It's time to bring Pollard home

Jewish leaders must speak out and call for Pollard's release. After all, he did it for us

Nissan GanOr - Ynet News -November 21, 2006

On November 21, 2006 Jonathan Pollard will enter his 22nd year of a life sentence for providing classified information to Israel relating to vital threats to the Jewish State's existence.

Ever since Jonathan Pollard was able to obtain the unclassified titles of the documents that were used as evidence against him, and these titles were published in a petition to Israel's Supreme Court, there can be no doubt that the information Pollard passed to Israel concerned Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities - all being developed for use against Israel.

It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets. The United States was deliberately withholding this vital information, despite a legal commitment to share this data with her ally, Israel.

Severe punishment

Even a glimpse at the record shows that Pollard who spied for Israel, an ally of the United States, was sentenced far more severely than the most notorious spies for enemy states. Many of those who committed far more serious crimes than Pollard by spying for enemy states are free men today after serving light sentences.

Jonathan Pollard was never accused, indicted or convicted of treason. Nor was he ever accused of damage to the United States in a formal indictment - only in the media, where he could not respond to his accusers. The only offense Pollard was ever indicted for was one count of passing classified information to an ally.

The sentencing judge recognized Pollard as an ideologue, not a mercenary, and declined to fine him. In 1998, ending years of lies and denial, the Israeli Government admitted that Jonathan Pollard was an Israeli agent, and granted him formal recognition.

By definition, an agent works out of commitment to a country, not for profit or gain. Once he was recognized as a bona fide Israeli agent any speculation about Pollard's motive was put to the lie.

Pollard never had a trial. He was coerced into a plea agreement, which he honored and the US abrogated. In spite of the fact that he pled guilty and cooperated fully with the prosecution, at the last minute the sentencing judge ignored the plea deal and sentenced Pollard to life.

His attorney, paid by the Government of Israel, neglected to file a notice of intent to appeal and thereby deprived Jonathan forever of the right to appeal his life sentence.

Precedent case

No one in the history of the US has ever gotten a life sentence for spying for an ally - only Jonathan Pollard. This is a sentence reserved for those who spy for enemies of the US. But as the examples above demonstrate, by large even those who have spied for enemies of the US have received far lighter sentences than Pollard.

There has been no vitriol poured out on these spies, nor has there been any stigmatization of the countries they served. Quite the opposite. Every consideration was extended to spare the offending spies and their sponsor nations any undue embarrassment.

When each of these traitors was released, there was little media coverage and not a peep of protest from any government official or news commentator.

Not so in the case of Jonathan Pollard. Twenty-two years into a life sentence, Jonathan Pollard continues to be publicly pilloried and excoriated at every possible opportunity by the American intelligence community and their willing henchmen in the media.

Why is the vitriol poured out on the Jewish spy so intense and ceaseless? What possible reason can there be to continue to heap new, unsubstantiated charges on Israel's spy?

It's not about Pollard

There is an old adage that says when you blacken a spy; you blacken the country he serves. It is obvious that the invective and false charges against Pollard have more to do with Israel, the country he served, than with Pollard himself.

What is more, the hatred directed against Pollard personally is simply too big to be credible. The latest charges against Pollard - that he spied for up to ten countries, was an arms dealer, and a drug user, and a hundred and one other things are absurd. Even superman could not have served so many countries, pulled off dazzling weapons deals, and done it all when he was stoned, and mentally incapacitated. How gullible does the US intelligence community think the public is?

More to the point, if any of these accusations were true, why was Pollard never formally accused, indicted and tried for these crimes? No one even asks.

Where are you?

And that is the point. The US intelligence community has neither fear nor limits in bashing Jonathan Pollard endlessly and beyond any credulity because there is not a single voice in Israeli officialdom, in the American Jewish leadership, or in the media protesting the savaging of Jonathan Pollard.

On the contrary, even the Israeli media has joined the fray, heaping invective upon Pollard and rewriting history to make him some sort of super-spy boogey man in the minds of the public.

Where is the Prime Minister of Israel, who claims to care so much about Jonathan Pollard and to be seeking his release? Why is there no statement from Olmert's office defending Israel's longest-held captive and expressing unequivocal support?

Where are the Members of Knesset who routinely exploit Jonathan's name to get elected or to gain publicity? Where are they now that Jonathan is being raked over the coals publicly?

Where are the voices of Eli Wiesel, Abe Foxman, Charles Krauthammer, Cal Thomas, Mort Zukerman, Shimon Shifer, Uri Avineri, Bibi Netanyahu, Yair Lapid, Caroline Glick, Avigdor Lieberman, Morton Klein, Naomi Ragen, Amir Peretz, Natan Sharansky, Tzipi Livni, Ronald Lauder, Charles Bronfman, and Zev Bielski, just to name a few.

Where are the American Jewish leaders? Too busy congratulating themselves at the General Assembly in Los Angeles to even notice? Or still ducking for fear of becoming another casualty of the war-in-the-shadows against Israel, like AIPAC?

Jewish silence does not behoove us in the face of such outright anti-Semitic targeting of one of our members. It is incumbent upon all honest persons of every faith to stand up and be counted now.

Your prayers are not enough. Your voice is needed in calling our leaders both here in Israel and the US, to take them to task and force them to take responsibility. Three months in prison is enough for China's spy, but 21 years in prison is not enough for Israel's spy?!

The feeding frenzy that now engulfs the case of Jonathan Pollard must be stopped. Pollard must go free. Israel's honor as a nation and our integrity as individuals depend upon it.

Nissan GanOr is the head of the Jerusalem based Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home.