The Worst-Kept Secret by Avner Cohen
Israel's Bargain with the Bomb

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Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age& mdash;it has created (with the tacit support of the United States) a special "bargain" with its bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that keeps its bomb invisible, unacknowledged, opaque. It will only say that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.

The bomb is Israel's collective ineffable& mdash;the nation's last taboo. This bargain has a name: in Hebrew, it is called amimut, or opacity. By adhering to the bargain, which was born in a secret deal between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, Israel creates a code of nuclear conduct that encompasses both governmental policy and societal behavior. The bargain lowers the salience of Israel's nuclear weapons, yet it also remains incompatible with the norms and values of liberal democracy. It relies on secrecy and opacity. It infringes on the public right to know and negates the notion of public accountability and oversight, among other offenses.

Author of the critically acclaimed Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen offers a bold and original study of this politically explosive subject. Along with a fair appraisal of the bargain's strategic merits, Cohen provides a critique of its antidemocratic faults. Arguing that the bargain has become increasingly anachronistic, he calls for a reform in line with domestic democratic values as well as current international nuclear norms. Most important, he believes the old methods will prove inadequate in dealing with a nuclear Iran. Cohen concludes with fresh perspectives on Iran, Israel, and the effort toward global disarmament.


About Avner Cohen

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Avner Cohen is a senior fellow at the Washington Office of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has published on subjects as varied as nuclear proliferation and nuclear history, political theory, skepticism, and Israeli history. He is the author of Israel and the Bomb and the coeditor of Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity and The Institution of Philosophy.
Published June 1, 2010 by Columbia University Press. 412 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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The New York Times

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Avner Cohen’s new book considers Israel’s policy of secrecy about its nuclear weapons program.

Oct 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel...

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonMon, 10/18/2010 - 08:45.

Oct 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel...

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