Monday, October 10, 2016

Peres was no saint in his earlier years

World leaders rushed to Jerusalem to pay their last respects to former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who died at the age of 93. American President Barack Obama eulogized Peres with the following soliloquy about his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate: “I would be the 10th U.S. President since John F. Kennedy to sit down with Shimon; the 10th to fall prey to his charms.”

In fact, for most of his time as an Israeli government official, Peres was not so much a charmer but a ruthless procurer of advanced weapons for Israel, first for the Haganah Zionist army in Palestine and then for its successor, the Israel Defense Force. Peres was also instrumental in Israel obtaining, by hook or by crook, material for nuclear weapons development. Peres, as the head of Israel’s military procurement office in the United States during the 1950s, was at the vanguard of Israel’s super-secret nuclear weapons program.

Contrary to what Obama said at Peres’s funeral, President Kennedy did not fall prey to Peres’s “charms” but considered both Peres and his mentor, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, to be hiding the true nature of Israel’s so-called “peaceful purposes” nuclear reactor at Dimona in the Negev Desert. Previously, President Dwight Eisenhower was not buying Israeli explanations about the role of the Dimona facility. In 1960, when Eisenhower asked the Israelis about the purpose of the Dimona facility, they lied to the U.S. president and claimed it was a textile factory. U.S. spy plane photographs of the facility told Eisenhower a much different story.

After Kennedy became president in January 1961, U.S.-Israeli relations went into a deep freeze over Israel’s and Peres’s aggressive operations to obtain nuclear weaponry. Kennedy refused to permit Ben Gurion to visit the White House as long as Israel was lying about its nuclear weapons goals. On May 18, 1963, Kennedy had enough and fired off a letter to Ben Gurion, which stated:

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