The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel to on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student
NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.
Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”
“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”
Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/pollard-redux/2013/04/04/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: