“I was wrong: Israel should have given up on nuclear weapons”
A former US diplomat and a former Israeli nuclear scientist have accused Israel of withholding information about its nuclear weapons program during the Six-Day War, and said the country should have surrendered its arsenal.
The former diplomat, Benjamin Freedman, told the Times of Israel on Tuesday that Israel’s intelligence was wrong when it said in the 1950s that it would be a decade before it would have a weapon.
“They were wrong.
They were wrong, in my view,” he said.
“We were never going to have a nuclear weapon.
We were never talking about a nuclear bomb.
We never said we would have them in the Middle East.”
Mr Freedman was the US special representative to Israel from 2012 until he resigned in February 2018.
He told the newspaper he believed the US should have abandoned its nuclear program in the late 1970s, after the Yom Kippur War.
Israel had no nuclear weapons at the time.
Israel lost the Six Day War and suffered an international humiliation.
It has never made public any details about its arsenal, but Mr Freedmans said that the government’s secret cabinet briefing paper had warned that if Israel did not have a stockpile, it would not be able to defend itself from an Iranian attack, and that this would be an existential threat to Israel.
Israel is currently negotiating a peace deal with the Palestinians, a deal which has been criticised by Washington.
The US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told an Israeli newspaper in November that the country was “the only democracy in the region that did not possess nuclear weapons”.
Mr Freedson, who is the president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said the current US administration has “lost its way” and the US had lost its moral authority over Israel, and he had “a very real and very deep fear” of Israel’s leadership.
“The Israeli government, if they are honest, is not willing to accept responsibility for its own mistakes, and has not yet learned that the only reason we have nuclear weapons is because of our own intelligence failures and its own arrogance and lack of responsibility,” he told the Israeli newspaper.
The former senior diplomat added that the US needs to “rethink its approach” to Israel because the country “has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust”. “
It is a serious failure, it is a moral failure, and it is the failure of the leadership of the United States, the US leadership, that has allowed the Israeli government to maintain its security and continue to do so.”
The former senior diplomat added that the US needs to “rethink its approach” to Israel because the country “has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust”.
“They do not know that it was the Israelis who turned their backs on the Holocaust and the Jewish people and the state of Israel and that is why they are so insecure,” he added.
The paper he quoted had warned the US of the threat Iran posed, and warned that Israel could be “destroyed”.
Mr Shapiro said the US was “in a dangerous situation” and would not know “how to get out”.
He said Mr Freedmen’s comments would be welcomed by Israel’s right-wing government, and added that it “would be a pity if Israel was the last one to feel ashamed of its own failures”.