Double Standard Condemns Pollard

April 28, 1997 - Sidney Zion - New York Daily News

Passover ends tomorrow, but there is no exodus in sight for Jonathan Pollard, now serving his 12th year in federal prison for committing espionage on behalf of Israel.

The lethal wiring of the double-cross to the double standard burned Pollard with a life sentence for a crime spying for an ally that never sent anybody up the river for more than a ten-spot and seldom anything close.

Indeed, there's a guy walking the streets today who never spent a moment in the can, although charged with acts of espionage on the nose with those lodged against Pollard. He is Michael Schwartz, who as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy allegedly delivered military secrets to Saudi Arabia between 1991 and 1994.

Schwartz got the kid-glove treatment from the Navy: he pleaded guilty on a couple of charges lesser than espionage and was set free with nothing more than a "less than dishonorable" discharge.

The only news I have to offer today is that there is a Michael Schwartz. His arrest, his plea, his sentence went virtually unnoticed by the media and brought forth no attacks on the Saudis from any corner, including the White House, the State Department, the CIA, the Congress and the Jewish establishment.

Pollard became an overnight villain, a synonym for "dual loyalty", the bugaboo that has shivered American Jews since the advent of the State of Israel.

The difference? Schwartz, despite his name, is a gentile. Pollard is a Jew, who worked for Naval intelligence inside the Defense Department. Schwartz allegedly spied for our oil ally, Saudi Arabia. Pollard spied for Israel.

And what did Pollard do that warranted a life sentence? He delivered classified information to Israel that America was duty-bound to deliver under various agreements with the Israeli government. Such as information about Syria's military capabilities and Iraq's germ warfare weaponry.

Caspar Weinberger, then-Secretary of Defense, did not want Israel to k now these things; and Cappy, the grandson of a Jew who never forgave his grandpa for the genes, sent in the poison pill to the judge who sentenced Pollard.

In a secret memo to the court, Weinberger called Pollard "the worst spy in American history", and charged him with "treason".

The Justice Department, in one of the worst double-crosses in American history went along with this lie. Pollard had pleaded guilty to turning over classified information to the Israeli - nothing within light years of treason in return for a "substantial sentence", which he had every reason to believe meant a maximum of 10 years, given the way it had always gone for those spying on behalf of our allies.

Instead, he got life. And it now appears that he was the victim of mistaken identity. Aldrich Ames, the CIA agent who later confessed to causing the deaths of many American agents inside the Soviet Union, had apparently deflected suspicion of himself to Pollard. This might have been why Weinberger wrote the memo that buried Pollard.

Of course, Weinberger would never admit such a possibility. What troubles me is the cold-blooded refusal of Bill Clinton to let Jonathan Pollard go.

Each time the plea comes from Pollard's lawyers, Clinton cites "intelligence reports" that Pollard remains a security risk.

It's nonsense. Pollard has been out of any kind of loop since 1985. The Jewish establishment, which ought to be screaming against this injustice, remains complacent.

And Bibi Netanyahu, who could make this release happen in a trice, talks but does nothing. Clinton demands that Bibi release Palestinian murderers, and Bibi complies. Do you think Clinton, if pressed, would do less for Jonathan Pollard?