Kol Yisrael Interview with Esther Pollard
As Jonathan Pollard Begins His 16th Year in Prison
Kol Yisrael Radio News - November 21, 2000
Former US naval intelligence officer, Jonathan Pollard, has begun the
16th year of his life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel.
Pollard's wife, Esther, says Jonathan's health is deteriorating in
prison. The Prime Minister's office says Israel continues to ask for his
release. Idele Ross reports:
Convicted U.S. spy Jonathan Pollard began the 16th year of a life
sentence in a North Carolina prison after filing a new motion in Federal
Court. The former Naval officer is seeking a new hearing because his new
lawyers say he was unjustly sentenced.
Esther Pollard married Jonathan while he was in jail and has ceasesly
campaigned for his release. She refuses to be comforted by official
statements that Israel has neither forgotten nor abandoned her husband.
Sixteen years ago this week, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who was at the
time the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, met with his US
counterpart in America to discuss the newly-breaking Pollard case. It
was at that meeting, 16 years ago, that Mr. Barak set the policy of
abandonment that has continued to this day.
To this very day, Jonathan Pollard remains abandoned in the extreme by
the Government of Israel that enlisted him to work in America. Jonathan
receives no assistance - legally, medically, morally, financially - no
assistance whatsoever from the Government of Israel.
Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of turning classified
intelligence information over to Israel. Many U.S. and Israeli law
experts have commented on the harshness of the life sentence, noting
that Pollard is the only person in US history to receive a life sentence
for spying for an ally. However Defense Secretary at the time, Casper
Weinberger, was quoted as saying that Pollard had done more damage to
the United States than several Soviet spies. According to Esther
Pollard, her husband's new legal case refutes such claims.
Jonathan on his own, together with his attorneys, Elliot Lauer and
Jacques Semmelman of New York, has filed a legal case in America. The
case unequivocally demonstrates that Jonathan was unjustly sentenced on
the basis of falsehood and lies.
It would be very easy for Mr. Barak to go to Mr. Clinton and say,
"Listen we're supposed to be good friends and strong allies, and [this
new legal case shows] our agent was sentenced on the basis of falsehood
and lies. [Moreover, he was prosecuted] on the basis of documents that
Israel provided, which you promised not to use against him, but you
did. Now let him go. You've done this evil to him for fifteen years,
now let him go." That simply hasn't happened.
In an official response, the Prime Minister's office says efforts continue
to procure Pollard's early release but cannot publicize the details of
those efforts. Esther charges that both Prime Minister Ehud Barak and U.S.
President Bill Clinton refuse to deal with the case.
The Government's claim that they are working behind the scenes for
Jonathan's release for 16 years, is laughable.
I'd like to repeat that in approximately 60 days President Clinton will
be leaving office. He has ducked the Pollard case for 8 years. He has
been reviewing it for 8 years. He promised that he would do a speedy
review after Wye, in 1998 - after reneging on his promise to free
Jonathan as an integral part of the Wye Accords.
Mr. Clinton has, over the years, repeatedly broken faith with Israel and
Jonathan Pollard is just one example of it. Israel has never protested.
Do you think that a new American administration will make a difference?
As long as the Government of Israel keeps signaling to Washington that
Jonathan Pollard is not important, and that Washington can continue to
exploit him for other political ends, the abandonment of Jonathan
Pollard will continue.
It will not make any difference whether there is a new administration
or not. We've been through this song-and-dance routine about waiting for
a change of administration 4 times, through 4 different administrations!
Jonathan's health is deteriorating, says Esther, who will be visiting
him at the North Carolina prison tomorrow. She charges that Pollard is not
receiving appropriate treatment in prison for a severe gall bladder
condition and a number of other medical problems.
See Also: Jonathan Pollard Begins 16th Year In Prison Today: J4JP Release