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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pollard’

Rep. Engel Named Chairman of International Jewish Lawmakers’ Group

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel has been appointed chairman of an umbrella body for Jewish lawmakers worldwide, succeeding Italy’s Fiamma Nirenstein, who recently made aliyah to Israel.

The steering committee of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians named Engel, the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, as its chairman this week during a meeting of the group in Washington.

“The work of the ICJP is important for Jews everywhere, and I am proud and honored to help lead and uphold its important mission,” Engel said in a statement.

The group, which is an initiative of the World Jewish Congress, passed resolutions on Iran and on anti-Semitism in Europe and Latin America. In the pipeline is a resolution on religious freedoms in Europe and a letter to President Obama calling for the commutation of the life sentence handed down 26 years ago to Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel.

 

What About the Defamation of Pollard?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League, along with several other pro-Israel and Zionist organizations, formed a “broad coalition in support of marriage equality.” The ADL, a long time champion of Jewish rights, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the California bill restricting opposite-gender marriages.

This is an example of the misplaced priorities of the Jewish organizations in America and is a major cause for concern. The ADL slogan, “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” begs the question, what about Jonathan Pollard – does he not fall under the aforementioned criteria?

In a 2011 interview with Haaretz, ADL Director Abraham Foxman voiced his disappointment with Vice President Joe Biden’s unwavering stance regarding Pollard: “It’s almost inhuman to keep him in prison – he served his time and there is no justification to keep him in prison.” Despite the director’s beliefs, the organization has yet to take an official stance.

Numerous high level American officials have already called for Pollard’s release, namely the former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Most recently, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb came out saying that Pollard’s sentence was disproportionate. Yet the ADL still remains silent.

In 1993, Foxman and Chairman Mel Salberg sent personal letters to President Clinton pleading on behalf Pollard – letters lacking ADL letterheads and stressing the disconnection between their personal views and the ADL’s position. In 2011, Foxman opted out of visiting Pollard: “I may have gone quietly and privately, but I am certainly not interested in media hype, which is to little avail.”

Foxman certainly did not mind the media hype caused by his letter – addressed on ADL stationary – to President Clinton on behalf of March Rich, a wealthy Jew indicted on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran, or of the ADL press release commending President Obama’s decision not to deport 800,000 undocumented immigrants. In fact, the ADL usually does not miss an opportunity to decry injustices.

Pollard is the only person in United States history to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally. With the average sentence for such an offense being two to four years, his verdict should have had anti-Semitic, or at the very least, civil rights warnings flashing throughout ADL offices world-wide.

While the ADL has a rich history of Jewish advocacy and commitment, it is transforming into a hypocritical machine with a liberal agenda and double standards. The ADL fights against the defamation of the Jewish people and for justice and fair treatment for all – as long as the two don’t clash.

Whether the case of Pollard is falls into the category of “defamation of the Jewish people,” or “justice and fair treatment to all,” the ADL’s indifference goes against its very own mission. Pollard along with other important Jewish matters (Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of Defense for one), have taken a backseat to an array of liberal, non-Jewish, issues.

With the systematic rise of anti-Israel sentiment in the liberal world, the ADL and other Jewish organizations must decide if their loyalties lie with the Jewish people or with the fashionable liberal trend (which, more often than not, is against Israel).

President Obama’s visit to Israel presents the ADL and the other Jewish organizations of America with a major opportunity to advocate for Pollard’s release.  Already over 180,000 Israelis have signed a petition calling on Obama to mark his visit by releasing Pollard.

The defamation of the Jewish people must be called out and stopped at all times, not only when it is convenient and politically correct to do so.

Redeeming the Captives and Jonathan Pollard

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

There is, to the outside world, something a bit incomprehensible about Jews. Most of the world cannot grasp what idiocy would bring Israel to exchange 1,000 prisoners (and yes, among them hundreds of terrorists and murderers) for the life of one person, a young soldier of no worth in terms of security or military knowledge. The sum value of Gilad Shalit’s life was simply that he was one of ours.

By contrast, here in Israel, though we knew it was a stupid and dangerous exchange, it was never something incomprehensible. Rather, it was completely understood, if not something logical. This is what we were commanded to do, above sanity at time, certainly coming within inches of danger to ourselves. We are not supposed to cross the line of endangering ourselves, but even that line blurs as the desperation to bring out own home grows.

We brought Gilad home – others may well die as a result. Perhaps even this past week, as a young child is in very critical condition because the car in which she was riding was stoned. No one regrets for a moment that Gilad is finally home, finally free. We celebrate each victory he claims on his journey to live his life and take back what was stolen from him. I don’t know if what we did was right, but it was good, and it was needed.

And we as a people continue, as we did with Gilad, always aware that there are others out there still held in captivity. Once it was millions – Russian Jews not allowed to emigrate. We protested, we demonstrated, we demanded, we bargained…until the doors of the former Soviet Union opened and more than a million came out. They are part of Israel now and everywhere mixed in with Hebrew, you hear Russian…or at least Russian accented Hebrew and we know that what we did was good, right, needed.

And there were Jews in Ethiopia and Yemen – and we flew planes to bring them home. Jews in Iran that still need to be brought home, though very few. Jews in Syria who have been smuggled in and even Jews from France, who are coming home. And we know that all our efforts are good and right and needed.

And there is a Jew in the United States. Yes, there is. He is a captive and unfairly so. The price he is paying is not for the crime he committed. There was a price to be paid – and he paid it, but he was betrayed by those with whom he made an agreement. It is to their shame that Jonathan Pollard is still in jail, not his. He has done his time and amazingly enough, the vast majority who condemn him – don’t actually know what he was convicted of doing.

You can’t imprison someone for what you think they did, not even for what you know he did. If you respect American law, than you must accept that Jonathan Pollard was sentenced for committing a crime that, on average, results in a sentence of 3-5 years. He has served more than 28 years.

President Obama wants to come to Israel this week and as recent poll showed 79% of Israelis want to see Obama get off the plane with Pollard. There are few things on which you can get 79% of Israelis to agree and given that approximately 20% of the population is Arab and would presumably not be in favor of Pollard being released, that amounts to an almost complete agreement.

The overwhelming feeling among those I know is very simple. There is really nothing to be gained by Obama’s visit. It will be a nightmare of traffic and delays for Israelis a critical week before the Passover holidays. Many of our relatives are flying in or out of the country – honestly, who needs this?

If…IF he were bringing Pollard home, we would greet him with the respect due the President of the United States, even though personally we know he is far from a friend of Israel. We will listen to the nonsense and unfair position he will spout, how WE should do this and WE should do that. We would ignore his pressuring us and ignoring endless violence by the Palestinians.

My Take On Pollard

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Here are excerpts of my Knesset speech regarding Jonathan Pollard’s incarceration:

I would like to thank Knesset member [Avishay] Braverman who openly told us that at least during a certain time period, Jonathan Pollard remained imprisoned because that was also the will of people here, in Israel.

This is a very important statement, which was said in an offhand way. But in my opinion, it is certainly possible that this problem still exists.

Jonathan Pollard is not a traitor. We have to look at Jonathan Pollard through Jewish, Israeli, Zionist eyes. Jonathan Pollard is an Israeli agent. He performed a service for us. It is unthinkable that we should look at Jonathan through American eyes.

Jonathan Pollard is a hero, a hero of Israel. He is a hero who risked his life for us. And who knows how many of us he literally saved.

I have no intention of signing the petition for Jonathan Pollard. It is just meaningless words. It is lip service. I have no intention of being dragged once again into processes that have nothing behind them. Similarly, in my evaluation, this petition will fade away when President Barack Obama arrives here if we, the MKs, do not take tangible action – and I intend to propose just such an action. With it, our loyalty to the person who we sent to risk his life for us will be put to the test.

Our brother, Jonathan, who risked his life for us as our envoy, was not the only one who ran to the Israeli embassy for protection on that bitter day 28 years ago. His direct handler, Colonel Aviem Sella, ran to the embassy with him.

The U.S. forcefully demanded that both men – the Jew and the Israeli – be handed over to them.

We betrayed the Jew, and handed him over to his captors – the FBI agents waiting outside.

As far as the Israeli, we proved that when Israel wants something, it can certainly stand firm. Aviem Sella was not handed over – and a way was even found to bring him back to Israel.

On that day I understood that the state of Israel is not really the state of the Jews. Israel is the state of the Israelis. And from this denial of its identity and its foundations, my friends, Knesset members, Israel is progressively losing the legitimacy for its very right to exist.

I have visited my brother, Jonathan, many times. When I saw him for the first time, I couldn’t stop my tears. It was awkward: he was the inmate, who, despite the terrible torture that he had endured, remained peaceful and calm while I, a free lark, was crying like a baby.

Since then, Jonathan’s picture is on the front door of my house. One cannot enter the Feiglin family home without remembering our brother, Jonathan.

The betrayal of Pollard continues until today. It is hard to believe, but the simple fact is that the prime minister then, the person who authorized the extradition and today serves as president of the state of Israel, until recently never officially requested Jonathan’s release. We often hear that Israel is doing its utmost. We heard that and we will continue to hear it. We will sign petitions. But an official request was never presented – until Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu did so after 20 years.

But the resolve is still missing. Our body language – and I am referring to the body language of the regime, not of the nation of Israel and not of the Knesset embers but the body language of those responsible – still says to the Americans, “Keep Pollard to yourselves, we don’t really want him here.”

The type of spying that Pollard conducted is carried out by U.S. agents in Israel as a matter of course and is public information. Israel has the ability to demand and receive our brother, Jonathan, if it wants. If we want!

The president of the U.S. will [soon] arrive in Israel and he will want to speak from this podium. Welcome to Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama – with my brother, Jonathan Pollard.

But if you continue to imprison my brother, Jonathan, you will have to speak to my empty chair. And I hope that more Knesset chairs than just mine will be empty.

Get Serious

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

We have reached the red line for Jonathan Pollard. If President Obama doesn’t bring our brother, Jonathan, who has been captive in his country for 28 years, with him to Israel, he is liable to die in prison, God forbid. With this heavy ethical weight on our necks, this horrible betrayal of an agent that we sent to risk his life for us, we may all be thrown into a reality that begins with a “small” destruction at Ma’aleh Rehavam – with seemingly no end in sight.

There is a connection between the two. When you are not loyal to your brother, when you do not practice basic solidarity, when there is no moral glue that ties you to your brother rotting in jail – everything falls apart. If we have disengaged from Pollard, then get ready for the next Disengagement – in the name of security, of course. And get ready for a solution regarding the Iranian problem – brought to you by Uncle Sam.

In the end, we will find ourselves without Pollard, without Judea and Samaria, without the Americans, and with a nuclear Iran. Just like in the Lodz ghetto, where they gave up a few poor children to save all the rest. Nothing has changed since then. The Jews are the same Jews, and the mindset is also the same.

Last week I called upon my fellow Knesset members to boycott Obama’s Knesset speech if he does not bring our brother, Jonathan, with him. Meanwhile, in the face of the approaching political tsunami, we are all busy bickering over the proverbial tempests in the teapot.

When it comes to the haredi draft issue, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. After all, the last thing that Yair Lapid wants is for the IDF to suddenly grow a long beard and put on a black suit. And the IDF does not want or need the extra manpower, as it already drafts many more recruits than it really needs. On the other side of the coin, there are many young haredi men who want to serve in the Army and work – namely, lead normal lives. Here’s the problem: the IDF does not offer them enough frameworks that are appropriate to their levels of observance. Nobody actually expects them to exercise with women instructors. So what is the debate really all about? It’s about political capital.

The second tempest in the teapot is jumpstarting the “peace process.” What are they talking about? In all of history, there has never been a collection of people for whom the entire world, including those who should surrender their sovereignty, has rallied full force to recognize a state – and the state has not even been born. A Palestinian state will never be born because Golda Meir was right. There is no Palestinian nation and this non-nation harbors a primal fear of a state. Just look at how Arab MK Ahmad Tibi and company reacted when then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made his generous offer to move the border west of their towns, effectively removing them from Israel proper.

The goal of Palestinian self-definition is not sovereignty in the land of Israel, but rather the negation of Jewish sovereignty in the land. That is why a Palestinian state has never been established in Judea and Samaria and why there was never such a demand when Jordan or any other Muslim entity ruled here. Their focus has always been on the very last centimeter of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. As then-British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin defined the issue at the League of Nations when the British returned their mandate over the land of Israel to the world body: “The goal of the Jews in the land of Israel is to establish a state for the Jews in the land. The goal of the Arabs in the land of Israel is to ensure that the Jews do not establish a state in the land of Israel.”

The tsunami is approaching, and the Jews in the land of Israel are fighting over total non-issues. If it weren’t so sad, it would be comical.

It’s time to get serious.

This column was translated from the Hebrew version, which appeared in Makor Rishon.

Yes, Jonathan Pollard Again

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Whatever you think about Jonathan Pollard, there are some basic facts of the case that cannot be ignored. Chief among them are:

  1. Jonathan Pollard has served longer for the crime he was sentenced for than anyone else convicted of like crimes.
  2. The United States of America made – and broke – a plea bargain agreement they made with Jonathan Pollard.
  3. Jonathan Pollard has no interest in remaining in America. Were he to be freed, he would come to Israel, never to return or hurt the United States.

And one last point – what Jonathan Pollard gave to Israel should have been given to Israel under agreements made between the U.S. and Israel.

With all of that, I’ll say one more thing. I don’t want Obama to come to Israel. We don’t need his pressure, we don’t need the traffic headaches, and we honestly don’t need his opinions. But if he is to come, let him at least, at very least, bring Jonathan home to Israel.

What Jonathan Pollard did – almost THIRTY YEARS AGO – was wrong. The US was wrong and perhaps Israel was wrong – but it has been Jonathan Pollard who has paid the price, far and above what should have been demanded. It is time, past time, to end this farce.

Obama, don’t come…or at least have the decency to bring Jonathan Pollard home.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Rabbi Lau to Obama: Let Pollard Go

Monday, February 25th, 2013

February 25, 2013

To:
Mr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America

Honored President,

Divine Providence, acting through the American People, has appointed you to the most exalted office in the world: President of the United States. You stand at the head of the most powerful nation in the world whose strength is measured not only by its political, economic and military might, but also by its spiritual power as the flag bearer of liberty and freedom. At the eastern port of entry to the United States stands the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes for all who enter her gates, the longed-for national calling card, the yearning for freedom of all mankind. In the chronicles of history, the brilliant personalities of George Washington, President Abraham Lincoln and the visionary Martin Luther King, stand out. Their character and their fight for independence, liberty, and equality, light the way for your feet in forging another link in this illustrious chain.

My dear President, it is 28 years (nearly 10,000 days) that Jonathan Pollard has been incarcerated in an American prison. He was sentenced for a serious offense, passing classified information to a foreign country, albeit a friendly nation, the State of Israel. Those who were responsible for this affair have admitted their guilt and expressed honest and deep remorse for this serious breech, even if it were done with the intention of protecting the security of Israel.

Despite the admissions and the remorse, Jonathan continues to remain in jail for a period of time unparalleled in its harshness and for which there has been no precedent in all American history. In addition to the fact that the man is serving a disproportionately severe sentence, it is well known that his health is failing and his life expectancy is diminishing.

In the book of Samuel I in the Bible, Chapter 14, the People of Israel cry out: “Shall Jonathan die?” This outcry which refers to Jonathan, the son of King Saul, screams from the chambers of my own heart with regard to Jonathan Pollard, that he should merit to leave prison alive, and perhaps even be blessed with the most basic right which has been denied him up until now, fatherhood.

Honored President, after the requests of the president of our country Mr. Shimon Peres, and our prime minister Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu, and thousands of Israelis, as well as those of exalted American leaders such as Secretaries of State, Professor Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, I too add my voice to the many who are calling on you to hear and to respond positively to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who seeks only to live out the remainder of his life with his wife Esther in the State of Israel which has granted him citizenship. Your taking this action, Mr. President, shall be engraved upon the hearts of freedom-seekers throughout the world as a gesture worthy of being included in the chronicles of humanity.

With blessing,

Sincerely,

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv – Jaffa
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council

Pollard Petition Gets More than 60,000 Signatures

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The petition calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, which will be delivered to the visiting president on his visit to Israel, stood at 62 thousand signatures as of Monday morning.

The petition makers’ goal is 100 thousand signatures.

The petition text (click here to add your vote, and follow the petition debate on Facebook) reads:

The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500

Via Hand-delivery

Dear President Obama:

We, the People of Israel, look forward hopefully and with pleasure to your visit to our country.

In anticipation of this important occasion, we would like to appeal to you about a matter which is deeply troubling to every one of us.

Our President, Shimon Peres, and our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu have both issued formal appeals to you on behalf of the People of Israel, imploring you to release Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan Pollard has now served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons. A few short weeks from now, he will mark his 10,000th day in jail. Both he and Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse. We have learned our lesson and have been living with the painful consequences for nearly 3 decades.

We are encouraged by the appeals of Secretaries of State Kissinger and Schultz, among the many American officials calling for Jonathan Pollard’s release, including many who have first-hand knowledge of the case, because of the gross disproportionality of his sentence. Jonathan’s failing health lends urgency to their appeals.

We, The People, simple citizens of the State of Israel, sincerely hope that you will take this opportunity to respond positively to the many requests for Jonathan Pollard’s release, including those made by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres on our behalf.

We appeal to you as one who symbolizes the shared values of humanity, compassion and hope for a second chance, that both of our nations embrace. We implore you to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served without delay and allow him to live out his remaining days as a free man. It is our fervent hope and prayer that your upcoming trip to Israel will bring us the good news we have waited for, for so very long, and that this tragic and painful episode can finally be put to rest once and for all.

With blessing,

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pollard-petition-gets-more-than-60000-signatures/2013/02/25/

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