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An Israeli anti-nuclear activist won the Nobel, and no one is talking about it via +972

Sharon Dolev won the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month for her work on nuclear disarmament. Despite the media blackout in Israel, and the reluctance to even touch the subject, she remains steadfast in her belief that a regional nuclear pact is on its way.

The Israeli media all but ignored the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which took place in Oslo in early Decebmer. This was especially strange considering the fact that one of the recipients is an Israeli, and the newspapers here never miss an opportunity to gush whenever a Jewish person wins the award. The silence may be a result of the fact that one of winners, Sharon Dolev, was part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel for efforts in highlighting the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as working on a treaty to ban them.

I spoke to Dolev, the Israeli prize winner who established the The Israeli Disarmament movement, and one of the bravest and most determined activists I know, who for years have worked alongside a small group of other dedicated activists on an issue that Israel prefers to remain silent on (since this interview was published, three more Israeli media outlets reached out to Dolev for interviews).

Let’s talk about the media blackout. When it was announced that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons had won the prize, the media did not mention the Israeli Disarmament movement, even though a Jewish Israeli was among the prize winners. How is this possible?

“Let’s take a step back to before the announcement. If I were speaking in the United Nations about human rights violations in the occupied territories, I would have been on the front page of the newspapers, and all the ministers would be attacking me. But here I am, speaking to the UN General Assembly about the Israeli nuclear program and the ways to disarm it, and no one is criticizing me — no one is calling me a traitor for daring to speak about the issue. The ambiguousness works in all directions. It has always been about ignoring us.”

Why does this happen?

“Self-censorship. The fear of speaking about something they do not understand. Perhaps some feel that this is one step too far. That it is undeserving. But at a certain point, and perhaps winning the prize will help, we will need to come to grips with the fact that something is happening here — that this is a win for civil society.

“But it is legal to speak in Israel about its nuclear program. Our nuclear program threatens us on a daily basis because we do not oversee it, neither its facilities nor the program itself. It is a threat because other countries view it as a nuclear threat. We are living in a false sense of security. That is why every time we choose not to talk about it, we are committing a crime. The discourse in the rest of the world is far different. I invite organizations and activists to speak with us. At least know what is happening. And if this prize gives me access or a possibility to speak to civil society organizations in Israel — then it was worth it.”

[…]

“The impetus for the treaty is two-fold. On the one hand, we understand that a nuclear-armed country will not join the conversation on disarmament if it does not have a safe environment to do so. For instance, India will not disarm if Pakistan and China do not also disarm. It is clear that Israel needs a regional solution — and there is a way to do it. Official Israel claims that it wants one. The Arab League says the same. And everyone argues that it is impossible. The treaty tries to provide a solution. Additionally, it tries to show that those same countries that claim it is impossible are not interested in a solution. The only thing lacking is good will.

“Israel is not the only country that does not want a solution. It is very easy for Arab countries to constantly claim that Israel is the one that does not ant progress, even as they do not allow Israel to do so by demanding impossible preconditions, while rejecting Israeli conditions. The treaty shows how it is possible to establish a regional body with an oversight system that can exist between countries that do not speak to one another, and how this could benefit the world.

“We will establish a nuclear free zone will in the Middle East, I’m telling you. I do not know how long it will take, but it will happen.”

Read more at An Israeli anti-nuclear activist won the Nobel, and no one is talking about it

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