Skip to comments.Let Pollard Go! - An Appeal for Clemency
Posted on 12/05/2010 5:37:54 PM PST by Ari Bussel
Uniting Behind a Cause by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager
There is no better example of taking the key and throwing it away than the way we deserted Jonathan Pollard. Most all of us at least. Pollard, who admitted to spying for Israel, has been in top security American prison since 1986.
If only he were charged and found guilty more recently, under a President who loathes Israel, than when Ronald Reagan was the 40th US President (19811989). Three months ago, following a long sting operation by the FBI, ten Russians were charged spying for Russia in the United States. They were quickly ushered out of the country in some secret handshake with Russia. Their days in prison: few to none.
Was it Russias strength (do not mess with us) or something the United States wanted in return the reason to close both eyes? By comparison, is Israel so weak and dependent she is in no position to demand, has nothing to offer or simply does not want to pressure the USA to have Jonathan Pollard released?
Jonathan Pollard was not lucky. He managed to anger silent powers most likely in the State Department that vowed revenge, of the kind that lasts a lifetime. Even after their death, he is still in prison. To support this observation, one should only review other cases of those convicted in espionage for countries that are not staunch allies of the USA or even straight enemies. Or look at criminals who committed horrific crimes and were let go.
Is spy versus spy not a good old boys club after all? Should the punishment not fit the crime? Can one equate Israel, a friend of the United States with Wikileaks or Russia, still the United States greatest unacknowledged enemy?
Something about Jonathan Pollard and Israel made many angry in Washington. So angry in fact that the mere idea of a gesture of good will is taboo, disallowed even to be raised in discussion in the appropriate circles. This environment has not changed for the past 25 years, possibly only gotten worse. The feelings, it seems, have only intensified.
Thus, it was political suicide for four members of the House of Representatives to circulate a letter, just three weeks before the mid-term elections, calling for other members to join them by signing a letter to President Obama urging him to LET POLLARD GO.
The President has often been compared to the Pharaoh who arose and did not know Joseph. In modern-day terms, Israel has felt the distancing of the American Administration. The signs are so clear that even American Jewry, quick to criticize Israel for a plethora of reasons, is concerned.
Modern-era Pharaoh has done everything to appease the Muslims, at home and abroad, from appointing devout Muslims to top positions including those in the Homeland Security apparatus to conveying weakness at every opportunity, seen when bowing or when delivering speeches. Israelis have felt the wrath of a President who has little patience with Israels stubbornness and continued will to exist.
Why would the President, from the lofty elevation of the White House, even consider a call by members of Congress? Who will join the group of four in their plea to the President? Barney Frank (D-MA), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Anthony Weiner (D-NY) have managed, with some Chutzpa, to do something even their elders have not yet gathered and probably will never have the courage to do.
They singlehandedly managed to galvanize the Jews behind their call. A chorus of discarded, disjointed and opposing voices is suddenly signing in unison sounding like a united front.
Is that an act of desperation, as the mid-term elections are looming closer and closer, or a conviction a wrong must be fixed? Do the reasons really matter? The group of four set the pace for powerhouses Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, both from California, and for Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, California Senators, to follow suit. But the latter four are seasoned politicians who care more about their own self and political survivability under President Obama than Israel. They are, after all, the old guard. Jewish money still entices and directs their actions.
Who will join Frank, Pascrell Jr., Towns and Weiner? Should anyone join them? The four are not disputing that Pollard has betrayed the United States. They ask for clemency since Lady Justice is blind and applies her rules even handedly. Why Russia and China and not Israel. Is the sin more egregious when committed by a friend?
The true miracle is that four members of Congress have managed singlehandedly to achieve what even an Act of Congress cannot do: unite the Jews behind a single cause.
Jonathan Pollard rotting in an American jail is Americas insistence on making punishing him an example. Examples do not work well in politics, only in real life. In politics everything is fluid, up for sale for the right price. In real life, we remember examples like the beheading of Daniel Pearl, broadcasted live for the West to see; the Stoning of Soraya M. which has nerved even the most liberal supporters of the Muslim world; Russia flexing its muscles with Georgia; and Turkeys Arduan treatment of Israel during the last two years (from Davos to the Flotilla to the UN).
Somebody at the State Department confused the inability of the U.S. to fight Al Qaeda, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and terrorism at large with Jonathan Pollard.
Impotence can be camouflaged by hatred, anger, outwardly weird behavior, but alas, the real reason may be treatable. The group of four thus writes the President:
Dear Mr. President,
We write to urge you to use your constitutional power to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, thereby releasing him from prison after the time he has already served. As you know, such an exercise of the clemency power does not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted. Those who have such views are of course entitled to continue to have them, but the clemency grant has nothing to do with that.
We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been servedor not served at allby many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations adversarial to us, unlike Israel.
Recently, we allowed a large number of Russians, who had been spying on us for the country that had long been our major adversary, to leave with no punishment whatsoever. This makes it very hard for many to understand why Mr. Pollard should continue to serve beyond the nearly twenty-five years he has already been in prison. We agree that it is important that we establish the principle that espionage of any sort is impermissible, but it is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.
We further believe that at a time when Israel, our democratic ally, is being faced with difficult decisions, a decision by you to grant clemency would not only be a humane act regarding Mr. Pollard, but it would also be taken in Israel as a further affirmation of the strong commitment the U.S. has to the ties between us, and we believe that such an affirmation could be especially useful at a time when those decisions are being made.
In summary, we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system; as an act that will do nothing whatsoever to lessen our defenses against espionage; and a step that far from hurting the national security, could advance it by the impact it would have within Israel. We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.
Clemency, even if granted for all the wrong reasons, will strengthen the Democratic Party and the President at a time when their ratings are falling and when candidates try to distance themselves from Democratic party affiliation. It is appropriate for all the right reasons, but these have been consistently ignored both by the USA and Israel.
Israel, for some reason, seems not to care. But for the task at hand, Israels complacency and desertion of a soldier in the battlefield is not to be judged. This is neither the time nor the place.
One almost gets a sense of the coming of the Messiah when Orthodox and Reform Jews all support a common cause, urging the President to Let Pollard Go.
There should be an avalanche of activity, with every Jewish person, every Israeli in the USA, every person of conscience writing and calling their Members of Congress urging them to join the Letter of Four.
May Jonathan Pollard receive clemency and move from his isolated cell to the freedom in the Hills of Jerusalem.
May Jonathan Pollard who has alone suffered our collective sins be permitted a freedom we take so readily for granted.
May we all rejoice in an action by Pharaoh for which we will all be grateful and show our gratitude.
In this time of Chanukah, when darkness becomes light and there is homage to miracles past, forgiveness is the only path to follow.
The series Postcards from AmericaPostcards from Israel by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.
The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.
This pointand oftencounter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.
© Postcards from America Postcards from Israel, December, 2010 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Published: October 10, 2010
Pollard’s still ‘hot’ and trying to communicate with his handlers.
There’s no way Pollard’s going to be pardoned by a muslim president.
#1 Their is still an issue of the communications ship being shot up while flying colors. An attack on the US of A
#2 Pollard is a trader, To the USA None of Israels business
#3 He knew what HE was doing, and so did they who hired him.
#4 So for this crime against His country, He sits.
I hope there is no way Pollard is pardoned by any President, muslim or otherwise. The bastard should rot in hell.
Or a Christian one either, I hope.
You’re not gonna get a lot of sympathy here
I don't care, personally, although others obviously do, if Israel takes their spy and retires him to a state-bought condo somewhere else, but he is no American citizen nor can he ever return to the country he betrayed. And Ari, believe me, I'm a moderate on the issue, and if that does come about it's essentially clemency and more than the bastard deserves.
always one of you - lurking around. Sheesh
Something? What chutzpah. He is a traitor. Prior to the Church Committee he would be DOA.
Three months ago, following a long sting operation by the FBI, ten Russians were charged spying for Russia in the United States.
The Russian operation of which you speak was a Keystone Cop flop.
Only an overbaked zealotry would evoke any such a comparison.
Pollard caused a great deal of harm to the United States. He also caused the expenditure of many billions of dollars and hundred of thousand of technical man hours. And the info that he passed to Israel was subsequently transferred to the then Soviet Union.
Pollard should rot in jail for the rest of his life. He was trusted by his country and he became a traitor.
The information that Pollard delivered to Israel ended up on the internet. Before that, it was in the hands of our enemies and it cost us. He was a traitor, pure and simple. I hope Bradley Manning ends up in the cell next door to Pollard.
Yes, he traded secrets for...
Well said, Kabar!
“I hope Bradley Manning ends up in the cell next door to Pollard.”
naa he’ll probably get 5 years with option for parole.
when he is carried out feet first and buried several feet deep in a pine box.