Pollard's List - The Seamiest Side of the Pollard Affair

February 9, 1996 - Rabbi Abner Weiss - The Los Angeles Jewish Times

A well-documented and frightening book tracking U.S. Government attitudes to its Jewish citizens and the State of Israel appeared recently. "The Secret War Against The Jews - How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People", discloses that the FBI conducted illegal surveillance of American Jews who were thought to be supporters of the State of Israel.

The authors of the book, John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, and Mark Aaron, state that an Intelligence source wrote them that "the arrest of [Jonathan] Pollard [in 1985] was used as a pretext to expand the supposedly closed down, illegal cover operation by the FBI called 'SCOPE' whose purpose was to compile lists of Jews in government, research and institutional leadership..."

This information about the FBI Jewish list adds painful significance to Pollard's assertion that, during his interrogation, the government showed him lists of American Jews, asking him to finger those who were suspected of aiding him. In 1987, Pollard wrote to Robert Cohn, editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light: "The authorities threatened me seventeen months ago when I refused to cooperate with them by implicating a truly remarkable list of prominent Jews in my activities. I wasn't asked for proof of their association with Israeli intelligence, mind you, just for a mark next to their name."

The illegal FBI surveillance of American Jews and the paranoid witch hunt for Pollard's non-existent American Jewish co-conspirators makes me wonder whether the subsequent unsubstantiated leaks by the intelligence community, suggesting continuing sinister anti-American activities by Pollard, were not intended to muzzle him and coverup the illegal activities of the FBI. Is this why they made sure his Draconian life sentence was not commuted?

As an American citizen, I am horrified at the suggestion that the government keeps list of prominent (and not so prominent) Jews, and that these lists were used in debriefing Pollard. I am personally offended by the double standard used for Jews which is implied by such lists, whose existence is now confirmed by the former U.S. Intelligence officials who spoke with Loftus and Aaron. Jews have had long experience of double standards. However, we thought America was different. We did not believe that the United States would be paranoid about its Jewish citizens and have a list of potential subversives based solely upon their religion and support of the State of Israel.

Ten years after Pollard's cruel incarceration, it is time for our intelligence community to come clean. Other lapses of judgment and illegal activities have already been disclosed. It is also time for President Clinton to reconsider his previous refusal to commute Pollard's sentence to time served. After all, it was his predecessor who pardoned Caspar Weinberg in the twilight of his presidency, thus preventing the truth to emerge in a court of law. We expect Bill Clinton to have the courage to do what is right for Pollard. We also expect to investigate Pollard's list and to do what is right for the Jewish citizens of this great democracy where all citizens are supposed to be treated equally.