The recent meeting of the NEC’s policy committee has agreed to back a campaign of support for Mordechai Vanunu, an honorary member of the NUJ, who served 18 years in prison for revealing Israel’s secret nuclear programme.
As I recently reported, he has been placed under house arrest pending criminal charges for allegedly breaching the terms of his 2004 release, which includes a ban on contacts with foreigners (including his woman-friend it seems!).
In 1986, Vanunu told his story to the Sunday Times and was tricked into travelling to Italy by a Mossad agent. There he was drugged and bundled off to Israel where he was charged with espionage and treason and found guilty.
During his time in prison, much of it in solitary, his cause was taken up the NUJ and Amnesty International (amongst many) and I was privileged to be on the delegation of supporters who welcomed him on his release from Ashkelon Prison in 2004.
Since then he has been harassed by the Israeli authorities, who will not let him leave the country. Mordechai remains unbowed, which the authorities hate and each time they arrest him they score another own goal by drawing attention to the fact that the country has nuclear weapons, a fact not lost on other powers in the region.
Last month Jeremy Corbyn MP has proposed an early day motion in the Commons to mobilise support and put pressure on the foreign office to raise the issue with the Israeli government (EDM 574). It now has 53 signatures. Mindy Ran our delegate to the Amnesty International UK trade union group has raised the matter at their recent meeting and has won their support (Amnesty made Mordechai a prisoner of conscious).
The policy committee (which reported to the NEC at its meeting on 4/5 March) reaffirmed the union’s support for Mordechai and is calling on the Israeli authorities to drop all charges and allow him to leave the country. Our views will be conveyed to the Israeli ambassador and to the foreign and commonwealth office. It was also agreed to draw the attention of his continuing plight to the IFJ and seek their support.
Meantime you can help by getting your MP to support the early day motion and by writing to David Miliband MP, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH and the Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, Embassy of Israel, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB, protesting at the action taken against Mordechai.