Jonathan Pollard's Urgent Letter to Foreign Minister Shalom

Justice4JP Release - December 6, 2003

To: Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
Tel: 02-530-3531  FAX: 02-530-3506  Email:

Date: December 6, 2003

From: Jonathan Pollard 09185-016
FCI Butner POB 1000
Butner North Carolina
USA 27509-1000


Dear Silvan:

I need your urgent assistance.

According to a recent report in the Jerusalem Post (12/03/03/): "When [Ambassador Danny Ayalon was] asked why he had not made a visit to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, he said that the request to release Pollard from jail "has not come off the agenda," but all moves should be made at a low profile."

Ayalon's statement is troubling because it suggests that Israel's behind-the-scenes efforts for my release are on-going. That simply is not true.

Silvan, you and I go back a long time. You were a minister in the Government of Bibi Netanyahu when I was recognized as an official agent of Israel in 1998. That same year you and your wife hosted an event in your own home for ministers and their wives at which my wife described in graphic detail the brutal treatment I have endured in prison as part of my life sentence.

It was at your house that Esther spoke for the first time of how I had been given "shock treatment" with an electric cattle prod and left quivering in convulsions, unable to speak or move for hours afterwards. It was also on this occasion that she first spoke of the many times I was held incommunicado for months on end, deprived of my clothes and glasses, subjected to extreme sensory deprivation, and repeatedly chained to a shower stall and forced to endure freezing cold showers for hours on end.

You and your wife and all of your minister friends were deeply shocked at how I was being treated in prison and vowed that my incarceration would not continue. That was 5 years ago, Silvan. Where have you been since then?

Recently, my wife and my Jerusalem attorney were officially informed that 'the Prime Minister does not interfere in the decisions of Foreign Minster Shalom.' If that is indeed so, Silvan, there are some questions I need to ask you:

  1. A year ago, on December 3, 2002, my wife and my Jerusalem attorney, Larry Dub, met with the previous foreign minister. In coordination with the Prime Minster's office, he ordered the Israeli Ambassador in Washington to come and see me. We were repeatedly assured that it was merely a question of coordinating the date with us. We received this same assurance even after you took over the office of Foreign Minister. A year has passed, and still no date has been set. We would like to know, Silvan, who gave the order to kill this visit?

  2. Why is it, Silvan, that in spite of your frequent travel to the United States, you never took the time to sit down with my American attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, to receive a briefing on my legal case ? Nor did you ever instruct the Ambassador or any of the Foreign Ministry staff to be briefed.

  3. Why did the Israeli Foreign Ministry boycott the court appearance of an official Israeli agent who has been held in captivity for 18 years by a "friendly Government" for his service to the State of Israel? Why was the Ambassador NOT ordered to be present at my September 2, 2003 court date? Why was no Israeli representative at all present in court?

  4. How is it that at the time of my first court appearance in 16 years, after 18 years in prison for service to the State of Israel, not a single word of support was expressed publicly on my behalf by any Foreign Ministry official?

  5. On the eve of my court appearance, the New York Consul General Alon Pincus, speaking as an official of the Foreign Ministry, appeared on American national television. Who gave the order, Silvan, for Pincus to savage me and undermine my legal case by declaring that I am a "rogue agent" whose activities "put Israel in a bad position"? Who gave the order for him to slander me at such a critical time?

  6. If Pincus' slander was not official and not calculated, why didn't the Foreign Ministry issue an immediate, unequivocal correction? Why was there no official declaration that I am an Israeli agent in peril and the Government of Israel regards my release and repatriation as a matter of national priority?

  7. Who gave the order not to raise any official protest over the way I was mistreated in Washington? As you well know, Silvan, I was subjected to severe sensory deprivation, and physical and psychological abuse, for an extended period of time while I was held in Washington, pending my appearance in court on September 2, 2003. Who saw to it that the Israeli Foreign Ministry raised no objection, nor protested this treatment of her agent?

  8. Why is it that no Israeli official from your Ministry has contacted me or my wife since that time to find out how I am or what our needs are? Your ministry sends Israeli teams around the world to offer humanitarian assistance wherever and whenever a tragedy or a mishap occurs. Who gave the orders, Silvan, that even after being so brutalized the Pollards should get NOTHING, not even a phone call?!

  9. Why is it, Silvan - contrary to Ambassador Ayalon's claim that there are on going low profile efforts on my behalf - Congressmen and Senators repeatedly tell us that the Israeli officials with whom they meet NEVER mention my name. Similarly, in dealings with the executive branches of the American administration, my legal team meets with the same response: Israel has NEVER made its position on the Pollard issue known. In the past Israel has invoked a policy of implausible deniability. But you are now the Foreign Minister, Silvan. How much longer will you perpetuate the dishonorable practice of denying any official interest in or responsibility for my fate?

  10. On November 13, 2003, after the judge dismissed my legal cases on flimsy technicalities, AP and Reuters noted in their reports that they called the Israeli Embassy for official comment. The Embassy refused to take or return their calls. After 18 years who gave the order to throw me out of the Embassy again?!

Perhaps the most disturbing question of all, Silvan, is who instructed YOU to undermine support for me and to sabotage efforts to assist me? As Deputy Minister of Defense in the Netanyahu Government, you had full access to my file. You know my case thoroughly, and you know full well that the intent of my sentence is to keep me incarcerated for the rest of my natural life (G-d forbid!) Why then, do I continue to receive reports that privately you are assuring Israeli officials that my sentence is nearly over? You claim that within a year I will be out anyway, so there is no need for anyone to lift a finger to help me. Why are you saying this when you know it's a lie?

When the American Administration mistreats and abuses me legally, physically and psychologically, it watches closely the reaction of the Government of Israel. The failure of the Government of Israel to respond is NOT taken as a sign of neutrality or indifference. It is taken as TACIT APPROVAL.

As long as the Government of Israel fails to protest my mistreatment, fails to defend or support me, and fails to demand my release in accord with previous American promises, then Israel is complicit in my mistreatment and the prolongation of my suffering.

If Israel does want me out, does have a position on my case, and does want to articulate it, then it is up to you as Foreign Minister to lay out an immediate plan of action to correct the deplorable impression that the Americans have been given up until now.

The most dramatic illustration of Israel's support for me would be an immediate personal visit by Israel's Foreign Minister. This is the time of year when the White House considers appeals for clemency. There could be no better time for you personally to visit me and to articulate Israel's position on my case when you are here.

If you were to visit me at once and then fly to Washington to make a personal appeal on my behalf, Israel's position would - for the first time - be made perfectly clear to the White House.

As Foreign Minister, you have it in your power to end the shameful silence and calculated inaction of the Government of Israel which has doomed me to languish in prison for the last 18 years.

I urge you to take immediate action to rectify Israel's legacy of shame. If you act at once I can be home in time to light the Chanukah candles of freedom this year in Jerusalem!

Jonathan Pollard

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