This poem has been issued to mark the start of Jonathan Pollard's

13th year

of incarceration:

November 21, 1997.

                We failed to redeem our brother;
                We always thought someone ought to,
                But not us.
                So we turned our back,
                Went calmly on with our lives.
                And we left the job for some other.

                His cries continued to reach us
                From the depths.
                The cause was just.
                Equal Justice for all, isn't that our legacy?
                But fear overcame conscience,
                And moral lassitude held sway.
                Why risk illusions of position and power
                To help the one "who got himself into this"
                After all.

                Jewish money-making machines hummed on
                Oiling government coffers.
                Paralysis stilled the Jewish heart and
                Rigor mortis stifled the Jewish soul.
                Through the Halls of Power, bold and brash,
                Jewish leaders tiptoed
                More quietly than mice.
                And came away with glossy photos.
                Smiles and handshakes.
                More illusions to fuel the American Dream
                But never with our brother.

                Thirteen years go by. Keep turning the pages.
                Now our brother's cries are deafening
                And far more threatening: "It's not about me any more!
                It's about all of us! Save me to save yourself!"
                And we know it's true
                But the thought is too terrible.

                So we let it go.
                Close our eyes. Harden what's left of our hearts.
                Support the Conference.
                Give to ADL.
                Give to AJC.
                Give to Wiesenthal.
                Don't think too much!
                And never never ask what they should give to us.
                They have fine words and glossy photos to offer
                But never our brother.

                Over time, it's unavoidable.
                Realization dawns with cruel insistence:
                Our brother was never a burden for us,
                Nor is he a task.
                Only a test before us.
                For our nation. For ourselves.
                We failed the ultimate test of our faith
                As guarantors for each other.

                With or without us,
                Redemption still must come,
                For that is the way the world works
                According to G-d's plan.
                But what we have lost in the process
                By refusing to participate
                Cannot be measured, cannot be changed.

                We perverted our own souls
                Defiled our hearts.
                The legacy we've created
                Was meant to be an edifice of Truth and Justice
                To sustain our offspring and our nation
                For generations to come.
                But, we did not build. We did not cry out.
                We used our silence as a weapon,
                Foolishly believing we were the factor
                That would decide our brother's fate.

                All that we have decided
                Is all that we have forged.
                And now all that we leave behind us is
                A legacy of shame.

    Although this poem addresses the American Jewish Community, it reflects the ongoing attitude and moral lassitude of the Government of Israel as well, which betrayed and abandoned Jonathan Pollard over 12 years ago.

    Permission to reprint granted courtesy of Justice For Jonathan Pollard.

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