Esther Writes Jonathan: Rally A Phenomenal Success!
Justice4JP Release - November 24, 2005
Esther Pollard wrote the following letter to Jonathan to update him on the massive rally which took place in Jerusalem last night; on his latest case which was filed this week in Israel's Supreme Court; and on some current media issues. J4JP is releasing this letter with the permission of the Pollards.
EXCERPT: "As I stood on the stage, people began to approach me in a slow trickle, in of groups of two or three. With the music still playing, it was hard to hear what they were saying, but they reached up to me, one by one, to touch my hand or squeeze it, and they smiled and said wonderful things about you. They blessed us and wished us luck and then moved on and others approached me the same way. The numbers approaching me began to grow larger and larger, and in no time at all, all the barriers holding the crowds back (some 20 or more feet from the stage) were pushed aside, and the crowd swelled forward towards me in a gentle wave, filling the entire area in front of the stage. People continued to hold the posters of your picture aloft, to sway with the music, and to reach up over and over again to touch my hand and to give us their blessings. When the music stopped the crowd remained within inches of me, surrounding the stage. Nissan explained that it was as if everyone just needed to be close to me; they needed to touch me, so that they could feel that they were touching you. It was an extraordinary phenomenon, and deeply moving!"
Full text of the letter follows below.
Jerusalem, November 24, 2005
My beloved Jonathan,
As I told you when we spoke on the phone tonight, the rally sponsored by
The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home, marking the start of year 21 in prison, was not just a success, it was a phenomenon! I have never seen anything quite like it, and do not expect to see anything quite so magic ever again!
Police and professionals estimate that between 12,000 and 15,000 people attended. The entire area in front of the Prime Minister's residence was packed, so were the streets and sidewalks all the way to Kikar Pariz; and from there thousands of people cascaded in rows down Agron Street all the way to the US Consulate!
As always, there were an overwhelming number of young people in attendance. The sheer numbers were impressive and so was the human chain of handcuffs, which bound each person to the next. Everyone in the chain had a huge poster of you in front of them and this formed a virtual Pollard wall all the way up the street.
After the human chain event, we had an outstanding master of ceremonies, Avi Rath. Avi is also a professional singer and he engaged the crowd, sometimes singing for them, and sometimes singing with them. There was a huge video screen, and live music and entertainment by Mordecai Fisher and friends. There was also a prayer segment led by Rabbi Aviner plus videotaped speeches by the chief rabbis, HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, HaRav Shlomo Amar, and HaRav Motti Elon. There were also film clips of previous Pollard demonstrations and the Pollard Info Video was screened.
Even Azzam Azzam came all the way from up north to participate in the rally. He spoke very well and the crowd applauded him soundly. The media swarmed us and were truly impressed by the turn-out.
Among others who spoke, was our dear friend Nissan GanOr, head of the Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home. Nissan spoke from the heart and the crowd roared its approval. Adi Ginzburg, Nissan's co chair worked hands-on all evening, keeping the crowd under control and moving us from event to event. He was, as always, our indispensable contact with the media, cell-phone and beeper going non-stop throughout the evening. Israel Cohen and Asher Mivtazari, as well as Eleonora Shiffrin were the behind-the-scenes people, without whom the event would never have occurred. They made things happen, and Nissan coordinated all the details putting it all together into one dynamite package.
Israel also worked with Nissan to make the new stickers and buttons, which show a photo of you behind bars with the words "Prisoner of Zion in America" stamped on your forehead. Everybody in the crowd seemed to be wearing one or more of these large Pollard PoZ stickers. The Pollard Bear mascot and I both wore the smaller Pollard buttons. Thanks to Nissan and Israel as well, the newly designed Pollard T-shirts and sweatshirts also made their debut at the rally last night.
Arutz7 News ran a live feed of the event to its internet TV station, enabling thousands of viewers to participate virtually world-wide, who were not able to participate in person.
But Jonathan, all these things were really the smallest part of what made this rally a cosmic event. Words fail me.
How can I tell you what it was like to see thousands and thousands of good Jewish faces just beaming with love and concern for you? The air was super-charged with positive energy. I read your speech to the crowd. I also spoke some words of my own, first in Hebrew. Then, just as I was about to begin a small address in English, Mordecai Fisher began to sing and play "The Ballad of Jonathan Pollard".
The crowd began to move with the music; they held the posters of you high and swayed with them as the music swelled the evening air. People smiled and waved and sang and swayed, and the kids cheered and cheered, calling your name, while still others were shouting, "We love you Jonathan!"
There was a cohesiveness that was so strong that it spread like waves throughout the crowd. I was amazed by the outpouring of love and care and concern, and I kept thinking, " Wow! How am I ever going to explain this to Jonathan! How is he ever going to believe that so very many people, care so very much, that they are here, body and soul, just pouring out their hearts for him!"
With tears in my eyes, and a bittersweet ache in my heart, I just smiled and smiled and smiled and waved to the crowd, as I continued to be utterly overwhelmed by this outpouring of emotion. As I remained standing on the stage, preparing to speak again, a phenomenon occurred, which I did not even realize until Nissan pointed it out afterwards. When he described it he said, "I have never seen anything quite like this in my life!" Here is what happened.
As I stood on the stage, people began to approach me in a slow trickle, in of groups of two or three. With the music still playing, it was hard to hear what they were saying, but they reached up to me, one by one, to touch my hand or squeeze it, and they smiled and said wonderful things about you. They blessed us and wished us luck and then moved on and others approached me the same way. The numbers approaching me began to grow larger and larger, and in no time at all, all the barriers holding the crowds back (some 20 or more feet from the stage) were pushed aside, and the crowd swelled forward towards me in a gentle wave, filling the entire area in front of the stage. People continued to hold the posters of your picture aloft, to sway with the music, and to reach up over and over again to touch my hand and to give us their blessings. When the music stopped the crowd remained within inches of me, surrounding the stage. Nissan explained that it was as if everyone just needed to be close to me; they needed to touch me, so that they could feel that they were touching you. It was an extraordinary phenomenon, and deeply moving!
The music died down and I addressed the crowd telling them how overwhelmed with love and care and concern I feel and how inadequate my words are to express what I feel in my heart. I explained that our rabbis teach that all Jews are one soul, therefore the actions, thoughts and prayers of one, affect all. The rabbis teach that when a Jew says tehillim in Jerusalem, it will affect another Jew sitting in New York who starts keeping Shabbat which affects another Jew in Paris who starts to keep kosher and so on and so on. I told the crowd, that in the same way, I feel certain that waves and waves of love and concern for Jonathan being expressed here in Jerusalem, must surely be felt now in Butner by Jonathan ---and that they are giving him life and keeping him alive in this way!
I also spoke of how our rabbis tell us that "12 months are for forgetfulness." That is why we are mandated to have 12 months of mourning, to forget so that we are able to go on after the loss of a loved one. If we are made to forget in 12 months, then how natural it would have been for you to be forgotten after12 months had passed, not just once, but 20 times over. But a miracle has occurred! Instead of forgetting, the longer you have been down, the more the people remember you, and the more they care! My eyes filled with tears as I spoke the words "You didn't forget him! You didn't forget him! What an absolute miracle! You are all here now for Jonathan, and you didn't forget him! G-d bless you! You didn't forget him!"
I ended by saying that since there is absolutely no way I can possibly describe the miracle of this rally to Jonathan and the spontaneous outpouring of love from so many thousands and thousands of people in complete unity and harmony, may we merit to do this all over again for Jonathan in person, at Ben Gurion Airport, and soon! The crowd cheered, "Amain!"
Adi pointed out, when we spoke on the phone today, that this is truly a Jewish phenomenon that could only happen in Israel, where thousands and thousands of people turn out in strength for the sake of one. I had to laugh of course when I got a Google alert this morning quoting a report in the JTA about the rally. According to the JTA," a few hundred people" showed up. Impoverished galut mentality, or just sloppy reporting? I don't know. But who cares! The reality was so absolutely lovely that even the media cannot diminish it!
Speaking of which, there was an article this week in Maariv quoting Yitzhak Oren, who used to work at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. You remember, we used to articulate with him. J4JP did not translate the article for our readers because whatever truth it may have contained was so contaminated by propaganda and disinformation that it rendered the article worthless. Apparently Arutz7 did not realize that this article was meant to be disinformation, and they published a large report based on the Maariv article. We simply do not have the time or the energy to keep up with all the disinformation that gets spread in this way.
Yitzhak Oren, the source of the article, has been off the Pollard case and out of touch for many years. The quotes attributed to him read like pure propaganda, making AIPAC the address for your release, not the president of the United States. Oren also makes it seem as if the Ambassador of Israel is able to outweigh the Prime Minister of Israel in setting government policy. If that is so, Israel is in deep trouble.
According to Oren, the American president's powers of clemency are limited and he is held in check by the Intelligence community and by Congress when he wants to issue a pardon. Oren claims that only AIPAC can motivate Congress to give the president the authority he needs to free you, and that is the only way to go, and so on. Really Jonathan, I wonder why Oren broke his silence of the last seven years to say such things. It certainly could not have been because he intended to help you
Oren cites Clinton's reneging on the deal to free you at Wye as a prime example of the US president's inability to free you on his own power. This is disturbing because Oren surely knows that the president of the United States has unlimited powers of clemency. After all, Oren was still in Washington when Clinton proved this by freeing the FALN terrorists. It was a mere four months after Clinton reneged on your release at Wye.
Against the strenuous objections of Congress, the Senate, all of his cabinet advisors, and even in the face of CIA chief George Tenet threatening to resign, Clinton released 14 FALN Puerto Rican terrorists. All of the president's advisors opposed his releasing the FALN terrorists, but they simply choked back their annoyance as Clinton went right ahead and released them.
So whose agenda is Oren serving when, in your case, he directs attention away from the president and towards useless bodies like AIPAC? And why is Arutz7 feeding this nonsense to others? The only thing that Oren did say to Maariv which is true is: "It is possible to free Jonathan Pollard. It was possible back then, and it is possible now. Israel simply has to decide to do so."
As for Israel's calculated failure to engage AIPAC on your behalf for the last 20 years, that is a whole other story. If we have the time, we may consider putting out a J4JP release debunking the Maariv piece now that it is out in English. I understand that other news outlets are starting to pick it up from Arutz7 as well, and the truth is simply muddled by it.
Speaking of truth and justice, I should mention that at the rally I was able to share some good news as a follow-up to your speech. People were really stunned when you spoke of Angie Kielcynski, an Israeli who was appointed by Arik Sharon to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 1985, and who was exposed in the year 2001 as a spy for the Americans. You mentioned that Kielcynski was exposed when he sued the CIA for pension and benefits for his work as a spy from 1985-91. It shocked everyone when you said that Kielcynski's lawsuit documented that he was the Israeli who exposed you to the Americans, leading to your arrest. The booing from the crowd was fierce when they learned that Kielcynski returned to Israel to live in 2001, and that he was never arrested or interrogated, even though you tried for years to enlist the help of Israeli officials in this matter.
After I finished delivering your speech, I was able to tell everyone the good news about Kielcynski.. That is, your attorneys filed suit in Israel's Supreme Court on Monday November 21, the 20th anniversary of your arrest, to force the Government of Israel to arrest and interrogate Kielcynski, and to use him in a spy swap to gain your release from the US. What is more, yesterday we received the good news that the Supreme Court has accepted the case and ordered the Government to respond within 30 days! Good news indeed!
By the way, Jonathan we did as you instructed and responded to all of the media hype about your being acknowledged by the Knesset as a Prisoner of Zion. The J4JP Statement reads as follows:
The Battle for PoZ Status is Not Over
Knesset recognition of Jonathan as a PoZ is appropriate and appreciated. However, it should be noted that this is not an official Israeli Government decision and does not carry the power of law. In effect, it is more like a "sense of the Congress" resolution.
This gesture on the part of the Knesset once again affirms that virtually all Israelis regard Jonathan as a Prisoner of Zion - except for the Government of Israel. Until Jonathan Pollard receives official government recognition as a Prisoner of Zion, his attorneys will continue to fight for it in Israel's Supreme Court.
My love, it is time to start winding down now. I don't remember if I ever told you that during the pre-interviews for the Yair Lapid Show, one of the questions his advance people asked me was: "When did you first fall in love with Jonathan?" I responded, "I never fell in love with Jonathan! I always loved him, right from the start!" They were a little taken aback so I shared the following story with them:
"A year ago, a well-known journalist came from Israel to interview Jonathan for a major publication. He arrived in North Carolina a day early and I went to pick him up at the airport. I spent the day working with him, providing him with background for the interview and answering his questions. I even took him on a little tour of the area so he could see the prison and environs before the interview. As we were leaving the prison parking lot, he asked if I would be willing to answer a personal question, and I agreed.
'"Esther," he said, "You are an attractive woman. You are intelligent. Why did you have to choose a man like Jonathan? Couldn't you have found another man without all this baggage and a life sentence?!" I smiled, and asked if he would mind if I respond to his question tomorrow, after the interview with Jonathan.
"The next day I accompanied the journalist to the prison where he spent 2 hours speaking with Jonathan. When the interview was over we walked back to my car. He turned to me with a big smile and the first thing he said was, "Esther, now I know why you love Jonathan so! But tell mewhat does he need with someone like you!"
How absolutely lovely that the phone just rang now, and it was you, Jonathan! I told you about this letter and you chuckled and said you look forward to receiving it. Jonathan, did you know that I still have the letter that I wrote you on November 16, 1990 which I never mailed to you. On the envelope (which is frayed and falling apart) the words are written in my own hand, 'For Jonathan After His Release'. It is a love letter, of course. And I have saved it all these years, waiting for the day I can hand it to you in person. All we need is a little miracle and you can receive both letters at home, in person, and in the wink of an eye! Amain!
All my love, your own