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Special privileges for one nation — and one nation alone — on the face of the entire planet . . .

Israel, everyone agrees, is an established nuclear weapon state. It was the sixth nation in the world — and the first in the Middle East — to develop and acquire nuclear weapons. Indeed, while exact figures are speculative, Israel’s nuclear forces are believed to be (in qualitative terms at least) more like those of France and the United Kingdom than India’s and Pakistan’s.
Yet Israel’s code of conduct and discourse in the nuclear field differs distinctly from the other established nuclear weapon states. Unlike the seven acknowledged nuclear nations — the five de jure nuclear weapon states under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China) and the two de facto nuclear weapon states outside the NPT (India and Pakistan) — Israel has never advertised or even admitted its nuclear status. . .
Nobody — in or out of Israel — cares to ask Israeli leaders uncomfortable questions about the nation’s nuclear status. . . .In Washington, and subsequently in other Western capitals, the Israeli bomb has become a most sensitive issue, almost untouchable . . . under which the United States treats Israel as a special (and unique) nuclear case. Under this policy, the United States has exercised its diplomatic influence and power to ignore and shield the Israeli case. Israel is treated as an exception, somehow exempt from the nonproliferation regime that applies to everyone else.
Friends and foes of Israel (and of the United States) have to reckon with this aura of exceptionalism. For friends it is a matter of political embarrassment; for foes it highlights the double standard and inequality of America’s unevenhanded approach to nonproliferation.


  —Israeli historian Avner Cohen
“The Last Taboo: Israel’s Bomb Revisited”
Current History
- April 2005


The Golem
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