Pollard To MKs: Your Work Is In Jerusalem, Not Washington
Arutz7 - August 30, 2004
"The problem with securing my release is not in Washington - but rather in Jerusalem." So writes Jonathan Pollard to two Knesset Members who were thwarted by Israeli officials in their bid to meet with American officials on his behalf.
MKs Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Orit Noked (Labor), heads of the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard, had made plans to take the famous Knesset Pollard Petition, signed by 112 MKs, and present it to the U.S. Congress during their visit to Washington next month. The petition was drawn up and signed a year ago, in preparation for one of Prime Minister Sharon's visits to Washington, but he "forgot" it at home and never presented it.
Noked and Erdan then took up the gauntlet and decided that they would present the petition. To this end, they wrote to Israel's Ambassador in the U.S., Danny Ayalon, and asked for his support and participation in their lobbying effort. According to Pollard himself, in a letter last week to the two MKs, Ayalon responded, "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." Pollard noted that Ayalon then "contradicted himself in the next sentence" by writing, "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."
Pollard also wrote that Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin "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."
Furthermore, Pollard noted, "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."
In light of this, Pollard concludes, Noked and Erdan should be working not in Washington, but in Jerusalem. "Not long ago," he wrote, "in separate meetings with two senior senators known as friends of Israel, [my wife] 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 Israeli leader ever given them any indication that my plight is of any concern to them... 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."
Pollard, an Israeli citizen, is nearing 19 years of a life sentence in U.S. prison. [J4JP: November 21, 2004 marks the end of 19 complete years in prison and the start of year 20.] He was convicted not of treason, nor of compromising US agents or codes, but of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States. The median sentence for this offense is 2-4 years; only Pollard has ever received a life sentence. Neither was he a mercenary, as the FBI concluded after nine months of polygraph tests, and his ideological motivation was in fact recognized by the sentencing judge, who declined to fine him.
In his letter to MKs Erdan and Noked, Pollard reiterated the three-point plan he recommends: the issuance of a clear government policy on his case, which "would force the Israeli government to support the lobbying efforts of good people like you;" implementation of his captivity status; and prison visits from the Israeli Ambassador.