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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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The Silence is Killing Pollard

Jonathan Pollard is awaiting the results of President Peres' appeal to President Obama Wednesday.

Jonathan Pollard is awaiting the results of President Peres' appeal to President Obama Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Screen shot

Upon his being knighted by United States President Obama with a dubious award for being a good Jew (a Jew who is always ready to give up huge chunks of the Holy Land), Shimon Peres had the decency to ask Mr. Obama to finally free Jonathan Pollard. True to long standing US policy, the White House refused.

But now that Shimon Peres, the symbol of Jewish Recognition and Acceptance, has been so accepted and embraced by the President of America, you would think that the Jews of America would finally raise their long silent voices and scream out for his release.

But no, the silence continues, deafening in its fright.

Let’s face it – most Jews in America are terrified of seeming to harbor dual loyalties.

Yes, they will lobby for Israel on certain issues, and stand by Israel when we’re at war, but come to bat for a fellow Jew convicted of spying for Israel? Except for some polite and well-mannered requests to free Pollard by less than a handful of American Jewish organizations, that’s too much to expect of the Jews of America.

After all, Pollard stole top secret American documents and passed them along to the Israelis.

It doesn’t matter that the United States had signed a pact with Israel to share all secret information regarding Israel’s security. It doesn’t matter that the information that Pollard gave the Israelis probably saved hundreds, and maybe thousands of Israeli lives.

The fact is that as an American citizen, Jonathan Pollard betrayed America, and that’s something which American Jews don’t dare identify with, even if the poor fellow has served nearly thirty years of a life sentence (a sentence unheard of for handing over secrets to an ally); even if he never received an honest trial; even if his health is in grave danger; even if the government of Israel has requested his pardon, none of this matters to American Jews.


Because American Jews are terrified of seeming to be un-American. They are terrified of making waves, lest they appear “too Jewish,” and thus make the real Americans notice of them and remember that Jews are not real Americans at all – but rather foreigners with America passports.

The Jews keep silent about the terrible injustice in the case of Jonathan Pollard because they don’t want the Americans to remember that they are strangers who don’t belong in America, just as Jews never really belonged in Spain, or Germany, or Russia, because, as everyone knows, Jews have their own Jewish Land which G-d gave them.

So the American Jews keep silent regarding Jonathan Pollard, praying that the Americans won’t notice that there are lots of Jews in their midst and suddenly remember that the Jews don’t belong in America at all. The Jews keep quiet, even though a true Jewish hero may be dying, terrified that if they raise their voices too loudly, the Americans may remember that the Jews of the United States are really once-upon-a-time Israelis who could all very well be spies for Israel too, just like Pollard.

And Jonathan Pollard suffers in prison, his health failing, his faith in his fellow Jews all but lost. And the silence of the Jews in America threatens to kill him. And nobody cares.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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