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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Opinion: Jonathan Pollard is Dead


Pollard may be gumming up the works for Obama and Kerry by refusing to attend a parole hearing after a deal was proposed to free him if Israel.

Pollard may be gumming up the works for Obama and Kerry by refusing to attend a parole hearing after a deal was proposed to free him if Israel.

Jonathan Pollard is dead. He died in Butler maximum security prison after 27 years of incarceration. Although many top US security officials joined Israeli efforts for the release of the Israeli operative, Pollard’s health had deteriorated markedly in the last few years resulting finally in his death.

The above headline is not true yet, but it may be weeks, days, or hours away from being true. Don’t avoid the thought of Pollard’s death, look it squarely in the face and ask yourself how you will feel when you hear the news.

If Jonathan Pollard dies in prison then our whole generation will die just a little. We will all bear the stain of having not helped the man who risked his life to protect Israel. When our children will ask us: “Were you around when Jonathan Pollard was alive? Why did he die in prison?” The shameful answer will be: “Yes I was around, and I did not do enough to help him…”

To remind you: Pollard was a US Naval intelligence analyst who passed information to Israel, an ally, about its own self-defense. He was caught and agreed to a plea bargain, and instead of getting 2-4 years like agents who spied against the US for enemy states, Pollard got life in prison without parole. This harsh sentence came about as a result of affidavits written to the court by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger has been discredited by the likes of Robert “Bud” McFarlane, Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor at the time, who has written to President Obama stating that Weinberger had a history of “unbalanced reasoning” when it came to Israel. But Pollard is still in prison and if he dies, Israel’s relationship with the US will be forever marred. The ugliness of this whole affair will surface, and it will not sink away like some people would like it to. The stain will grow darker and uglier.

The US presents itself as the global champion of liberty, yet this miscarriage of justice goes on and on. How many more US leaders must stand up so that this torture ends? As Lawrence Korb has written: “Most of the major decision-makers who were intimately involved in the case have issued public calls for clemency. They include former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator David Durenberger (R-MI) (who served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard’s conviction), and former Congressman Lee Hamilton (R-IN) (Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Pollard’s sentencing)… Key figures who viewed the classified damage assessment years later also favor Pollard’s release. They include former head of Senate Intelligence Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum, as well as James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA. Mukasey, who was attorney general for George W. Bush, stated it well when he wrote that no one alleges Pollard intended to harm the United States with his actions – nor was he ever charged with harming the US.”

I am calling on Israel’s gentile friends: This is the hour of your test – will you let this Jew, who is serving an immoral life sentence for defending Israel, die? Do you want this on your conscience? What will you say to those Jews who ask you: “With all the love you show Israel, did you raise your voice to defend a man who languished – and died – in your prison for attempting to save the Jewish State?” It is your time to stand up and use the democratic channels of which America is so proud. Pull out all the stops. You already have top brass behind the cause, but now the voice of the people must be heard. Make sure your congressmen, senators, and president know that this will not stand. Because without justice and liberty, what is America?

That being said, it is easy to pass the buck. We can blame the US all we want, but have we Israelis made it clear that we demand Pollard’s freedom? No. We went to work, and sent our kids to school, we had a Pesach Seder and some of us mentioned Jonathan’s name, even left a chair for him.

But we did not disrupt our lives, and we did not do enough to disrupt our government’s life and the life of Jewish organizations who represent us. We certainly did not do enough to disrupt the US government’s daily business. In other words, Pollard’s slow death did not matter enough for us to shake things up.

There are efforts being made, for sure: Shimon Peres was handed a letter by the Pollard lobby chairman MK Uri Ariel who said: “Mr. President, I submit to you a letter for President Obama that has been signed by 81 MKs and which calls on him to release Jonathan Pollard.  We would be very grateful if you would deliver this letter at your meeting with President Obama in June.  We are asking the President of the State of Israel not to wait until the Presidential Medal of freedom award ceremony and even now present this official request to the US President that he pardons Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds forthwith.” President Peres did issue a quick letter to President Obama calling for Pollard’s immediate release on health and humanitarian grounds. But the answer, so far, has been disappointing.

After news of Pollard’s hospitalization, PM Netanyahu’s Media Advisor communicated the following: “The time has come to release Jonathan Pollard. The Festival of Freedom of all Jews needs to become Jonathan Pollard’s private festival of freedom. I have done much, and will continue work, for his release.”

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is the Contributing Editor and PR manager at the JewishPress.com, and Israel's only English language broadcast radio show host (Galey Yisrael 106.5FM). Yishai is an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, they have two children, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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24 Responses to “Opinion: Jonathan Pollard is Dead”

  1. Robert E. Goodman says:

    We cannot let Jonathan Pollard die in prison. Justice has been and must be served. And Mr. Pollard must go free now!

  2. I pray Obama wakes up. If he thought Katrina was bad…

    Zechariah: 10~12

    ".. and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.
    In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
    And the land shall mourn, every family…"

  3. Deb, how can you be so negative? Where is your Emuna, your faith in G-d? We must pray for his recovery and release! Not give in to despair – Pollard himself doesn't give in to despair – how can we?

  4. Keren Neshama says:

    It seems to me, that we can only storm the Gates of Shamayim at this point. For it is HKBH that hardens the heart of Paro Obama. We need to remember that if HKBH wanted Jonathon to be free he would be free by now. For everything in this life happens by His Hand. So no, we should never give up, ever, but also we have to remember that all the begging of human beings and politicians in this life won’t do any good at all, unless HKBH first influences the person or persons to do His will. Maybe He has brought Jonathon into a much closer relationship that he ever would have had with Him, because of being incarcerated and having to rely on Him for everything. I do know that Jonathon’s reward in the Olam Haba will be very great because of the tremendous love and sacrifice that he has made on behalf of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. I do pray that Jonathon will have a refuah shleima! Also I pray that HKBH will show Jonathon rachmonous and will influence his release soon, for his sake and for the sake of his wife and family who have surely suffered very much also.

  5. Mark Kaplan says:

    Frankly, I am concerned about the health and life of a fellow Jew, who received a prison sentence that is far beyond fair or acceptable for the crime he committed. Caspar Weinberger may have escaped justice in this world, but I am more than sure he is roasting in the after-world. I am not concerned about everyone else who has wronged Pollard, I am concerned for him. I would like to see Esther calm and smiling for a change, instead of being weighed down by Jonathan's condition and being incarcerated.

  6. Edward Chudnow says:

    OMG! What a terrible shame on US. So very sad. We failed a patriot and left him to rot.

  7. We do not know the fate of Yohonatan Pollard. We will continue to pray for him…Period. Only G-d know the outcome. Are you the Creator of the Universe who knows the beginning and end of all matters? Remember that everything you say emanates in this world. All the negativity and loshon hora creatives darkness and more negativity and evil. On the other hand all the good we do and the goodness that comes out of our mouth has tremendous power too. Please watch what you say and only be positive. May G-d bless Yohonaton Pollard and bring him complete refua shleima! Please G-d bring him home alive!

  8. Good idea, Deborah, but Israel isn't going to do that. The country for which Pollard has given his life never even had the decency to acknowledge that Pollard was its agent. In fact Israel is the main reason Pollard is 27 years in an American prison. He wanted asylum in an Israel embassy and Israel locked him out. Bibi could have taken him home after the infamous Camp David negotiations if he had hung tough when Clinton went back on his word about Pollard with that flimsy excuse about his CIA director threatening to resign.

  9. If Pollard's freedom were really important to Israel, every Israeli leader from Bibi on down would be hammering on this issue every day, in every diplomatic and military meeting Israel has with America. But Israel isn't even the main problem. The silence of American Jews on Pollard is deafening. Who thinks Obama would be able to withstand the pressure in an election year if American Jews took to the streets in sustained demonstrations and loudly demanded Pollard be freed? But 90% of American Jews are secular and assimilationist. Don't hold your breath.

  10. Enough is enough! Others guilty of much more heinous crimes were not treated with such severe and inhumane punishment. Obama had better wise up (all his talk of "having Israel's back" is cheap pandering for votes) and redeem himself with positive action by pardoning Jonathan Pollard NOW, before the Passover holiday is over. To do less will just show his true sentiments and anti-Semitism.

  11. Yosef Meir says:

    Friends, tomorrow we storm the White House lines, everyone must participate and invite their friends.
    http://www.facebook.com/events/354299851288860/

  12. nelsonsamuel says:

    I did not vote for Obama, I will not vote for Obama and any Jew that votes for him needs to see a psychiatrist.

  13. Norman Melbybrauten says:

    Obama Has Done a Mis Judgment Of Not allowing The release Of Jonathan Pollard and we all Know Obama Is Not For Decency and True acts Of Kindness!

  14. Simcha Mendel says:

    Unfortunately, Jonathan Pollard made a mistake by trying to save Israel from her enemies. The government of Israel are like Pitt Bulls and Doberman Pinchers due to the fact that whoever helps them ends up being bitten up all over his or her body by the despicable Israeli government. Thank G-d, I made aliyah at an age where I never was drafted into the so-called Israeli army that throws Jews out of their homes and that attacks Jews like a bear or a tiger that escaped from its cage. It is NOT worth fighting for this country only to regret it afterwards due to the fact that the Israeli government punishes those who fight for the “State” of Israel.

  15. Deborah Blacksher says:

    Deborah I couldn't disagree more about putting pressure on Obama. He covets the Jewish vote in this country. If a few well placed Jewish folks would put some pressure on Obama he might cave. If he didn't have the jewish vote so sewed up here he would do something. He just already knows he has their vote. Every President uses "Israel is the only democracy" til they are blue in the face. Israel should scorn Obama the way he scorns your Prime Minister every time he comes here. It is a disgrace the way he treats that man.

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