Further Comments on 'Israel Goes To The Hill For Pollard'

September 23, 1998

  1. The discrepancy between Minister Edelstein's account of his meeting with AIPAC and AIPAC's own description of the meeting is extremely troubling.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 of Israel.