Re: Yom Kippur Plea: Show Compassion, Pardon Pollard

October 9, 1997 - Esther Pollard

Dear Rabbi Greenberg,

Why must a Jew prostrate himself before the "czar" to plead for the same treatment that other Americans expect as their constitutional right? More to the point, have you forgotten that over 200 years ago, President George Washington himself guaranteed our Jewish community full equality before the law? Therefore, if the American system of justice didn't work for my husband because he was a Jew who spied for Israel, then each and every American Jew is threatened.

"Heroism" is not an issue in the Pollard case. Those people who have used spurious excuses such as this to avoid involvement, have done so for their own self-serving reasons and have effectively evaded confronting the real issue of this case, namely EQUAL JUSTICE.

Moreover, those who blame my husband for bringing to the surface a pre-existant anti-semitism that permeates certain branches of the American federal bureaucracy, are simply evading their responsibility by blaming the victim.

As to other legal avenues that my husband should have availed himself of, Jonathan has certainly expressed the wish that he had found a legal way of acting on his concern for Israel's security. He simply couldn't find one, at the time, and acted instinctively to what he perceived as a threat to Israel's survival. He knows this was wrong and he has expressed his remorse on this matter on innumerable occasions. But when all is said and done Rabbi, you cannot judge a man until you have walked in his shoes. The following anecdote may be illuminating:

Jonathan asked a very prominent American Jewish leader who visited him in prison, "What would you have done if I had come to you for help to legally expose the undeclared intelligence embargo against Israel?" Without blinking, the Jewish leader declared, "I'd have turned you in to the FBI at once!"

Finally Rabbi Greenberg, equating President Clinton with the King of Kings is deeply offensive to self-respecting Jews. An authentic Jewish perspective acknowledges that the ultimate source of power in this world is the true King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed Be He. It follows from this that the United States doesn't have the "power" to hold my husband in prison; and Israel doesn't have the "power" to free him. Only the true King of Kings holds that power; and all He asks is that honorable Jews step forward to be His agents towards this end.

Jonathan and I appreciate your good intent in writing "A Yom Kippur Plea..." However, we cannot endorse this article as it embodies the worst aspects of "shtadlanut" mentality.

Yours truly,
Esther Pollard

  • See also Pollard, American Jews and Dual Loyalty by Rabbi Avi Weiss