The Jonathan Pollard Issue

United States is Israel’s best ally. That remains to be true, even if the current US administration does a poor job of presenting it, even if former presidents make ludicrious (sometimes racial) allegations. It’s an alliance, that despite what some may think, benefits both parties (for instance, did you know that many American soldiers, on their way to Afganistan, sometimes take training from Israeli soldiers, since the Israeli army has been facing combat in urban territory for decades, which is similiar to the challanges facing US and NATO forces these days?)

However, here’s one issue where that alliance does more damage than good to both parties.

Jonathan Jay Pollard is an American citizen (granted Israeli citizenship in 1996), and has been serving a life sentence in United States prison since November of 1987. He has been convicted of spying for Israel without the intent of actuallyharming US security.Pollard approched an Israeli official in 1984 about material he believed was vital to Israel’s security and that Israel was entitled to, due to a 1983 agreement between the countries.

In 1998, Israel officialy acknowledged Pollard as an Israeli agent.

Jonathan Pollard in his official picture

Jonathan Pollard in his official naval picture

Israel itself has formed 2 investigation committees, whose result found the Israeli Bereau of Science Relations (a branch of Ministery of Defense) to be responsible for accepting Pollard’s offer, without notifying the Defense Ministers of that time, and as a subsequent result the Bereau was dismantaled completely.
This is not a post about the rights or wrongs of the Jonathan Pollard issue.This is a post about US refusal for humanatarian release for Jonathan Pollard who is on practically on his death bed, after serving 26 years of his 30 years sentence.

A relatively recent picture of Jonathan Pollard

A relatively recent picture of Jonathan Pollard

This is also a post about the wrongs conducted by the freest country in the world, and some duplicities when it comes souley to Israel, its’ ally.

As of today, a large number of US officials, from the past and no-too-distant past (present are understandbly not allowed to speak openly about current policies, or undermine them in the press), some of which had a part in the issue back in the 1980.

Jonathan Pollard was never trialed. Both the Israeli and the United States governments wanted to be spared the embarassement of a trial. Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him (again – no criminal charges of any intention to harm the US were brought against him, as well as charges of actually harming the US), in a plea agreement. The judge in his case received a confidential 46 page memo from Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, detailing how Pollard’s actions have hurt United States national security. His deputy at the time, Lawrence J. Korb, said in a letter to President Obama at October of 2010, that even Weinberger himself later admitted that Pollard was minor episode blown out of its’ importance. Korb notes personal motiviations, and not national security, stood behind Weinberger’s actions.

After viewing the 46 page memo, the judge has accepted Pollard’s guilty plea (which was given to the court as part of the aforementioned plea bargain), but declined the plea, and sentenced Pollard to a life sentence without the chance for parol (in stand of 20 years in prison).

Absurdly enough, the government prosecutors who were willing to sign the plea, Joseph DiGenova and John Martin, speak openly against releasing Pollard even today, when he’s in critial medical health, after after serving over 6 years of their propsed plea!

Besides Pollard, the harshest penalty for espinosage in the United States received a 14-years prison sentence.

Despite almost vicious allegations at the time, that Pollard and Israel exposed agents to the Soviet Union, today those allegations are known to be untrue. In fact, most of what Pollard has forwaded to Israel has been documents he believed it was entitled to (according to the aforementioned 1983 agreement), and Israel’s use of it was mostly in its’ attacks against the Palestinian Fatah faction during the 1980’s Intifidata (=terror strikes on Israeli citizens).

Jonathan Pollard is in critial medical condition! I am writing this post because last Wednesday, Pollard was rushed from Prison to hospital care for the forth time in the past year. Not only that, but when his father was on his own death bed last June, the US administration refused to allow him to visit his father or even attend his funeral, despite pleas from family and Israeli officials. What danger him attending his father’s funeral have to national security, after spending 26 years in prison, is beyond me.

Jonathan Pollard is to be released on November 2015, if he’ll make it that far.

Many support the release of Jonathan Pollard!: Dennis DeConcini, former head of Senate Intelligence. David Durenberger, former Senator and chairman of Senate Select Committee on intelligence at the time of Pollard’s case. Lee Hamilton, former Congressman and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Pollard’s conviction). Philip Heymann, Deputy Attorney General. James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA. Rudy Juliana, former New-York mayor. Henry Kissinger, fomer Secretary of State. George Shultz, former Secretary of State during the discovery of this case, and many more.

Among them is also Robert McFaralne, National Security Advisor to President Reagan. In a letter he sent to President Obama on Feburary 9th, 2012, he wrote about Weinberger motivations:

inspired in large part by his deeply held animus towards the state of Israel.

He also noted that:

[Polard Sentence is] disgraceful and mean-spirited… well beyond what any court would sentence for the same action today.

At the end of Bill Clinton’s second term, he offered Clemency to various offenfors. While murders, rapists and criminals who never even began serving their sentence went free, Pollard’s plea for Clemency was denied.

Dennis Ross, former advisor to Presidents Clinton and Obama in regard to the Middle East, wrote in his book The Missing Peace, that president Clinton asked for his opinion regarding the Pollard issue:

I also said I was in favor of his release, believing that he had received a harsher sentence than others who had committed comparable crimes.

So not only is Pollard not recieving a humanitarian release, serving a harsher sentence for his crimes, and there are testimonies that his trial was gravely affected by extraneous considerations, the US administration holds on to some silly paradigm that releasing Pollard today, after having served 26 years in prison (seven of which in almost complete isolation), and while in critial medical condition, would somehow pose a threat to national security today.

That might have been in the neighborhood of convincing, if it weren’t for the sameUS administration, who only two years ago, after having discovered a network of 11 Russain spies in the United States (and unlike Pollard have forged documents and assumed false and sometimes stolen identities, and have been conducting spy work for since for over a decade), took 10 of these spies straight from the courtroom where they pleaded guilty to an airport and then back home in a prisoner swap agreement with Russia, even though 1 of the 11 spies managed to flee the country and his traces were never found.If that didn’t pose threat to national security, I doubt releasing Pollard will!

Russian Spy Anna Chapman Mugshot

Russian Spy Anna Chapman Mugshot.
After returning to Russia, she became a national hero and sex symbol.

So why are US administrations refusing to grant any kind of release to a men many familiar in the case claim received unjust treatment and a harsh penalty? What really hides behind the term “national security?”

This could of course be one of the reasons why so many people around the world spend so much energy to de-legitimize Israel, while the world around them is far from perfect and much harsher, much stronger, much cruler atrocities happen all around them – Like any good bully, it’s easy to pick on someone small. However, there’s a bigger, more angering reason.

Dennis Ross says it best in his book –

“But if you want my advice, ” I continued, “I would not release him now. It would be a huge payoff for Bibi; you don’t have many like this in your pocket. I would save it for permanent status. You will need it later, don’t use it now.”

[Bibi is Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname. He is the current Israeli Prime Minister – a second term. His first term was during 1996-1999].

The experct also adds:

I preferred not tying his release to any agreement, but if that was what we were going to do, then I favored saving it for permanent status.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – Jonathan Pollard holds absolutely no threat to national security to the United States. He’s been kept prisoner, long past the time he was supposed to serve had he recieved a fair trial, for nothing more than a political card, a political fortune. The United States – a country who refuses to negotiate when its’ own citizens are taken hostage – is holding Pollard hostage in order to pressure Israel to make concessions. His medical condition and humanitarian nonsense be damned.

On the one hand, this is not really surprising, given the vast majority of US politicians who act in favor of the death penalty, not out of concern for the safety of the American public, or any other rational explanation, but for political power purely.

But this is even more infuriating than the “national threat” excuse. “Why, ” you ask?

First, Because I don’t see the United States holding anyone or anything (but money which it always gives at the end) over the Palestinian Authority’s head. This is once again a case where Israel has to make life-threatening concessions, while the Palestinian Authority, an entity that refuses to abandon the way of terror (merely calls it “unhelpful to our cause today”), acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and demands the fictional “Right of Return“, which is meant to simply perpetuate the conflict rather than put an end to it, and who to this day rejects every peace offering and any chance for peace – has nothing held against it. Hell, When Joe Biden asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Feburary 2010 to not call a square the next week after a henious terrorists who murdered a dozen children, and was ignored, the US government simply kept forwarding money to them.

Second, Throughout the past ten years Israel has made several mass releases of Palestinian Prisoners as gestures of good faiths (not including the Gilad Shalit Swap Deal), nothing of which of course was productive or helped bring any kind of peace to the region. Some of these releases were made due to US request. So how can a government ask for “good faith” release, while not even willing to grant humanitarian release?

Third, During last October when Israeli-American citizen Ilan Grapel was practically taken hostage in post-revolution Egypt, Israel was the only country who “paid” to have him released, even though Grapel spent most of his life in the United States, goes to school in the United States and pratically spent maybe a week before flying home with his parents back to the United States. So the US can’t release one ill prisoner whose been to the hospital many times in the past year? Can’t even let him attend his own father’s funeral?!

At the end of the day, a lot of shadows’ people in various branches and bereaus in the United States has an unexplained animosity towards Israel. They make it their business to try and harm Israel, and damage the ties between Israel and the US for what even they might percieve as legitimate reasons (for instance, the Larry Franklin case). So far it’s working for them.

But do us a favot, dear US officials. Cut the BS. Be honest and stop with the “national threat” crazy talk. After 25 years, no one’s buying it.

P.S. Some people, who strictly hate Israel, have this tendency to believe it controls the United States. Here’s one example to how much BS that truly is. Now, even if Pollard gets released due to his medical condition (and even then only as a gesture to Israeli President Shimon Peres, who recently was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and it set to meet President Obama in June), let me put one conspiracy theory to rest. As one survey editor said: “Obama’s only problem with the Jewish community in the US is that there’s not enough of them. Jews tradionally vote to the Democratic candidate.” So this is not even an electorial issue!

And yes, this was my post saying Jonathan Pollard should be released! And the reasons why (mainly being – it’s not a threat to national security, it’s a cynical use of man’s life as a political joker).


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