The Pollard Affair - Not Fair

October 22, 1996 - Si Frumkin

I got a remarkable letter from Barbara Boxer, my U.S. Senator from California. She acknowledges the letter I have written on behalf of Jonathan Pollard and informs me that President Clinton had decided not to reduce his sentence. The truly remarkable part of the letter is in its last paragraph and I quote it: "...if there is evidence that Mr. Pollard is not being treated fairly relative to others in his position, I would be interested in such information."

This is my response to Senator Boxer. I hope that this information will indeed be of interest to her, although it has already been sent to her office - and to other Senators, Congressmen and assorted political big shots - again and again by myself and tens of thousands of American voters.

Dear Senator Boxer,

Jonathan Pollard is indeed not being treated fairly relative to others in his position.'

It isn't fair

that he was sentenced to life imprisonment in a closed hearing after being promised by the prosecution that in exchange for a guilty plea, he would be given a minimal sentence, and that his former wife would not go to prison. The government lied. He was given the maximum sentence allowable and his former wife was sentenced to 5 years for the crime of living in the same apartment with him. She was charged with knowing that he had brought and stored classified materials there.

It isn't fair

that prior to the hearing then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger wrote a still secret letter to the judge in which he accused the Pollards of being the greatest traitors in American history and said that he would approve their execution. It is also believed that he told the African-American judge that Israel provided arms to South Africa's apartheid regime, information that was sure to prejudice the judge against Pollard. It is interesting to note that Weinberger accused the Pollards of treason - something they were never officially accused of.

It is even more interesting that after President Bush issued a blanket pardon to Weinberger for any offenses he may have committed in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal. Weinberger, now no longer jeopardized by anything Pollard might reveal, has now said that Pollard

served long enough and should be freed.

So much for being a traitor, deserving the death penalty and so on...

It isn't fair

that after the trial, Pollard was committed, for over a year, to an institution for the criminally insane, surrounded by demented and dangerous psychotics. It was a time spent in hell and no "others in his position" have ever been subjected to anything like it. He was eventually freed after a Congressman interceded on his behalf and asked for an explanation of his inhumane treatment. To this day there has not been an explanation why this admittedly sane and intelligent man had this done to him.

It isn't fair

that Pollard is now in his 11th year of imprisonment, most of which he spent in solitary, 6 floors underground, while similar spies have been usually freed after a couple of years.

Some of the "others in his position" are:

  • S. Baba: spied for South Africa, served

    5 months

    in 1982
  • S. Scranage : spied for Guyana, served

    8 months

    in 1986-87
  • S. Morrison: spied for Great Britain, served

    3 months

    in 1985-86
  • T. Dole: spied for South Africa, served

    5 years

    in 1989-94
  • A. Helmy: spied for Egypt, served

    2 years

    in 1992-94

    There are others, but I think you get the point.

    It isn't fair

    that in 1996, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Michael Schwartz, a non-Jew, was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia for two years and was punished by being discharged from the Navy and losing his pension,

    but received no prison sentence or other punishment.

    It isn't fair

    that while the U.S. has successfully pressured Israel into releasing hundreds of convicted murderers from prison in the interests of peace and collaboration, it still refuses to release a man whose actions did not harm the U.S. or its citizens and, in fact, might have saved American lives by releasing to Israel information it was supposed to receice officially, but which was being capriciously, maliciously and malevolently withheld from it.

    So, dear Senator, here are just a few examples of unfairness. There are others, but I know that you are a busy person and may not have time to read any more. I just hope that you will find the time to read this and that they will served to pique your interest.

    Si Frumkin

  • Si Frumkin

    is the director of the Southern California Council for Soviet Jewry