Pollard to MKs: Your Battle For My Release Is In Jerusalem, Not Washington

Justice4JP Release - August 24, 2004

Heads of the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard, MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) and MK Orit Noked (Labour) want to take the Knesset Petition for Jonathan Pollard signed by 112 Members of Knesset to Washington next month [September] where they hope to meet with Congressmen and Senators to lobby for Pollard's release. In the year that has elapsed since the historic MKs petition was first signed, Prime Minister Sharon and his underlings have done their utmost to prevent this document from ever reaching the eyes of President Bush. However, after learning that the Prime Minister, the Knesset Speaker, the Ambassador, and the Embassy Staff all declined to support Erdan and Noked's initiative on Capitol Hill, Jonathan Pollard wrote to the MKs to advise that their plans to lobby in Washington should be shelved until the battle for his release is first waged in Jerusalem. The full text of Jonathan's letter follows.


To: MK Gilad Erdan and MK Orit Noked
Date: August 24, 2004

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

Dear Gilad and Orit,

Re: your proposed visit to me and lobby effort on Capitol Hill

Thank you for sharing with me (via Larry Dub) copies of your principled letter (08/01/04) to Ambassador Danny Ayalon (asking for his support and participation in your proposed lobbying effort in Washington) and his response (08/09/04).

No doubt you were as dismayed as I was to read the obviously contradictory statements by the Ambassador.

On the one hand, Ayalon, the top ranking Israeli diplomat in America, writes : "The issue of Jonathan Pollard is high priority on the agenda of our relations with the United States and we of course are doing all in our power to come to a mutually agreeable solution."

But in the next sentence, Ayalon contradicts himself: "With regard to your suggestion that I accompany you on the visit you are planning with Pollard, I would like to stress that this issue is not in my purview and demands that it be addressed by those who are responsible for this thing in Israel."

Gilad and Orit, if the issue of an Israeli agent in captivity, who was arrested in Washington and who has been incarcerated in the United States for nearly 2 decades, is not the purview of Israel's highest ranking diplomat, the Ambassador to Washington, whose purview is it? How can Ayalon admit that he has no responsibility for me and no authority to come near me, and at the same time expect you to believe his claims that "we of course are doing all in our power [for Pollard]"?

This just bears out the evil truth that we have been confronting all along: The problem with securing my release, is not a problem in Washington, but a problem in Jerusalem. Ambassador Ayalon's comments are reminiscent of what his predecessor, David Ivri, told my wife just prior to taking up his appointment to Washington. On the eve of his departure for the US, Ivri admitted to Esther that he knew very little about my case; had received no orders concerning me; no instructions to assist me; no government policy towards me; no talking points; and no initiatives of any sort were planned. The message was clear: Pollard is a non-issue. Hands off. (See: article) Nothing has changed since then.

Esther's meetings with top-ranking veteran American legislators bear this out as well. Not long ago, in separate meetings with two senior senators known as friends of Israel, Esther was told that in all the years that I have been in prison, no Israeli official has ever mentioned my name to these senators; nor has any Israel leader ever given them any indication that my plight is of any concern to them. (See: article.)

So what does all this mean in terms of your planned visit to me, and the proposed lobbying effort on the Hill?

Let me review the facts. Here is what I have recently learned from you:

1) The Israeli Speaker of the Knesset refuses to write a letter to introduce you to his counterpart in Congress. He will not help you to present the petition signed by 112 MKs to your American Congressional counterparts. He refuses to do anything to support your lobbying effort on my behalf.

2) The Israeli Ambassador in Washington refuses to accompany you to visit me, and refuses to accompany you to meetings with American legislators. The Prime Minister claims in the media that he has given the Ambassador instructions to visit me "from time to time". (See article.) Nevertheless, the Ambassador claims that I am "not in his purview".

3) The Ambassadorial liaison to Congress refuses to help you. Instead of advising you and planning an effective agenda for you, laying out who you should meet with and why, he toys with you, asking who you would like to meet with -- as if it were your job to know who the key people are, not his. Clearly, you will be given no help and no support from the Embassy -- which is an invitation to certain failure.

By the way, this is just as they did to Yuli Edelstein, years ago, to sabotage his lobbying efforts for me. We warned Yuli at the time, that unless the right meetings with key American officials were secured by the Embassy, it would be better not to go Washington, but unfortunately he did not listen. The few low-level meetings Yuli was able to get only underscored the disinterest of Jerusalem and effectively weakened interest and support for me.

I hope that as you are reading this, you are beginning to figure out on your own, that your work is in Jerusalem, not Washington. As long as the Prime Minister and the Government of Israel is free to continue playing the game of claiming to work for my release, and then doing everything to undermine and sabotage all support and any possible lobbying effort for me, then you are simply wasting your time coming to Washington.

For two unknown young MKs to fend for themselves on the Hill, without support from Jerusalem, without the support of the Embassy, without the proper meetings being set up, it will be an unmitigated disaster.

Perhaps now, you may begin to see why the fight that I have been waging for my 3 point agenda is so critical. I refer to my long standing requests for:

1) the issuance of a clear government policy on my case.

If such a policy existed, it would force the Government to support the lobbying efforts of good people like you. It would empower Israel's diplomatic offices and personnel to assist and support as well.

2) the implementation of my captivity status.

Whether you like it or not, Gilad and Orit, both according to the Geneva Convention and by definition as an Israeli agent, it is an indisputable fact:


This status defines my rights and the Government's obligations to me. As long as you and your colleagues fail to ensure that my captivity status is implemented, the Government will continue to play you for fools - allowing you to lead a Knesset Lobby that has absolutely no ability to lobby for anything, much less for my release.

3) the participation of the Ambassador,

including regular prison visits from him for the duration.

Make no mistake. The Americans are not fools. Unless and until the Ambassador is activated and deputized to deal with my case on a regular basis, and for the duration, Washington will not relate to you or the rest of your colleagues with any degree of seriousness. They know that Jerusalem is just allowing you to "go through the motions."

The bottom line, my dear friends, is: you cannot fight for me in Washington, until you first fight for me in Jerusalem. I can only hope and pray that you will not shrink from this fight and that you will face it head on, and with G-d's help, finally win it. Until you do, there is little purpose in our meeting.

Until the battle for my release is first waged in Jerusalem, what else do we have to talk about?

Stay well,

See Also: