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Israel rejects U.S. nuclear non-proliferation initiative

Israeli exceptionalism continues. Iran is not allowed to go nuclear but it is perfectly okay for Israel to remain nuclear: that’s the message Israel sends the world as it opposes a U.S.-backed conference about a nuclear-free Middle East.

Here’s what I wrote in March about the issue in The New York Times’ Room for Debate:

Might Israel attend the meeting about a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East in Finland? Certainly. Just like it has “participated” in the peace process — with no real intention of making concessions. In both cases, there are no consequences for Israel sticking to its agenda. So why would Israel budge?

Israel won’t sign a nonproliferation treaty, because that would mean giving up its military edge in the Middle East.

Israel won’t sign a nonproliferation treaty, because that would mean giving up its military edge in the Middle East. Obama’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee suggests that the U.S. will ensure that Israel remains the regional powerhouse.

This question has arisen before, in 2010, when Netanyahu and Obama were already in office. The U.S. supported the initiative; Israel, of course, rejected it.

What’s changed since then? Little to nothing. If anything, Israel has only become more defiant. Last year, Obama called for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on 1967 borders. But 2011 saw Israel increase settlements in the West Bank.

For me, where it gets really interesting is that the U.S. initially wanted Israel to sign the nonproliferation treaty, back in the late 1960s, and Israel wouldn’t. This is a reminder that the six decades of friendship Obama spoke of [in March] weren’t always so friendly. Some argue that Israel’s refusal to sign this treaty may have given Iran the incentive to go nuclear. It’s similar, perhaps, to how Israel had a hand in creating Hamas. Israel wanted a rival to Fatah; instead, it got, as The Wall Street Journal says, “unintended and often perilous consequences.”

Speaking of Israel creating its own bogeyman, a pre-emptive strike on Iran might actually push Iran to accelerate its nuclear program, as it has been argued was the case with Israel’s 1981 strike on Iraq — creating exactly the scenario Israeli leaders fear the most.

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    1. Richard Witty

      Acceptance and commitment to non-aggression is the horse.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jack

      Just laughable by Israel.
      Just laughable by the US (and its european allies) that accept this constant rejection and therefore the doomed failure of proliferation.

      Just another stance by Israel that inevitable will add another boost to nuclear race in the middle east.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      Hopefully, in Obama’s second term in office, Israel will have much less say about what America will do and what it won’t do. For example, Obama will offer the NPT to Israel, Israel will reject it out of hand. Obama: “You’re on your own, I got better things to do with my time.” Then, of course, Israel will grovel back on all fours like it always does when its back is against the wall. I will personally take much satisfaction from seeing Netanyahu grovel at Obama’s feet like a little puppy.

      Reply to Comment
      • justin

        really hope Obama does something about Israeli aggression in his 2nd term… we’ll see..

        Reply to Comment
        • Jack

          …it will be the opposite, if you thought Obama has been nice to Israel under his 1s term, just wait until the second.

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Don’t underestimate Obama’s hatred for Netanyahu, which looks like has probably reached its zenith in this election season. Obama would extract much pleasure from the humiliation of this man, who, above all else, values his power and prestige. Obama v2 will cut him down a few notches.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jack

            I wished that you were right but I dont agree. There might be some disarguments between US and Israel but the relations are there and will rebound after the election and will grew stronger.

            Also its not up to Obama to decide in what support or not Israel will get from the US, politicians in the US are very pro-israel and wont let Israel down on middle east topics.
            I would say US have already scrapped the Israel/Palestine talks, it wont be renewed anytime soon, and the path on war with Iran is already there, the question is when its going to happen.

            Reply to Comment
      • Wwindeb

        From your lips etc.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Laurent Szyster

      What word in “peace first, disarmement second” don’t you understand ?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Weindeb

      I am appalled that we even listen to Israel bloviating about those horrible Iranians when they, the Israelis, are a known nuclear power (I’ve heard they have up to 200 nuclear warheads), and still refuse NPT participation. They are hypocrites of the first waters and we are utter fools for going along with them and enabling them instead of treating tham as the dangerous pariah nation they stubbornly remain in contravention of international law.

      Reply to Comment