An Open Letter to Newt Gingrich

The Jewish Press - Friday, November 27, 1998 - Page 94

Dear Mr. Gingrich,

I read in last week's paper how you had joined with other Republican Congressional leaders in opposing the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison. You and your Republican colleagues described him as a "traitor" and his offense of spying for Israel as "treason".

But Pollard was not convicted of treason, he was convicted only of espionage, a distinction that was hammered home by Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams in his dissenting opinion in Pollard's 1992 appeal; US V. Pollard, 295 US App DC7 at 31-32, 959 F2d 1011 at 1035-1036. Treason, as you certainly know already, is defined clearly in the U.S. Constitution, and it is "only" the giving of aid to "the enemy" or the waging of "war" against the United States. In characterizing Pollard's behavior a "treason" it is clear that you have characterized the State of Israel as an "enemy" of the United States.

Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, Americans caught spying for the Soviet Union were not convicted of treason but rather of espionage, like Pollard. For you to recast the technical description of his offense indicates that you believe that Israel is more of an enemy than the USSR ever was.

I have been a Republican for a very long time, and even a participant in Republican outreach to Jewish voters, but I must reconsider the wisdom of this in view of your statement on behalf of the entire Republican leadership casting Israel as our enemy and clandestine work for Israel as equivalent to levying war against the United States.

Bernard J. Sussman
Bethesa, Md.

See Also:
  • The Pollard Debacle: The Unseemly Role of Newt Gingrich
  • Jonathan Pollard and the GOP - Editorial