MKs Ignore Pollard's Request to Scrap "Unethical" Bill
Justice4JP Release - March 16, 2004
After repeated requests by Pollard attorney, Larry Dub, to MKs Mickey Eitan, Gilad Erdan, and Orit Noked to scrap their unethical Pollard Law, Jonathan Pollard personally wrote to the MKs.
In his 11 March 2004 letter Pollard stated:
"The entire focus of this law is misdirected. I never asked you to go after any money, not for myself nor for Mr. Sharanksy. All I asked you for was to enact a law which legislates a coherent government policy, clarifies my captivity status and which forces the government to take effective action to secure my release. I am stunned that instead, you have authored a bill that legislates political lassitude and financial corruption."
Pollard noted that while the law does nothing to advance his case one iota, it does however provide a whopping four and a half million shekels to Minister Natan Sharansky's office per year, every year, ad infinitum! If the purpose of the law is to secure Jonathan's immediate release, why do they need a yearly budget of four and a half million shekels?! In what can only be described as mean-spirited chutzpah, the bill simultaneously stipulates that not a single shekel of this money can be used "directly or indirectly" for the benefit of Jonathan Pollard and his wife!
In a letter of strong protest to Minister Sharansky, Jonathan wrote:
"Natan, spare me the protest that it was the Knesset Lobby, not you, that drafted this law, etc. It is enough of an indictment that they knew your address, and exactly where to direct millions of shekels for years to come...As head of the Committee to secure my release, it was your job to know about this law, and to see to it that it was designed to do exactly that - to secure my release - not to provide additional funds for your office. If this is the best you can do to help me, spare me!"
The MKs ignored Jonathan's letter and his repeated appeals to withdraw the bill. Instead, they hastened to publicize it! To understand more fully why the proposed law is so morally bereft and is of no advantage to Jonathan Pollard, read the full text of Jonathan's letter below, immediately following this release.
The public is invited to contact the MKs to protest their cynical treatment of Jonathan Pollard.
Fax or phone call to their offices is preferable to email. From overseas dial 011-972-2 then the last 7 digits of each number shown:
MK Mickey Eitan: Fax: 02-649-6579 or Fax: 09-749-3132 Email: email@example.com
Gilad Erdan: Fax: 02-649-6579 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Orit Noked: Fax: 02-649-6415 Email: email@example.com
HERE IS THE FULL TEXT OF JONATHAN'S LETTER:
FROM: Jonathan Pollard
March 11, 2004
Dear Mickey, Gilad, and Orit,
I must insist that you immediately withdraw your draft of a Pollard Law which you have co-signed and submitted to the Government's Legal Counsel for approval prior to its first reading in the Knesset. I ask that you shelve this law permanently.
When we met in prison on September 22, 2003, I outlined to you the only plan of action that is essential if you and the Government are sincere about securing my immediate release. It consisted of the immediate formalization of the following 3 point agenda:
a) a government policy on my case
b) my captivity status
c) prison visits from the Ambassador
- A CLEAR GOVERNMENT POLICY is the sine qua non for any Israeli effort to secure my release. It is a declaration of fact and a statement of intent. I even mapped out all of the points that were needed in such a government policy for you (see attachment#1).
- THE FORMALIZATION OF MY CAPTIVITY STATUS is essential. It gives substance to the Government's 1998 declaration that I am an Israeli agent and that the Government accepts full responsibility for me. It takes that declaration from out of the air where it hangs, and defines the Government's specific obligations towards me. It defines my treatment and the kinds of efforts to be made for my release according to Ministry of Defense standards, and it provides the Ambassador with the tools that he needs in order to ease my daily suffering.
- REGULAR PRISON VISITS BY THE AMBASSADOR for the duration of my incarceration send a clear message to the Americans that Israel is serious this time about securing my release. Moreover, the Ambassador is the only official in a position to assist me for as long as I remain in prison. To do so, he needs to be empowered by a clearly articulated government policy and by the formalization of my captivity status.
You agreed to work to bring about this three point agenda immediately, and if necessary, to submit legislation to effect it.
After our visit, I was asked to draft the points for a piece of legislation for you, which I did, literally overnight. I asked you to fast track a law that would assist the Government in securing my immediate release. You trashed my draft and then took six months to come up with a law that is unethical and politically bankrupt.
Your law does nothing to advance the establishment of a government policy or to formalize my captivity status. I am told that only reluctantly did you include a clause mandating 2 (only) visits per year from the Ambassador. Those visits are totally useless if I have no formal captivity status and there is no government policy which empowers the ambassador to act on my behalf.
Your law simply licenses the status quo and enables the Government to continue to delay and obfuscate with impunity. The activities your bill calls for have nothing to do with securing my release, and everything to do with maintaining the false public perception that Government efforts on my behalf are ongoing, which is patently false.
While your law is utterly devoid of any advantage to me or to my case, it does legislate a whopping four and-a-half million shekels per year for Mr. Sharansky's office ad infinitum. In what is truly an act of mean-spirited chutzpah, your law declares that not a shekel of this money can be used directly or indirectly for the personal benefit of me or my wife!
The entire focus of this law is misdirected. I never asked you to go after any money, not for myself nor for Mr. Sharanksy. All I asked you for was to enact a law which legislates a coherent government policy, clarifies my captivity status and which forces the government to take effective action to secure my release. I am stunned that instead, you have authored a bill that legislates political lassitude and financial corruption.
I am completely unmoved by your claims that a bill must seem as bland and innocuous as possible until it passes its first reading in the Knesset, and only then can you risk writing meaningful clauses into it. You say that this is "how things work in Israel". This is how you rationalize your demand for money for Mr. Sharansky's office, but not for a government policy or formalization of my captivity status. Even if this is how you are used to doing things, I completely reject the notion that one has to be deceitful in order to write or pass effective legislation, and I want no part of the fraud involved.
If this is the best you can do to help me, then I ask that you to scrap this law at once, and to kindly cease and desist from any further efforts on my behalf.
Your written assurance that you intend to comply with my request is awaited.
I am brokenhearted and deeply disappointed.
cc Larry Dub
Facts to be included in the issuance of a clearly-articulated government policy position on the Pollard case, signed by the Prime Minister:
(i) Jonathan Pollard was a bona fide Israeli agent who acted in good faith at the behest of his Government superiors;
(ii) The Government of Israel has taken full responsibility for the operation and has formally apologized to the United States;
(iii) The Government of Israel is outraged at the sentence and treatment of her agent, Jonathan Pollard, which has been unjustified by the facts and circumstances of his case. In particular, the Government of Israel draws attention to the recent admission of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in which he concedes "the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance." [Excerpted from: Caspar's Ghost.]
(iv) The Government of Israel expects the United States to honor all prior commitments made to free Mr. Pollard;
(v) The recent Knesset resolution signed by 112 Members of Knesset calling for the repatriation of Mr. Pollard underscores the fact that Mr. Pollard's release is viewed as a national priority by both the Government and people of Israel.
N.B. The above policy statement should be circulated on Capitol Hill, with a cover letter signed by P.M. Sharon, F.M. Silvan Shalom, President Moshe Katzav, and the Speaker of the Knesset. This policy should be disseminated to the heads of every Israeli embassy, consulate and mission in the US. Visits to the U.S. by MKs and Cabinet Members to be used as an opportunity to underscore the seriousness with which the Israeli government supports this policy statement.