The Jewish Voice and Opinion - January 8, 1999
by Susan L. Rosenbluth, Editor

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, whose case is supposed to be reviewed by President Bill Clinton this month, believes he has not "a snowball's chance in hell" of being freed unless he has the support of the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League.

Why he feels he needs these three groups when he has received overwhelming support from the major organizations to which Jews actually belong-including all religious branches of Judaism-is a mystery.

"If people want to do something to help me, they have to understand that the President only listens to a select few in the Jewish community-those three groups. This is not going to turn out well unless there is a massive intervention by the American-Jewish establishment to demand that I get a fair chance to defend myself," he said.

Bosnians, Not Pollard

In fact, the AJCommittee has reaffirmed its 1993 position "that the White House review the appropriateness of Mr. Pollard's life sentence." AJCongress is on record saying it would be "appropriate for [Pollard] to be paroled."

ADL, however, maintains that it takes no position on the Pollard case because several reviews during the 13 years of his incarceration have found "no evidence of any anti-Semitism."

"A need for anti-Semitism has never been evident in the ADL advocacy on behalf of numerous other groups, such as the Kurds or the Bosnian Muslims. Only in my case," said Mr. Pollard.


In fact, no one has even confirmed ADL's basic assessment of Mr. Pollard's case. A document drawn up by Mr. Pollard's lawyers was given to the ADL in 1993, but Mr. Pollard believes it was quickly "buried."

"Hardly anybody in the ADL to this day even knows of its existence," he said.

The document is a plea to the National Executive Committee of the ADL to support Mr. Pollard's petition to Mr. Clinton for commutation of his sentence to time served.


Some time before the document was introduced, the ADL evidently composed a policy background report (PBR) which it, too, submitted to its executive committee. One of the options suggested in the PBR is that ADL write a letter to Mr. Clinton urging prompt review of the case "without requesting commutation."

Mr. Pollard's document found that "puzzling." "It is public knowledge that Mr. Clinton has told the President's Conference he would personally review the case. Why then an 'option' gratuitously reminding the President that ADL is carefully not suggesting commutation? What is ADL suggesting: That the President review the matter and deny commutation?" asked the document.

The very first paragraph of the ADL's PBR declared that the organization had previously decided it "would be inappropriate" for it to speak out in behalf of commutation for Mr. Pollard "in the absence of convincing evidence that Pollard's case was tainted by anti-Semitism or an anti-Israel bias."

Mr. Pollard's document points out that ADL's chartered purpose goes beyond fighting anti-Semitism. It explicitly undertakes to oppose "human injustice." Causes championed by ADL have included the unjust imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and civil rights for every down-trodden group.

"Why is it that in order to justify an ADL effort in behalf of a Jew denied justice, anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism must be shown to be present? Certainly neither anti-Semitism nor bigotry toward Israel is present with respect to the Haitians, Somalians, Bosnians, Japanese-Americans, and other minority groups who suffer 'human injustice'-yet ADL is in there punching," said the document.

No "Non-Involvement"

In the same opening statement, the ADL's PBR noted that, over the years, Jewish groups, such as B'nai B'rith, AJCommittee, and "several other organizations" had begun to support Mr. Pollard. In the ADL's words, the groups had moved away from "non-involvement" in the Pollard affair.

Mr. Pollard's document pointed out that, rather than a mere "several organizations," he was supported by a virtual "groundswell of Jewish organizations" who had become involved in his case. By 1993, there was a statement signed on his behalf by 560 rabbis and 176 national and local rabbinic, Christian, and Jewish lay organizations, all asking for commutation of his excessive sentence. In Israel, the two chief rabbis, a vast majority of Members of Knesset, and virtually every mayor of every major city has asked for mercy for him.

The ADL's PBR discounts the outpouring of support with the statement: "There is no question that Jonathan Pollard's supporters have done a very effective job in arousing sympathy for him and applying pressure on ADL and other Jewish organizations to act on his behalf."

Mr. Pollard's document maintained that his supporters have merely brought the facts to the public. "Is the ADL criticizing such actions as improper 'pressure?'" asked the document, adding that Mr. Pollard's were not seeking "sympathy." "They are seeking justice, which we are commanded to pursue."

Fair or Biased

Section four of the ADL's PBR stated that it intended to "help foster a fair, objective, and balanced debate" within the executive committee.

Mr. Pollard's attorneys, however, found the section replete with "anti-Pollard bias."

For example, the ADL report maintained that the punishment should be the same whether the individual spied for an ally or an enemy.

"This is the equivalent of what Caspar Weinberger stated in his still confidential, pre-sentencing memo submitted to Judge Aubrey Robinson which falsely charged Pollard with the crime of 'treason' (spying for an enemy). Pollard was never accused of treason. No one can measure the extent to which Judge Robinson was influenced by this outrageous charge," said Mr. Pollard's document, adding that to find Mr. Weinberger's charge repeated in an ADL report purporting to assure an objective, fair debate "is distressing."


Further, Mr. Pollard's document maintained it is "paranoid" to suggest, as ADL did, that the US must operate under the assumption that Israel passed along the intelligence to "unfriendly hands" without any evidence to support such an assumption.

Mr. Pollard's document suggested that the ADL executive committee check with then-Ambassador Meier Rosenne about Mr. Weinberger's statement that "Pollard should have been shot;" with Lawrence J. Korb, director of The Brookings Institution and Under Secretary of Defense under Mr. Weinberger at the time, for the statement that Mr. Weinberger "had an almost visceral dislike of Israel and the special place it occupies in our foreign policy. In my opinion, the severity of the sentence that Jonathan received was out of proportion to his alleged offense;" and with Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who sat on the National Security Council with Mr. Weinberger and was "a witness to his consistent anti-Israel positions."

"Even a cursory examination of sentences handed down for unlawfully turning over sensitive US documents to foreign governments shows the vast difference between punishment meted out for treason (sharing with an enemy) and punishment for sharing with allied nations. Asserting the contrary, as the PBR does, is misleading," said Mr. Pollard's document.

In 1992, even Mr. Weinberger said he had "quietly removed his objections to executive commutation."


The ADL's PBR went on to suggest that Mr. Pollard and his then-wife stood to gain "in excess of $500,000 over the expected life of the conspiracy" from Israel.

Mr. Pollard's document explained that he was not a mercenary and did not spy for the State for money. He was paid $25,000 for operational expenses [see Facts of the Case and addendum] plus the unsolicited gift of a ring valued at approximately $7,000, given to Mr. Pollard as a gift for his wife.

Just this past year, five years after the document was submitted to the ADL, Mr. Pollard was declared a regular agent for the State of Israel, thus obviating the issue of money. [In other words the fact that Pollard was a bona fide Israeli agent removes any question about mercenary motives. By definition, it is impossible for an agent to also be a mercenary at the same time.]

"Pollard spied for the state of Israel solely because he believed the state required the intelligence concerning nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare which he provided to protect Israel from enemy forces intent on the annihilation of the state," said the document.

Years Pass

The tragedy of the next paragraph of Mr. Pollard's document is that it shows how long the Jewish community has been trying to win his freedom. The ADL's report noted that Mr. Pollard would "obtain parole when he becomes legally eligible to apply for parole in November 1995."

Mr. Pollard's document responded that "if there were any sincerity in this suggestion, it would include a statement that the ADL intends to support parole at that time."

In 1993, when this interchange transpired, Mr. Pollard was already in his eighth year of prison. He believed the ADL did not mention helping him with his parole because "it would be indefensible to require two more years of imprisonment when Pollard is already in his eighth year of incarceration, which already far exceeds the term of imprisonment of any other person who spied for an ally, and in solitary confinement."

The document recalled the statement of Mr. Pollard's prosecuting attorney that "this fellow would never see the light of day," meaning parole would never be granted.

False Statements

Another section of the ADL report suggested a connection between Mr. Pollard's case and an unrelated scandal involving a former Israeli Air Force general, based on the fact that the general's attorney also owned the Washington apartment in which Mr. Pollard's stolen documents were found. The ADL admitted "a connection between the two cases has never been established," but Mr. Pollard's document maintained that mentioning the two cases together "is a mean-spirited innuendo reminiscent of McCarthyism."

Although the ADL maintained that Mr. Pollard had not shown adequate remorse, his document confirmed the numerous letters and affidavits of people who said he was filled with remorse for what he had done.


The "ADL's silence on Pollard is the loudest voice of all," said his document.