Photo Credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90
A sign calling on Israeli President Shimon Peres to "save Pollard," June 7, 2012.

About 18 months ago, I wrote another post about the ongoing injustice being done to Jonathan Pollard. Yes, Jonathan Pollard transferred classified information to Israel and, in doing so, broke a trust placed in him by the United States of America. Many have argued that America broke the trust first, keeping secrets from Israel that several agreements between the two countries mandated be shared. You can accept that – or not.

But it is amazing how ignorant people are and despite this ignorance, how forcefully they hold an opinion that Pollard deserves to rot in jail – as he has for 29 years. Never mind what the courts convicted him of, never mind the US bargain, never mind the facts.

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The fact is, Pollard did not commit treason – nor was he EVER charged with treason. He was convicted of ONE crime, to which he pleaded guilty. That ONE crime typically gets something like 4-7 years (I think it was even less, but honestly after 29 years, what difference does it make?), for transferring classified information to an ally. Note that a life sentence for murder often means serving far less than Pollard has already served and those who have spied for enemies (Russia, for example), have all served less time.

But the truth of why Pollard must rot, was posted in a comment to me. And eighteen months later, that comment remains in my mind – and I have yet to answer it because each time I tried, I couldn’t find the balance I need to answer it with anything but anger. The comment was this:

It is really harmful to Jews in the Diaspora that some Israelis have elevated this man to hero status. He represents every anti-Semitic stereotype that we have to deal with: disloyal to his country, willing to do anything for money, morally self-righteous, convinced of his own intellectual superiority. Please, please, shut up about this man.

There you go – it isn’t what Pollard did – but that he embarrasses American Jews. “He represents every anti-Semitic stereotype that we have to deal with”…so writes yet another anonymous commentator who I can only assume is an American Jew.

Today, finally, I am free to answer – with all the anger well aimed at the hypocrisy of American Jews and more, of America itself.

You dare to hold Jonathan Pollard in prison for 29 years for spying on an ally…when you’ve been doing the same thing all along? Are you kidding?

I have nothing to say to the Obama administration – history will remember you for the farce you have created. History will remember the lies and betrayal – how you abandoned your allies and more.

But I will, finally, address my fellow Jews – we are brothers and sisters to each other and as a sister, I can tell you that you are losing your way. Day by day, you are losing your future as your children go further and further from the joint roots of our grandfathers.

But more, you betray our grandfathers by turning your backs on Pollard and on Israel. Jews have found a way to survive, to thrive, in the most unlikely of circumstances. There was one secret to this survival. Through the horrors of the centuries and all that was done to us, above all else, we remembered where we came from and who we are.

If the story of Jonathan Pollard is harmful to the Jews in the US, there is something wrong with you, not him. He saw that the US was not living up to its agreement to share intelligence reports – though Israel was in fact doing this. He took action – right or wrong…probably wrong…he made a mistake and has paid far and above anything that could be termed justice.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Paula, this is a truly great article that you have written. The American Jews who have not spoken out for Pollard, and those that have spoken out against him, are similar to the Jews in Hitler's 3rd Reich who thought they'd be safe if they did Hitler's bidding. Some of them survived and later became 'heroes' by revising history, such as Rudolph Kastner, who helped Eichmann in Hungary and has been honored by Yad Vashem. We are not all brothers and sisters, unfortunately.

  2. Why are you doing this to US, the American Jews you claim to respect? This man was tried & found guilty of serious crimes in America. His case has been reviewed over & over again. There is not the slightest reason to believe he is innocent. Please do not interfere in our criminal justice system in this fashion. It might wind up causing riots eventually & having some of us killed. And for what? He will almost certainly be released November 15, 2015. That's a bit less than two years. Please protect us from violent death. Drop this stupidity.

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