Pardon Me: "Only A Pawn In Their Game"
New Jersey Jewish News Editorial - January 25,2001
Before leaving office, Bill Clinton ended his own legal difficulties and those of a number of other Americans fortunate enough to have been granted pardons or clemency (Full disclosure: a group of New York men convicted of fraud and embezzlement were pardoned after intervention by the Skverer rebbe, Dovid Twersky, a relation of this newspaper's editor.)
For those who understood the battle over the former president's
indiscretions as a continuation of the cultural war of the 1960's,
there was further evidence in Clinton's pardon of Susan Rosenberg,
who as a member of the radical left Weather Underground was found
guilty of participating in a 1981 bank robbery during which a guard
and two policemen were killed.
We also took note this week of the death of Bryon De La Beckwith,
the radical right racist who killed Medgar Evers Jr. in 1963. (He
was also caught once in New Orleans en route to kill the local
director of the Anti-Defamation League.)
In his powerful song about the Evers assassination, "Only a Pawn in
Their Game," Bob Dylan took the view that folks like De La Beckwith
were small potatoes, puppets manipulated by powerful interests
committed to preserving the Old South. Dylan's concluding lines
can now be read with a sense of closure:
The day Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught,
they lowered him down like a king.
And when the shadowy sun
sets on the one
who fired the gun,
they'll see by his grave
carved next to his name
an epitaph plain,
Only a pawn in their game.'
We don't have closure, though; Clinton did not grant clemency to
Jonathan Pollard, the American Jew and former naval intelligence
officer convicted of passing classified material to Israel. If
someone is "a pawn in their game," it is surely Pollard. Of
course, our rabbis teach that there is no messenger for an evil
deed; i.e., each one of us must take responsibility for our
actions. No one argues that Pollard was innocent of the specific
charges levied against him. But he has already served 15 years
behind bars. His numerous foes in the federal government argue
disingenuously that the damage he caused to this country requires
him to spend the rest of his life in prison. But there is little
evidence presented to substantiate the extent of the damage to
which these intelligence sources allude.
Instead, the evidence points to a classic squeeze play by elements
in the intelligence and defense communities unsympathetic to
Israel, who believe there is a "Mr. X," a highly-placed Israeli
operative in Washington, DC, who fed Israel the code numbers of the
documents that they then tasked Pollard with retrieving and copying
for them. Pollard won't get out until he names Mr. X. For his
part, Pollard says Mr. X doesn't exist.
Clinton dangled Pollard's release at the Wye Rive conference and
then reneged, caving in to CIA pressure. Clinton's decision to
duck here was a profile in cravenness. We hope Pollard gets out
before we read his epitaph.
Was there another U.S. spy tasking Pollard? - Mr. X' exposed
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