What is behind the gross slander of an Israeli agent by the US Ambassador? Why is a foreign diplomat violating all norms of international diplomacy by slandering Jonathan Pollard? Is this smear "new" US policy towards Israel, or towards the American Jews? Or is this an attempt to inflate Jonathan Pollard's value as a bargaining chip against Israel? What is really going on here?
According to Ha'aretz, AP and other media sources, Richard Jones, the US Ambassador to Israel, speaking at a conference on US-Israel relations at Bar Ilan University this morning responded to a question about Jonathan Pollard with malicious slander and lies. Jones declared that Pollard got off easy because he deserved to be executed. He falsely accused Jonathan of being a mercenary and of selling out the US. Jones claimed that the fact that he spied for an ally made Pollard's crime even more egregious. He stated that the US is dealing with Pollard according to international norms. He accused Jonathan of treason, and claimed that all the facts allegedly came out at Jonathan's 'trial". All of these blatant lies are easily refuted:
THERE IS NO DEATH PENALTY FOR THE CRIME JONATHAN COMMITTED.
Jones declaration that Pollard got off easy because he deserved to be executed is wantonly malicious, especially since he knows that Jonathan DID NOT commit treason which is the only crime which carries a death penalty. In point of fact, Jonathan was charged with the least serious of the espionage statues: one count of passing classified information to an ally. The median sentence for this offense is 2 to 4 years.
Jones' claim that Jonathan took money and sold out his country is also baseless. Jonathan's indictment specifies that he was not charged with harming the United States, and his sentencing transcript clearly shows that the court recognized this fact. Consequently the court did not impose a monetary fine as it would have if he he had spied for money. Most important of all, Israel formally admitted in 1998 that Jonathan Pollard was a bona fide Israeli agent.The formal recognition of Jonathan as an Israeli agent puts the lie to any claims that Jonathan spied out of mercenary motives.
REPEATING THE FALSE CHARGE OF TREASON.
When Jonathan was originally sentenced, then-Secretary of Defense expressed a false charge of treason against Jonathan in a last-minute memorandum to the sentencing judge. This was the cue to the judge to ignore the plea agreement and sentence Pollard to the maximum sentence of life, as if he had committed the far more serious crime of treason. It should be noted that contrary to Jones' claims, Jonathan never had a trial. He gave up his right to a trial in a plea agreement with the US, which Jonathan honored and the US violated on all counts.
Jones' claims against Pollard repeat Weinberger's false charge of treason by giving the impression that Jonathan was charged with treason. Treason, unlike espionage, does carry a death sentence, and does entail selling out one's country to the enemy. The US constitution defines Treason as aiding and abetting an enemy in time of war. Jones knows that Jonathan was never accused, indicted or or convicted of treason!
FLYING IN THE FACE OF THE FACTS
Jones' vicious comments fly in the face of the facts and contradict statements made recently by other US officials who are far more knowledgeable about the case, such as James Woolsey, Caspar Weinberger, and Dennis Ross, who all say that Pollard has more than served his time.
Indeed, Caspar Weinberger, in a 2002 interview before he died, clearly stated that the case against Jonathan Pollard was in fact "a minor matter" and that it had been blown up out of all proportion to serve another agenda.
In his book, "The Missing Peace", Dennis Ross is on record that Pollard deserved to be free long ago, but that he continues to be held by the US as a bargaining chip against Israel. Ross has repeated his call for Jonathan's release in public forums and in the media a number of times in recent days. The same is true of former CIA head, James Woolsey, who has repeatedly declared that it is time to let Pollard go.
It is a well-known fact that when you blacken an agent, you blacken his cause. Jonathan Pollard is an Israeli agent, who served the security of the State of Israel, and who has served 22 years in prison on behalf of the State. By slandering Jonathan with malicious lies, Jones is slandering his principals, the State of Israel. If Jonathan's actions as an agent of Israel are so heinous and can never be forgiven, what does that say about the true state of relations between Israel and the US?
Jones' claim that the US is acting within standard international norms with regard to the Pollard case is laughable. NO ONE in the history of the United States has every gotten a life sentence for spying for an ally. The median sentence is two to four years. Those who have committed far more serious crimes than Jonathan by spying for enemies of the US have for the most part received lighter sentences than Pollard. A recent example is the case of Ronald Montaperto, a Pentagon analyst who spied for the Chinese for at least 10 years. Montaperto was sentenced to 3 months in prison!
INFLATING POLLARD'S VALUE AS A BARGAINING CHIP?
Even more compelling, no other spy has been held by the United States under such harsh conditions, serving a grossly disproportionate sentence for more than 2 decades, with the open admission by top officials such as Dennis Ross, that his continued incarceration is intended to inflate his value as a bargaining chip. Has it now become US policy to inflate Jonathan's value even more, by having the US Ambassador falsely accuse Jonathan of heinous crimes which he did not commit?
It is up to the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel to respond to Ambassador Richard Jones. It is their duty to call him to account for his lies and slander against Israel's agent, and as a consequence against the State. It is incumbent upon the Government of Israel to set the record straight and then to send Richard Jones home. Now!
J4JP Post Script:
Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA News Agency offers the following comment as background:
"It should be noted that Ambassador Jones made his remarks during the Q&A segment of his presentation in reply to a written question. It was the last question he answered in the session. Ambassador Jones had literally a pile of questions to choose from to answer (most were of course not answered). In the case of another question (relating to AIPAC) he simply read it and explained that it was not his place to comment. People present observed that he seemed to switch from a diplomatic demeanor to a very emotional one when he answered the written question relating to Pollard."