Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
We were disappointed to hear from President Obama that he would not break with the precedent set by his predecessors, Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and release Jonathan Pollard. Though we think Mr. Pollard deserved to be punished for his serious crimes, we believe that twenty-eight years of imprisonment is enough.
While a number of former senior U.S. government officials, among them several with direct responsibility for defense and intelligence matters, have come out for his release, the unanimous position of past presidents and the continued strong opposition by some in the intelligence community made Mr. Obama’s decision not exactly unexpected, if lamentable.
Worthy of note, though, are two recent negative Wall Street Journal opinion columns about Mr. Pollard by Bret Stephens, the Journal’s deputy editorial page editor (and a former Jerusalem Post editor) who generally takes a staunchly pro-Israel position in his writing.
The first article, “Don’t Free Jonathan Pollard,” appeared on the very eve of President Obama’s leaving for Israel where he was expected to be importuned by Prime Minister Netanyahu on Mr. Pollard’s behalf. The second, “A Postscript on Pollard,” appeared a week later and was triggered by what Mr. Stephens characterized as “the blizzard of opprobrium” that “piled into my inbox.”
In the second piece, Mr. Stephens went through the usual litany of the seriousness of Mr. Pollard’s crimes, which reflected their seriousness but added little of substance to what is generally known.
The initial Stephens piece came up with some strange new arguments about why the president should not release Mr. Pollard. But the unanswered question about the article is why Mr. Stephens timed it to coincide with Mr. Obama’s visit to Israel.
Mr. Stephens began the piece by noting that “There are a few things I’d like to hear Barack Obama say on his trip this week to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.” He then listed such issues as Israel’s position on Iran, the settlements, the cause of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, the “right of return” for Palestinian, anti-Israel incitement, Palestinian terrorism, etc., as things he would like to hear the president agreeing with. That took up the bulk of the article.
“But,” he added, “here’s something I don’t want to hear from Mr. Obama, especially not when he’s in Israel: that he has agreed to release former Navy intelligence analyst and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.”
He conceded the humanitarian case to be made for Mr. Pollard’s release but said that’s just the beginning of the inquiry: “What’s inequitable about Pollard’s sentence isn’t that his is too heavy. It’s that the sentences of spies such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Robert Kim have been too light.”
Remarkable. All the federal judges who handed out those sentences and all the prosecutors who recommended those sentences in consultation with their clients – the responsible federal officials – were wrong. Mr. Stephens is the only one who gets it right. And in Mr. Pollard’s case, the prosecutors who, with the approval of their clients, originally agreed to far less than a life sentence effectively assigned a damage value to his spying.
Mr. Stephens also argued that if Mr. Pollard were to be released, he would be greeted as a national hero in Israel. This spectacle would be bad for Israel’s image and promote anti-Semitism. So, according to Mr. Stephens, keep him in jail for fear of what others will think or do. An interesting theory of justice.
Mr. Stephens also claimed Mr. Pollard hasn’t expressed contrition. Very strange, given the fact that the prosecutors who agreed to the original plea bargain must have been satisfied in this regard. Again, Mr. Stephens knows better.
This is not about defending Jonathan Pollard. He committed serious crimes and deserved and received significant punishment. Rather, it is about Mr. Stephens beating up on a sick guy nearly three decades into a life sentence – and timing it to maximize any negative influence his arguments might have on President Obama.
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The answer is an emphatic no.
The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
We are not unmindful that generally appropriate governmental initiatives may have some inappropriate aspects in execution.
Al Qaeda, despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, is newly resurgent and no doubt salivating at the prospect of a severely diminished U.S. military capacity.
Last month, after the Israeli government published plans for new construction, the State Department promptly repeated its longstanding refrain that the settlements were “illegitimate” and that “It is never helpful to have steps taken that are not conducive to our efforts to move forward on peace.”
While the thrust of the proposed law is easily understandable, there is a problem as well. The current draft requires claimants to prove malicious intent on the part of the present holder of the property, which some legal authorities say would be extremely difficult.
Recent stories in the Israeli media, citing “unnamed sources,” indicate that Mr. Kerry failed to get backing from President Obama to confront Israel over its rejection of his peace proposals
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/pollard-redux/2013/04/04/
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