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Pollard Pardon? Not Now

Israeli protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, February 23, 2014.

Israeli protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, February 23, 2014.
Photo Credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison for some years in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.

I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit). I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

About the Author: Daniel Pipes is a world-renowned Middle East and Islam expert. He is President of the Middle East Forum. His articles appear in many newspapers. He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He is a board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other institutions. His website is DanielPipes.org.


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3 Responses to “Pollard Pardon? Not Now”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    the insanity of this position as further presented in the fascist National Review:

    Pollard should be released, says Pipes. But not by Obama

    Why? because it would undermine the entire "Obama is anti-Israel" thesis which has been the basis of everything Pipes has said and written for the past 5 years; what would he do for the next three – scream that Hillary is anti-Israel?

    I'm sure Pollard's family is thrilled the way this crazed ideologue has politicized their plight.

  2. It would deepen America's shame if they used Jonathan Pollard as a pawn in the peace between the Palestinians and Israel. shame on America

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    The irony is that Pollard IS going to be released while Obama is President, on November 21, 2015.

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