Jonathan Pollard Furious About New Bill
Demands that bill be frozen. Claims it will do more harm than good.
Arik Bender - Maariv - March 19, 2004
Note: J4JP comments are in [square brackets].
Jonathan Pollard is furious at the content of the proposed "Pollard Law", designed to speed up his release [J4JP: not true! This bill does nothing to speed up Jonathan's release. It benefits only the Mks and Ministers promoting it.], and he demands that it be changed. In a strongly worded letter to MKs Gilad Erdan, Michael Eitan and Orit Noked, Pollard called their proposed legislation "harmful and distorted". [See full text of Jonathan's letter.]
The proposal is intended to encourage activity on Pollards behalf in an effort to gain his release. [J4JP: Not true! It mandates only public activity, not necessary government action!] Pollard, a US citizen, [J4JP: Jonathan is an Israeli citizen, and a bona fide Israeli agent] was convicted by a US court, for spying on behalf of Israel. Among other things, the law would require the government to develop a plan of action that would include petitioning the US government to release Pollard. [J4JP Nonsense! The government refuses to even articulate a formal policy on the case after 2 decades, so how can it possibly formulate a plan of action?! For details, see IMRA Interview with Esther Pollard here or here.]
According to proposed bill, the Prime Minister would be required to report all activities on behalf of Pollard's release to the Knesset within 60 days. The Israeli ambassador in Washington would be demanded to visit him in jail regularly. [J4JP: Nonsense! No government activity is mandated by the bill, so there is nothing to report! Only public support activities! The Ambassador's visit, in the absence of a clear government policy and the formalization of Jonathan's captivity status, is useless.]
The government has given Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky responsibility for matters relating to Pollard and allocated approximately NIS 4 million to the cause. [J4JP: Sharansky gets four and a half million shekels a year ad infinitum to be exact, and a stipulation that not a cent of the money be used directly or indirectly for the benefit of Pollard or his wife. This set up is nothing but a slush fund for the MKs!]
Pollard wrote in anger, "I have never asked for money, not for myself and not for Sharansky. All I ask is for you to pass a law establishing a consistent government policy for taking effective action to obtain my release. I am astonished that instead you have made a proposal that gives official approval to the government's slothful and apathetic approach and financial corruption".
Pollard also wrote to Sharansky and accused him of the caring more about the additional allocation for his office than about his release.
In a March 21, 2004 interview with IMRA, Esther Pollard explains:
"The intent of the law is NOT to help Jonathan. The law is designed to benefit the MKs and the Government. It is designed to produce the following results:
First: To provide a yearly slush fund for the MKs, from now until forever. The million dollar fund that the bill provides will be earmarked for Pollard "activities", but in fact will be nothing more than a "slush fund" administered by Sharansky's office.
Second: To replace effective government action with "public support activities". The bill mandates public "activities" in the place of effective government action to secure Jonathan's release. This will provide the MKs with lots of PR but it does not obligate the Government to take significant steps to free Jonathan. All they have done is legislate form over substance."
Esther Pollard concludes the IMRA interview with a very telling comment: "Given that they (the bill's co-sponsors) ignored Jonathan's draft, then ignored his and his attorneys' in-put, then ignored their inquiries, then ignored their behind-the-scenes pleas to please rewrite the bill, and then ignored their written and oral requests to please to scrap the bill --- what in the world would make any one think that this bill was ever about helping Jonathan?"