Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Mordechai Is My Brother

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Mordechai Is My Brother

Article excerpt

MORDECHAI IS MY BROTHER

Political analyst and activist Daniel Ellsberg gave the keynote address at the Sept. 26 conference of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu. The conference, held in St. Aloysius Church in Washington, DC, kicked off three days of speeches, demonstrations, lobbying and a vigil for Israel's nuclear whistle-blower. People and organizations around the world have lobbied for Vanunu's release, including Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the Federation of American Scientists, the Jewish and Episcopal peace fellowships, former President Jimmy Carter and 36 members of Congress.

Among the approximately 80 participants in the evening's activities was long-time activist Louise Franklin-Ramirez, who celebrated her 95th birthday on Sept. 28. Ellsberg affectionately recognized her when he took the podium, recalling that Ramirez had inspired him to civil disobedience when he witnessed her arrest during a demonstration at the Capitol.

Preceding Ellsberg's talk, conference participants heard a wide range of people speak in support of Vanunu, from Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, archbishop of the diocese of Detroit, Michigan, to Rabbi Phillip J. Bentley, honorary president of the Jewish Peace Fellowship. Other speakers included Mordechai's adoptive parents, Mary and Nicholas Eoloff, executive secretary of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Mary Miller, and Jonah House co-founder Elizabeth McAlister. Jewish peace activist Ken Giles, former musician with Bright Morning Star, led a sing-along of familiar civil rights melodies in the evening.

A former technician at the Dimona nuclear "research center," Vanunu was kidnapped and brought to Israel in 1986, after disclosing Israel's nuclear weapons program to the London Sunday Times. He spent the first 11 and a half years of his 18-year sentence in solitary confinement. Israeli authorities claim Vanunu's release would threaten the security of the state. However, Livermore laboratory's expert nuclear weapons designer Ray E. Kidder conducted a four-month study of the case, and certified in an affidavit to the Israeli judiciary that he is "prepared to challenge any official assertion that Mr. …

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