied to US officials when confronted with the evidence.
— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) May 1, 2018