OpEd: The GA, Pollard and the Ingathering of the Exiles
Avi Hyman - Arutz7 - November 18, 2003
Pro-Pollard activists abruptly interrupted the opening ceremony of the illustrious General Assembly of United Jewish Communities this week.*(SeeJ4JP note below). The group of fifteen men and women were predominantly students and all new immigrants to Israel from the west.
So what prompted these idealistic youngsters to leave their comfortable homes in the free world for a much harsher life in the Holy land?
Furthermore, what could possibly transform these fine products of middle-class Jewish families into die-hard activists, prepared to interrupt the Prime Minister of Israel as he delivered his address at the GA with screams of, "Bring Pollard Home"? What made them refuse to be silent until their very words were choked out of them by overzealous security officials?
First let us explore the timing of the protest. They sat politely and waited until Ariel Sharon addressed the Assembly, only then were their voices aired. It was clear that they had a message to deliver to both Mr Sharon and the leaders of American Jewry.
The lesson these youngsters wanted to teach the old established Assembly was one of true Jewish unity - Jewish brotherhood that runs deeper than a check in the mail or even a visit once in a while.
A very Jewish lesson that they had been taught by their leaders in Jewish Agency funded youth movements in the Diaspora - lessons of Abraham and his all-out battles to rescue his cousin Lot. And later, the story of Dreyfuss; how his mistreatment ignited the souls of hundreds of thousands of Jews to return as one to their land.
It is always said that the younger you are, the more you are aware of contradictions and falsehood. What could possibly be more trumped up and false than American Jewry's total support for Israel?
Abraham taught us that family always came first, however good our relations were with the other nations. Dreyfuss, on the other hand, showed us that however far we distance ourselves from our roots we will always be "dirty Jews" in the eyes of the world.
So I ask you: If the Jewish people are really one nation, then why were there three flags being waved and three national anthems sung at the UJC's GA?
Jonathan Pollard broke the false image of a American Jewry united with Israel. One of the three Judges in the Pollard Case was a non-Jew who pleaded Pollard's case and advocated that this was "a fundamental miscarriage of justice" which required relief, while the other two judges were Jews - Jews that felt that it was more important to pledge allegiance to the American flag and its constitution than it was to save 5 million of their brothers and sisters in Israel.
Just when things where looking up for Mr Pollard another Jew, the then-senator Lieberman rushed around collecting support for his further imprisonment. Mr Lieberman, who is apparently very close to his roots, is obviously growing a very different tree! [For details see the Lieberman Page.
Eighteen years after his imprisonment, why is Pollard still incarcerated?
Where was the unity between the UJC and Israel when he was carted off?
And where has their strong powerful voice been for the last eighteen years?
These contradictions and questions are what led these fine young westerners to become so Jewish and break the silence of nearly two decades.
Some of the protesters were mere toddlers when Pollard was imprisoned yet their youthful clarity told them something had to be done. Their methodology had never really been used on behalf of Pollard but they decided that it would be the only way to get their cause from the weekend supplements to the front pages!
Just as their parents had done before them - during the Soviet Jewry campaigns of the 70's and early 80's - they pledged to bring Jewish apathy to a crashing halt. The call for the release of Soviet Jewry has many parallels with that of Pollard. The pushes to release Mendalevitch and Sharansky led to the destruction of the Iron curtain and flooded Israel's borders with hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former USSR.
In their eyes, the actions of these brave young Jews will ignite a world campaign just like the Soviet Jewry that started with the few outsiders and was later adopted by the establishment. A campaign that would put cracks in and eventually break Jewish/American dual loyalty.
Yet how very ironic that the President of the Jewish State, Moshe Katzav told the GA in his opening speech that "More than anything else, Israel needs Aliyah [Jewish emigration to Israel] - just a million more Jews in Israel would make peace a much more viable option in the Middle East."
The irony is that only when Jews understand that they are fully accountable for one another can they even start to conceive the concept of the Jewish Nation and their personal responsibility to make Aliyah.
Jonathan Pollard showed the world that he would rather be convicted of spying against America than watch 5 million Jews be annihilated in Israel. In other words, he corrected the sin of American Jewry's silence during the Holocaust. The American Jewish establishment together with the Israeli government have yet to learn. The new Student Campaign for Pollard has vowed to break this silence! -
Every effort was made prior to the GA's annual convention to work cooperatively with its organizers to
include Jonathan Pollard as part of the official GA agenda. The stubborn refusal of the GA organizers to include Jonathan, and the UJC's18 years of silence on the case [which the American administration takes as an endorsement of Jonathan's grossly disproportionate sentence and harsh treatment] were directly responsible for both the demonstration that took place outside Binyanei HaUmah and the frustration expressed by young demonstrators inside.