J4JP Introductory Note
Before organizing a demonstration to wake up American Jews to the plight of Jonathan Pollard, activists formally contacted organizers of the GA 's annual convention in Jerusalem, well in advance of the event, and formally requested that the issue of Jonathan Pollard be added to the GA's agenda. Their request was summarily dismissed with the excuse that the agenda was full. Steve Hoffman, UJC President and CEO, epitomized the GA's indifference to Jonathan Pollard when he declared to Israel's Channel One News that Pollard is Israel's problem, not ours. This is in direct contradiction to the stated position of the Conference of Presidents,under whose umbrella the UJC operates.There is typically a large gap between the articulated position of the Conference and the support its constituents routinely fail to demonstrate for Jonathan Pollard. It should be noted that according to the demonstration's organizers, there were some 6,000 to 7,000 participants gathered outside of Binyanei HaUmah on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, not 2,000 as has been misreported.
The G.A. (General Assembly) of the UJC (United Jewish Communities) was put to the test of courage - and they failed - miserably.Shame has once again marked the head of most American Jewry or, at least, their so-called self-appointed leaders. 6,000 and more participants, including 4,300 from North America and more than 2,000 from Israel were attending.
As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed a packed auditorium of Diaspora Jews who flew in for the GA at Binyanei HaUmah (Jerusalem's Convention Center), supporters of Jonathan Pollard strongly interrupted him twice - demanding that he make a sincere effort to free Pollard. They were trying to send a loud message to U.S. Jewry and the Israeli government to take action for Pollard's release. Just days ago a U.S. District Court rejected Pollards request for re-sentencing or, for that matter, a fair hearing with the heretofore secret Weinberger memorandum unwrapped from its 19 years of secrecy.
At least 15 activist demonstrators - many of whom are themselves immigrants from America - chanted: "Bring Pollard Home Now!" The calls brought the Sharon's speech to a halt and the giant video screen image of Sharon was changed to one of the activists holding Pollard placards and calling on the Jewish leaders to break their 18 year impotent silence.
For their protest, security personnel beat them, applied choke-hold (known to kill) and they were also beaten by GA attendees who were embarrassed and, therefore, angry at this demand.
It was reported that the Director General of the GA, Doron Krakow expressed his disappointment that this protest would disrupt their evening of solidarity and undermine the spirit of the GA. How sad that, after 18 years of unjust imprisonment, the issue of Jonathan Pollard spoiled their lovely evening.
You should be glad to know that the expelled protesters were warmly greeted by the 2,000 people (J4JP correction: approx 6,500 people) who participated in a Pollard rally outside the Binyanei HaUmah Convention Center who were holding a rally after a full day of events on Jonathan's behalf. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner told them that those who are not concerned with freeing Pollard do not know the meaning of being Jewish. One of the protesters, Avi Hyman, lamented the treatment they had received but vowed not to be deterred. "We received an overwhelmingly negative response from those claiming to represent North American Jewry but, we know that many Jews indeed heard our cry. We would gladly undergo much more of such atrocious treatment in order to bring the day when our brother Jonathan is freed from prison even a little bit closer." The day began with a rabbinical gathering in Yeshivat HaKotel, followed by a massive rally prayer service at the Western Wall and a march to Binyanei Ha'Umah.
Well, there you have it. Jews generally, except for the courageous few, rarely protest mistreatment for other Jews least they themselves become targets for anti-Semitism. Regrettably, these are reminiscent of those same type of perfidious American Jews during WWII who refused to speak out about the butchery taking place across Europe, lest they themselves become the target of the Nazis' anti=Semitism. Granted, there were more than a handful of anti-Semites in the Roosevelt Administration but, the shame of "Shut Up Jews!" is indelibly imprinted on our history.
Jews, except for some, are not known for their courage in facing anti-Semitism - even when it comes from the non-Jewish Jews of the Israeli governments. We cannot easily blame Jews who, over the centuries, have been beaten into pathetic submission and can only pretend courage but are, in fact, frightened witless. Most of the GA attendees are more to be pitied than to be angry with. They literally cannot help themselves, let alone other Jews.
Jonathan Pollard is merely one small, though significant, symbol of the Jewish establishment's unwillingness to face the extra-ordinarily unfair treatment of this one Jew.
They will go to bat in a heartbeat to defend blacks, Muslims or anyone not Jewish. For Jews who are wronged, they make faint whining sounds and tell everyone that they are using "quiet diplomacy" when, in fact, they do nothing. Quiet Diplomacy for the Jewish establishment equates to sniveling, whining and begging to be heard - but not too loudly.
They will proudly march for other causes, even go to court for them, speaking boldly but, only if the victim is not a Jew. "Quiet Diplomacy" didn't work for freeing the Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel. It was only the loud, continual and tough protests that finally achieved a revolution that freed one million Soviet Jews. Ask Natan Sharansky, Ida Nudel and the other former jailed Soviet refuseniks who had the personal courage to defy the cruel anti-Semitic Soviets and, except for a few others, had to go it alone.
The protest at the GA was right, proper and necessary - given that Jonathan Pollard is now entering his 19th year of imprisonment. While most all other agents, even those from hostile foreign governments are released after a few years or no imprisonment, Pollard was given life in prison by Judge Aubrey Robinson, well known as the CIA Judge.
Many Arabs were caught stealing super-secrets, like the Egyptian who stole the missile nose cone re-entry material called carbon-carbon but he was released in days by orders from the U.S. State Department.
It was right and proper to address Prime Minister Sharon at the largest gathering of Diaspora Jews in Jerusalem on this matter since he was part of the groups who received Pollard's vital intelligence regarding Iraq's poison gas and chemical facilities which was purposely withheld by the prior Bush Administration, which included former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Admiral Bobby Ray Inman. But, never mind them because they all had deep vested financial and political interests with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Islamic/Arabic dictatorships - most of whom were rich oil producing countries. Never mind them, because they, like other anti-Semites were incurable in their hatred of Jews.
What is shameful was the subsequent cowardly behavior of those who call themselves the Jewish leadership. In America, they were terrified that they would be blamed for wanting Israel to survive and thus they felt targeted with the accusation of 'dual loyalty'.
In Israel, those receiving this heretofore hidden intelligence were equally terrified that, because they tasked Pollard to find out more, they would become 'Persona Non Grata' in the Washington arena. So they didn't want Pollard out of prison for their own reasons -based on personal fear. Let them say it isn't so.
In America, those who linked their financial future to rogue Arab nations also didn't want Pollard released lest he blow their cover and they, like Richard Nixon's men, would end up in Federal Prison.
I am less concerned with the political crooks of Washington and can only hope Congress will one day find their shrunken backbone and put these treasonous so-called Americans in prison for perjury and betraying their best ally. We are seeing the results of their perfidy as American casualties creep up toward the number of 500 dead. This from Arabs who were pals of those traitorous Americans who also put Jonathan Pollard in prison for exposing their treason.
I am more concerned with the self-anointed Jewish establishment who may never have started life with an operative backbone of courage . When it comes to representing Jews, they are limited to chicken dinners, bland speeches and claims that they are doing their best for the Jews. To be fair, they do a pretty good job in raising money for Jewish charities but, when it comes to defending Jews subject to hard anti-Semitism, they are too weak. The activists who have any real credibility are the ones who shout out that "The Emperor is a liar and looks lousy naked!" They are , however, an embarrassment to the 'Sha-Sha-nikim' Jews of the GA and the vaunted UJC Jewish leadership. Too bad they have no natural pride in their activists and pioneers.
There simply is nothing more to say about self-proclaimed establishment Jews except - don't count on them when the going gets tough! They usually get going - the other way.
As the Europeans once again ramp up their anti-Semitism, don't look to the GA or the UJC Jewish establishment to step out smartly in protecting the Jews. If they cannot bring themselves to protect even one Jew, what can you expect of them when thousands are at risk?
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst & commentator.