The Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon is a national hero in Israel and is being honored in America as the same. But did his past accomplishments qualify him as a hero or something else? In the eyes of many his actions would be qualified as terrorism if it were conducted by any other organization.
In 1981 the State of Israel dispatched its jets to attack and destroy a nuclear reactor power plant in Iraq and in the process of destroying Iraq’s nuclear power plant the Israelis killed a French scientist and 2 other innocent civilians. The many knee-jerk supporters of Israel have regarded this attack as a righteous move by the wise and clever Israelis to prevent Iraq from developing a nuclear weapon. The fact is, however, that Iraq’s nuclear reactor was in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iraq was a charter signatory, and which Israel had never signed. Dr. Sigvard Eklund, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated to the U.N. Security Council on 19 June 1981 that the Israelis had acted on the basis of faulty intelligence and really had no justification at all for what they had done. Dr. Eklund goes on and says “In fulfilling its responsibilities the Agency has inspected the Iraqi reactors and has not found evidence of any activity not in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
The President of the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Porfirio Muéoz Ledo criticized the action and attitude of Israel in no uncertain terms: “The reasons on which the Government of Israel bases its contention are as unacceptable as the act of aggression it committed. It is inadmissible to invoke the right to self-defense when no armed attack has taken place. The concept of preventive war, which for many years served as justification for the abuses of powerful States, since it left it to their discretion to define what constituted a threat to them, was definitively abolished by the Charter of the United Nations.
Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear installations is not an isolated act; it should be seen as the climax of escalating violations of international law. The background to it has already been described both by the General Assembly and the Security Council. It includes annexation of territory by conquest, persistence in an illegal occupation, the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and frequent acts of aggression and harassment against neighboring States. Even the United States joined in condemning Israel’s attack on the Osirak nuclear facility, although apologetically so, but the Israelis dismissed the condemnation and wailed about always being persecuted by the U.N., all the while continuing their own development of nuclear weapons.
Although the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency could say with certainty that the Iraqis were not diverting uranium or producing plutonium at Osirak as the Israelis had claimed, and although the United Nations Security Council had passed a resolution condemning Israel’s action, the Israeli misrepresentation has been kept alive in the minds of the American people.
But the attack on Iraq’s nuclear power plant was not the only accomplishment that qualifies Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon as a national hero in the eyes of Israelis and now in the eyes of most Americans. In addition to the unprovoked attack on Iraq’s nuclear power plant the Jewish “hero” fought in the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 where the Israeli air force was unopposed over Beirut’s skies. Ramon and his fellow heroes dropped wave after wave of napalm and cluster bombs on schools, hospitals and apartment buildings, culminating in the around-the-clock terror-bombing of downtown Beirut in August, 1982. The Israelis killed an estimated 20,000 civilians in Lebanon.
The most outrageous double standard in the world today is the different ways by which Israeli terrorism and other terrorism is judged in the court of “public opinion,” which really means the court of the controlled media. Any other nation committing such aggression would be labeled an “axis of evil” and any other individual leading an attack on another country’s nuclear power plant and dropping bombs in the middle of heavily populated cities, unopposed, would be labeled a war criminal or terrorist. Instead, we honor today the death of an astronaut, not because of what he did but for what we are told was honorable and right. Israel’s most crucial allies include the mass media of the United States. Together with top officials in Washington, news outlets keep reinforcing the assumption that the Israeli government and it’s supposedly “heroes” can do little wrong. Think carefully and decide for yourselves how much longer you will accept this double standard.
James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington DC. He served as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 and also served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969.