"Jonathan Pollard remains in prison because of his friends, not his enemies." These words were recently spoken to me by a senior U.S. Senator. He was kind and sympathetic but emphatic that "...as long as Jewish leaders do not support justice for Jonathan Pollard, there is really very little I can do." Then he declared, "Mrs. Pollard, I meet frequently with Jewish leaders from the US and from Israel. In all the years that your husband has been in prison, not a single Jewish leader has ever mentioned his name to me in any context."
A shockingly different response came from a former head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, one who knows full well that there is no reason for Jonathan's continued incarceration. "Jewish leaders speak to me about your husband all the time," this US Senator told me. "They tell me not to get involved; to leave your husband where he is. They are very angry at him; they blame him for his own plight." This senator had begun our meeting quite bluntly: "I used to support your husband's release. I no longer do." When I pressed him about the issue of equal justice for all Americans and the need to restore integrity to the American system of Justice, he dismissed me. "Until you can get the Jewish leaders behind Jonathan Pollard, there is nothing I can do." End of the meeting.
Non-Jewish leaders of all persuasions repeatedly tell us that they would love to help, wish they could assist with lobbying efforts, but - here we go again - "as long as the Jewish community is not behind Jonathan Pollard, there is nothing we can do." They believe that the indifference of the Jewish leaders reflects the consensus of the Jewish community at large. That is not the case, but that is the reality we are forced to deal with. Instead of galvanizing the community's support for Jonathan Pollard, Jewish leaders have spent 18 years dissipating it.
Eighteen years ago - only 6 days after Jonathan was sentenced to life - American Jewish leaders promised the US government in writing never to intervene on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. This may be the only promise Jewish leaders have made and actually kept! In 18 years they have done virtually nothing to assist in Jonathan's struggle for equal justice. In fact, in the nearly 2 decades that Jonathan has been in prison, his name has never been on the official agenda of any Jewish leader who visited the White House. A file of information that Jonathan recently received via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents this betrayal. We have recently begun to publish some of this material on the J4JP web site at http://www.jonathanpollard.org.
But it was not just American Jewish leaders who betrayed Jonathan. Israel, for whom he had risked everything, delivered the cruelest cut of all.
Eighteen years ago, when Israel thrust him out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and into the waiting arms of the FBI, she set a new standard of cravenness. Not only did she betray her own agent in this way, she also returned to the U.S. all the documents needed to prosecute him - the first time in the history of modern espionage that any country has assisted in the prosecution of its own agent!
Nothing has changed in the intervening years: the Jewish State has sabotaged every opportunity to win Jonathan's release. Israel has been willing to free murderers and terrorists at the request of the US; to go easy on Israelis caught in Israel spying for the US; and to sit still and take the hits when Iraqi Scud missiles are launched into her heartland. But Israel has never used any of its political capital to demand a reciprocal gesture from the US, to free Jonathan Pollard.
Both overtly and covertly, through successive US administrations, Israeli and American Jewish leaders have sabotaged or undermined efforts to free Jonathan. To this day, they remain more concerned about their perceived loyalty to the US and access to the White House than they are about securing equal justice for one of their own. As long as Jonathan Pollard is in prison, he continues to be a useful tool for those elements in the American administration who exploit his case to call into question Israel's reliability as an ally and the loyalty of the American Jewish Community.
This is what no one wants to talk about. The most ignored issue of the Pollard case is the abject failure of Jewish leadership - both Israeli and American - to articulate a case for equal justice and fair treatment of one of its own.
Even Aish.com is not faultless. Whatever mention of this issue existed in Sara Levinsky Rigler's first draft was eliminated by the time her article appeared in print, leaving readers with the impression that the Pollard case has occurred in some kind of political/social vacuum. Three million letters to the White House from good people like the readers of Aish.com and supporters of Justice for Jonathan Pollard mean nothing when it is an open secret on Capitol Hill that Jewish leaders couldn't care less about Jonathan Pollard.
As long as Jewish leaders continue to sabotage support for Jonathan behind the scenes, letters to the President are of little avail. As long as Jewish leaders promote misinformation about Jonathan in the media - for example, commissioning and publishing a lengthy hatchet job in all of the Federation papers - Jonathan Pollard will remain a victim of their lies. And so will the public.
It is time for the truth to come out. The first place to start is in our own backyards. Circulate the Rigler article. Please be sure to include this response with it. Call. Fax. Write (hard copies by mail - emails don't count). To everyone: Leaders, Newspapers, Publishers, Opinion-makers, Legislators, the President. Let them know that you know the truth now, and that you aren't going to be silent. That they must let Pollard go!
Other ways that you can enlist in the battle for truth and equal justice on the web include:
Remember: we have to understand what is at stake as long as Jonathan continues to rot in prison.
To the extent that Israel and the American Jewish leaders are willing to tolerate Jonathan's continued incarceration, they will continue to negate the interests of the Jewish community and the Jewish State in favor of the demands of the US Government - no matter how unjust, or how dangerous to our very survival they may be. That should give pause to a community that believes itself to be equal citizens in a democracy, and for a Jewish State that purports to be an independent, sovereign nation.
Jonathan and I take this opportunity to send our thanks and our blessings to all those who have written to Justice4JP to express their support. We bless you with wisdom, strength and courage, and above all tenacity: the wisdom to look carefully at the case, the strength to bear the horror that you will discover, the courage to confront not only our enemies but our "friends" as well, and the tenacity to persevere until the truth is fully brought to light!
May you be richly blessed in the merit of the mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim and in that merit may all of the Jewish people be speedily redeemed along with Jonathan! Amain!
Justice4JP Note: The above was written in response to readers who wrote to Justice4JP after reading The Spy Who's Locked Into the Cold - by Sara Levinsky Rigler on Aish.com