Shimon Peres was central to the creation of Israel’s nuclear weapon program, the development of the Apartheid regime’s nuclear weapon program in South Africa and was responsible for recasting Iran as a nuclear bogeyman and archenemy of the Western world. None of these three key moments will be mentioned as the press remembers Shimon Peres, but they all played important roles in the story of the nuclear threat faced by the world.
As a military and political person, Shimon Peres did it all from the beginning of the state of Israel. Peres fought for the new born state of Israel, held many and varied political offices during the course of Israel’s history, including Prime Minister and President, played a key role in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons and encouraged and augmented Israel’s settlement project in Jerusalem and the West Bank. As important was Peres’s role in portraying Israel as a Jewish and democratic state around the world. From the beginning, Palestinians knew a different Israel and, with time, more and more Jews do, too. Though Peres will be widely celebrated in the upper echelons of American and European power in the coming days, Peres will be remembered for enabling a narrative of Jewish innocence and redemption that was, also, something much more sinister from the beginning.