Barak Ignores Govt. Policy, Forgets Pollard is Israeli Agent

Claims Case is "an internal American issue"

Media Release - July 16, 1999
Source: Yediot Achronot

Prefacing Note - Background History

Following Jonathan Pollard's 1985 arrest for espionage on behalf of Israel, the Government adopted a policy of implausible deniability by denying Jonathan Pollard was her agent. For more than a decade Israeli Government officials claimed that the Pollard Case was "an internal American issue" and used this excuse to justify their inaction, abandoning Pollard to his fate.

Years of struggle and several law suits brought by Pollard to Israeli Supreme Court forced the Government of Israel to accept responsibility. Consequently, in November of 1995 Israel granted Jonathan Pollard Israeli citizenship and in May of 1998 official government policy was formulated. The Government of Israel publicly acknowledged Jonathan Pollard as an Israeli agent, committed to work diligently for his immediate release, and accepted full responsibility for him.

Barak's attempt to return to a policy of implausible deniability was so egregiously out of step with history that within hours of the publication of the following article, Barak's office issued a denial of the story and insisted that Barak would indeed bring up the issue of Pollard's release with Clinton. (See Media Release, July 15 1999: Israeli Govt. Dispels Confusion over Pollard in Washington). This midstream switch clearly signaled that a credible initiative for the release of an Israeli agent was not on Barak's agenda. Acceptance of government policy in word while undermining it in deed shames both the Government and people of Israel who have abandoned Jonathan Pollard to languish in an American prison for 14 years for his service on behalf of Israel. Here is the Yediot Article:

Release of Pollard is an "Internal American Issue"

Yediot Achronot Article Page 7 - July 15, 1999
by Nachum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer

Intro: The Prime Minister is not intending to bring up the Pollard issue in his meeting with President Clinton. Unlike Netanyahu who authorized ministerial visits to Pollard in prison, Barak claims : "A public approach only hurts the chances of the Jewish American spy for release."

Prime Minister Ehud Barak has decided that he will not request the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from American President Bill Clinton, but rather that he will leave the issue to "internal deliberation by the American Government".

Background: Barak and the former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had strongly differing opinions on the question of how to deal with the issue of the release of Pollard from an American prison.

Barak claimed that the public approach of Netanyahu, during whose term several ministers " made a pilgrimage" to the prison cell of the Jewish American spy only hurt Pollard's chances for release. In his opinion, the issue should be dealt with secretly and "should not be turned into part of the Middle East package". During his time as leader of the opposition he even refused to sign a joint letter with Netanyahu to President Bill Clinton which called upon him to release Pollard.

Yesterday Pollard's attorney, Larry Dub tried to bring some last minute pressure so that the issue might yet be raised in the Barak-Clinton meeting.

Attorney Dub sent a letter to the head of Barak's office, Yossi Kochik, in which he wrote that he was aware that the Americans were expecting the issue of Pollard's release to be raised with Clinton. "I fear that we may not have another opportunity such as this to free Jonathan Pollard," Dub wrote to Kochik.

Justice for Jonathan Pollard Note:

The Prime Minister's office issued a denial of this report within hours of its publication in attempt to stem the damage. See Media Release: July 15, 1999, "Israeli Govt. Dispels Confusion over Pollard in Washington".