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
If Helen Thomas says it is OK to let him out, then I will go along/s
Pollard — and Israel — violated their express promises to the US to help assess and remedy the damage done to US security by Pollard’s spying for Israel. That is why Pollard was justly found in violation of his plea agreement and is likely to die in prison.
Pollard is a traitor. The Russians were not. Go peddle this junk to a more gullible crowd.
What a whiny post.
I think you’d have more success by having Pollard admit what he did, and possibly show remorse.
Instead we have to listen to whining about how he is somehow mistreated and we are bad people for wanting to fully punish him for spying.
Leave him where he is. I kind of ike the idea of him being in prison, if only to cheer me up just in case I can’t think of the myriad blessings freedom brings to good Americans.
I laugh at his misery. I chuckle at those who hate this country so much that they’d release him - but are unsuccessful in doing so.
He is a spy and should stay in prison.
I really miss old A+Bert, particularly when these Pollard threads pop up. Man, he was entertaining.
He is not a spy. Spies are citizens from one country sent to “spy” on another. He is a traitor which means as stated above, it is none of Israel’s business how the US deals with him. However if you look at this man’s life and the details of his crime, he appears to be a bit of a fool who was taken advantage of by Israeli spies. He honestly does not appear to be very bright. For this reason, even though he is guilty as hell, in the Christian spirit (some irony here perhaps), I feel strongly that the man should be let go and rejoin his family in his remaining years.
No argument there. After I posted that I got to thinking, can I defend it? On any grounds other than a probably misplaced compassion for a fool who made a wrong and evil choice? Well, I can’t. Maybe I wish I could, but I can’t defend it.
Apparently Pollard handed over US cold war defence secrets to Israel, who in turn passed them onto the Soviet Union in exchange for allowing Jews to leave the Soviet Union. The end result seriously compromised the Wests security, I say let him rot.
Amen to that! He and his wife got rich selling out the US, and it wasn’t just to Israel. The secrets he stole ended up with the Chinese and other countries, too. No sympathy for him here.
Why this push to have him released now? Very curious.
It’s hard to recruit new traitors when the old ones are still in jail. This is the real reason he is kept there and the only good reason that the fool should remain held.
Yeah, let him go alright.
From 20’ up with a rope around his neck!
The damage he did could have been catastrophic at time when the US was very close to armed conflict with Russia. Had it not been for the peaceful dissolution of the USSR, Pollard would have cost us a lot of American lives.
He needs to stay in jail.
Nope. He was just pointing out that some anal retentives can't resist putting on a badge and calling out the spelling police. If that is not your meaning then are you trying to cover for Ari's real 'Abe Foxman' bitching of anti-semitism, that something? Shame on you.
'reefdiver's comment was clear:
reefdiver...Pollard is a trader, To the USA None of Israels business
reefdiver...always one of you - lurking around. Sheesh
An American citizen selling critical national secrets to anybody - South Africa, Pakistan, Australia (Australia??) - who could give him the dough for his cocaine habit, that’s considered a respectable cause celeb? Whew... This one is pretty disappointing.
Who the hell gives a rat’s ass about that worthless, greedy little weasel Pollard, and why? Please don’t tell me that Pollard is an acceptable cause celeb solely because he’s a Jew. You have to be better than that. You have to be.
Lighten up. It’s called irony
No, it is called baiting. Just like Ari's article.