Esther Pollard Interview with Dov Hikind

NY Radio 570 AM
December 4, 1999

On the eve of the New York Pollard Press Conference, which took place on December 5, 1999, Esther Pollard was interviewed on the "Dov Hikind Show" by Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D- Brooklyn). The transcript of the interview follows:

Dov Hikind: Hi Esther! This is Dov, and this is this first time we are speaking to each other. I think the first thing I want to ask you Esther, we have a huge audience listening tonight and we have an important event planned for tomorrow. I have talked to Jonathan. I sometimes hear the sadness in his voice ...whether people care enough about him. What is your message out there to literally tens of thousands of people who are listening tonight?

Esther Pollard: To be very honest Dov, it would be remiss of us if we did not point out - our own enormous sorrow notwithstanding - that this case is NOT just about one man. This case concerns every honest, decent citizen in America, and this case concerns the entire Jewish world.

We met this week, Jonathan and myself, with Jonathan's Rav, Ha Rav Mordecai Eliahu. People may be familiar with him...

Dov Hikind: Sure.

Esther Pollard: ...he is known as the moral voice of Israel, and he is the former chief Rabbi of Israel. And he said to us that the worst thing about this case is that this administration is punishing all of Israel through Jonathan - collective punishment. He said, "as long as you are in prison Jonathan, all of MedinatYisrael (the State of Israel) is in prison with you, and the whole Jewish world is as well."

This case is about justice; this case is about truth; this case is about judicial equity; this case is about honesty and fairness - things that simply have not happened for Jonathan. And if they have not happened for Jonathan, who symbolizes Israel - he is after all, an Israeli agent - then they are not happening for the whole Jewish world.

Dov Hikind: So let me ask you a question, Esther. What needs to be done? I mean specifically, - I mean the Jewish organizations, the national Jewish organizations, are they there for Jonathan? Today? In your opinion? Are they fighting for Jonathan- into his 16th year in prison?

Esther Pollard: I think Dov, all you have to do is look at the list of sponsors for the rally tomorrow. The silence, or rather the absent names speak volumes ... Not a single Jewish defense organization is prepared to give up taking glossy photos with the President in order to open its mouth and ask for equal justice for the Jewish community.

Dov Hikind: And why is that? Esther, why is that? Is that the insecurity of Jews - in spite of all the freedom that we have in America? Maybe it is a message that we still don't feel comfortable in America - in spite of all the democracy.

Esther Pollard: You would probably know that better than I. As a Canadian citizen and an Israeli citizen, it boggles my mind that people have these kinds of fears.

The truth of the matter is, it is not as if the Jewish organizational leaders do not know the truth. They know the truth. They have made choices...

Perhaps one of the greatest- if I can point out one of the greatest frauds that is being perpetrated right now, is that there is a major Jewish organization that is fronting for Hillary Clinton. That is, basically carrying her water. They have set her up on Jerusalem, and now they are working behind the scenes to sabotage efforts for Jonathan.

Dov Hikind: Which organization is that?

Esther Pollard: The OU. (The Orthodox Union)

Dov Hikind: Okay.

Esther Pollard: Publicly they posture as if they are pro (Pollard) and behind the scenes they punish anyone who is willing to speak out for Jonathan.

Dov Hikind: I know, I saw an article in the Jewish FORWARD that the OU, when they were asked about their involvement on behalf of Pollard, one of the leaders of the organization said "Well, she (Hillary Clinton) is coming to our organization's dinner in December and we're going to ask her about Pollard." I was sort of taken aback by that. Did they have to wait until the dinner to ask about Pollard, or to get involved?

Esther Pollard: Dov, the FORWARD is public, so that is what they are saying publicly. Behind the scenes, my husband held a conversation with Mandy Ganchrow (of the OU) -a written conversation - in which he asked the OU to please write a letter to Hillary Clinton. He didn't even ask them to make it public - just to write a letter to Hillary Clinton restating their public position on the case- restating their call for clemency, which they have publicly made in the past. In other words, nothing new! Nothing new! And they flat-out refused!

Dov Hikind: That is amazing. Esther, let me ask you this, my sense is that people out there, the "amcha" (the grassroots), they care about Jonathan Pollard. Unfortunately they have not had enough leadership - people telling them what to do, when to do it. In other words giving them things to do to help Jonathan. You know we are doing this thing tomorrow. It is the second thing we have done recently, but I don't see enough happening on behalf of Jonathan in terms of leadership.

Esther Pollard: What you see the leadership doing basically, is subverting the energy. There is massive grassroots energy.

And this is actually one of the striking things about the whole Hillary Clinton race for -that is- candidacy for Senate, is that she has had very poor advice from her advisors. Because nobody is listening to the heartbeat of the grassroots.

Dov Hikind: Well hopefully, hopefully Hillary Clinton - and regardless of our feelings about her with regard to Israel, everyone will ultimately do what they think is best - but this is a great opportunity to take advantage of her candidacy: a) where do you stand on Jonathan Pollard? Tell us!

Esther Pollard: Can I perhaps put out another message via your radio program tonight? Hillary Clinton was silent recently in the face of a blood libel against the Jewish people in Ramallah....

Dov Hikind: Yes, in Ramallah.

Esther Pollard: ...when Suha Arafat spoke out. She has also been silent in the face of another blood libel against the Jewish people, namely the charge of treason against my husband. My husband has been falsely accused of treason, and along with him all of the Jewish people have been falsely accused. Because in American the legal charge of treason means that you have to have spied for an enemy in time of war. If Jonathan is guilty of treason, who is the enemy? and where is the war?

Now, in August of this year it was announced that Mrs. Clinton would be going to Israel. This is the time that our attorney Larry Dub began asking the American Embassy in Israel to set up a meeting for me with Mrs. Clinton. We have been asking for that meeting since August!

The Ambassador assured us in September that the request had been forwarded to the appropriate venue. We went right on asking, right until November (the time of Mrs. Clinton's visit), and were just ignored. I am asking for that meeting again now, through you Dov.

Dov Hikind: Absolutely, Esther. I think that that is very fair and that is a point that we will make. Hopefully, we can take advantage of this situation to get some action on behalf of Jonathan.

Esther, just let me ask you one more question before we go to callers who will have questions. How is Jonathan doing right now? You know, sometimes when I talk to him, my heart goes out, literally...

Esther Pollard: ... And it should. ...And it should.

Dov Hikind: How is he doing?

Esther Pollard: He is ill. He is very ill. He is not able to get proper medical care, and that is simply not going to happen while he is in prison, no matter how hard we have fought for it. He is in pain most of the time. When he is not in pain, he is fighting the effects of the only medication that is available, but it is not proper medication.

The other thing is the massive demoralization that has to take place. Dov, I go there. When you walk in where you have to go through security clearances, the "in" door is also the "out" door. I see as murderers walk out. I see as pedophiles walk out. I see as rapists walk out. They all go home to their families. And the only one, year in and year out, who is still there, is the one pure soul in a kipa- Jonathan Pollard.

Dov Hikind: Esther thank you very much...

Esther Pollard: Can I just remind people that whatever they haven't heard about tonight is on our web site And on that web site - (which is all one word, please) - is our e-mail address, if anyone wants to be added to our e-mail update list.

Dov Hikind: Esther, thank you very, very much.

Everyone has heard from the heart, Esther Pollard, the wife (of Jonathan Pollard). And you need to come out tomorrow at 11:00, 11:00 between 34th and 35th street. It's the least that any of us can do - is to do something publicly- to help Jonathan, to give him hope, to show him that people care... And if we do our part...

Esther Pollard: ...It's bigger than that, Dov!

Dov Hikind: ..then G-d will do His part!

Esther Pollard: Exactly! But it is not by accident that this is occurring on Chanukah! "The few" that have the possibility of bringing down the Almighty G-d's truth and justice to this world! You are the modern-day Maccabees! Please everyone! Turn out!

Dov Hikind: Thank you, Esther.