"What's So Special About Pollard?"
Arutz7 -(Jewish World) - March 21, 2005
"Since the political establishment loves to do justice to dead heroes, a ceremony will be arranged at which the U.S. Secretary of State will solemnly lay a medal on the grave of Jonathan Pollard."
So writes Boaz Moscovitz in an NFC News op-ed.
He was referring to the official attitudes of both Israel and the United States towards the case of Jonathan Pollard. For instance, Israel's Deputy Minister of Public Security, Likud MK Yaacov Edry, sent a letter last month to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice via the US Ambassador in Israel. The letter requests that the U.S. free Pollard, in light of Israel's release of hundreds of PA terrorists.
To Edry's surprise, Ambassador Dan Kurtzer returned the letter, boldly requesting that Edry remove his title from the letter. Kurtzer was concerned lest the letter be construed as an official request for clemency for Pollard - an Israeli citizen - from the Israeli government. Edry did not protest, and instead complied and resubmitted his letter, using only the title "Member of Knesset."
Activists for the release of Jonathan Pollard said that not only does Prime Minister Sharon apparently have no interest in securing Pollard's release - he recently "forgot" to deliver a unanimous Knesset request to U.S. President George Bush for Pollard's release - he appears to be anxious that Pollard not be freed at all.
Recent examples abound, as well, of official U.S. reluctance to change the status quo. In addition to Ambassador Kurtzer's unexpected intervention, a Washington court responded coldly to a Pollard appeal last week. Accusing Pollard of asking for provisions beyond the normal appeals process, Judge David Sentelle said, "He thinks he's unique."
Pollard is well into the 20th year of his life sentence for having passed classified information to Israel. He is the only person in the history of the U.S. to receive a life sentence for espionage on behalf of an ally; the median sentence for this offense is 2-4 years. For more information, including on Pollard's appeal, see jonathanpollard.org.
Excerpts from the Moscovitz article:
"The welfare of the former Refusniks and Prisoners of Zion in the Soviet Union was, in a large measure, dependent upon the grassroots publicizing the evil which was being done to them and upon the strength of public reaction in the West. But whenever anything new would happen, we knew that, first of all, we had to immediately alert the activists in the U.S., not in Israel. At the office of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the attitude was always lackadaisical: 'No big deal if they wait, what difference does it make if we do something about it today or two days from now?'
"Somehow, it seems that that amongst intensive pursuers of justice, there is always a preponderance of Jews in any given population - and this really bothers the perpetrators of injustice. "What, again you think you're special?" This statement which issued from the mouth of the American judge at the Pollard hearing was not invented by him. We have heard this kind of thing from the Cossacks, from the Bolsheviks, and the Communists among others. 'We've socked it to lots of others and they aren't protesting," said the Pollard judge, "so why are YOU making noise? You dare to waste our precious time?!' "... It is only recently that we learned the fate of Harry Hiram Bingham, who at the beginning of the Second World War saved thousands of Jews, despite the strong opposition of his superiors at the State Department. In 1941 he was transferred to Argentina. From there, according to reports, he interfered with the activities of the Nazi Party in South America until he was finally forced to leave the service.
"He never received any recognition for his life-saving work. Bingham died in 1988 completely destitute. For 50 years the US State Department refused to acknowledge or express gratitude to him. That is until a few months ago, when Colin Powell awarded him a posthumous medal of distinction "for constructive dissent."
"The way things go, many years from now, when this current generation has long since disappeared from the face of the Earth, no doubt the Powers-That-Be will open the "secret" documents on Jonathan Pollard, and officially come to the same conclusion which everyone already knows today: Pollard did what he out of deep patriotic concern for both nations, in alphabetical order: America and Israel.
"It being the case that the political establishment loves to practice doing justice to dead heroes, Pollard's indictment will then be cancelled and a ceremony led by the Israeli Foreign Minister will be arranged, at which the American Secretary of State with a tragic expression on his face, will lay a medal on the grave of Jonathan Pollard.
All that remains to ask is who the next victim will be."