September 23, 1998
- The discrepancy between Minister Edelstein's account of his meeting
with AIPAC and AIPAC's own description of the meeting is extremely
- Minister Edelstein's portrayal of the meeting with AIPAC is
reminiscent of the Government's misrepresentation of Minister
Sharansky's meetings with Al Gore and Sandy Berger. In all of these
meetings, Pollard was NOT a focus, but merely incidental. Nevertheless,
the Government portrayed the meetings as if they were serious
initiatives on behalf of Pollard.
- It is misleading for Minister Edelstein to claim to be imploring
American legislators not to attack Mr. Clinton if he decides to free
Pollard. This seems to imply that there is some behind-the-scenes
activity to promote this change in the President's attitude. But this is
not the case at all! Israel has not made any effort to attempt to convince the President to change his position on Pollard - and as Minister Edelstein freely admitted, Israel has no plan to make any such effort in the immediate future.
- Minister Edelstein left Israel knowing full well that the ground
work had not been done at the appropriate levels to pave the way for
his initiative, and that the Government planned no follow-up to give
it teeth. In spite of the many requests that he do so, Edelstein
declined to press either of these issues with the Prime Minister before
leaving for Washington. Instead he agreed to participate in a mission
that could neither succeed in bringing Pollard home, nor in evoking
positive constructive action on his behalf in Washington.
- On Capitol Hill, the Edelstein initiative was perceived as so weak and
ineffective that not a single American legislator that he met with would
allow his/her name to be publicly mentioned as part of the initiative.
- The recycled pledge by B'nai Brith "to do whatever was necessary to
help win the release of Pollard" that Edelstein points to as one of the
accomplishments of his initiative in Washington, is one that has been
oft-repeated throughout the years, with little practical effect. It
certainly does not stand in the place of effective and serious action on
the part of the Government of Israel.
- As a former prisoner himself, Minister Edelstein has often been
quoted as saying that no one knows better than the prisoner what will
help him and no one knows better than the prisoner what will work to get
him out. It is therefore particularly disappointing that the minister
completely ignored Jonathan Pollard's request for a quiet
well-coordinated, serious initiative, at the appropriate level, with
full authorization to negotiate, and actively supported by the Prime
Minister and key ministers.
- Minister Edelstein indicated that he had no expectation that his
efforts would evoke any immediate relief for Jonathan Pollard. And if
after 13 years in prison Jonathan Pollard expected better than that, the
minister responds by portraying Pollard as unreasonable, and "desperate".
Apparently 13 years is not immediate enough for the current Government