Transcript [English]: Galei Tzahal Interview with Esther Pollard
Hostility of American Jewish Leaders Unrelenting After 22 Years
November 11, 2007
Source: Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio)
Host: Udi Segal (substituting for Razi Barkai)
IDF radio news anchor and popular talk show host, Razi Barkai, is currently in New York where he has been speaking with Jewish leaders about Jonathan Pollard. Expecting that after there would be compassion and support for Pollard, Barkai was stunned by the relentless hostility the American Jewish leaders demonstrate towards the captive Israeli agent. Udi Segal, filling in as anchor for Barkai in Israel, interviewed Esther Pollard about the Jewish leaders' extreme attitude to Pollard. The interview was translated to English by J4JP and appears in transcript below.
To listen to the original interview in Hebrew,
Justice4JP Adds: Unlike the leadership whose personal interests and power-mongering may be "inconvenienced" by the Pollard case, the American Jewish Community at large cares deeply about Jonathan Pollard and wants to see him free. The leadership, out of self-interest, undermines the will of the grassroots rather than galvanizing it and carrying the message to the administration, but this does not change the fact that there are no longer Jews in America who are indifferent to Pollard's plight. Even those who oppose what Pollard did, feel very uncomfortable about the unusually harsh treatment he has been subjected to and his grossly disproportionate sentence.
GALEI TZAHAL: A little while ago we spoke with our correspondent Razi Barkai in New York and he related his impression of conversations he has recently had with many American Jewish leaders; about their hostility towards Jonathan Pollard, their harsh words about him and their alienation from the case.
We want to say good morning to Esther Pollard, the wife of Jonathan Pollard. Esther, shalom!
ESTHER POLLARD: Good morning, Udi!
GALEI TZAHAL: Did it surprise you? Does it surprise you? The impression that arises from meetings with Jewish leadersthe description, the hostility, the disinterest, and the message that not only do they accept no responsibility for him but that they "hope he rots in prison!"
ESTHER POLLARD: No, it does not surprise me, at all. [Sighs]. Unfortunately, it is no surprise at all. It should be pointed out that there is Rabbi Pesach Lerner and his organization, The National Council of Young Israel, which has been working assiduously for Jonathan all these years. And the rest of the Jewish leaders, other than Rabbi Lerner, are fearful. They are afraid that they will be thought of as having dual loyalties, that they are not good little Jews faithful to the "Poritz"; so not only do they not do anything to help Jonathan, they also undermine. They undermine every initiative to secure Jonathan's release.
In 1987, six days after Jonathan was sentenced to life, the head of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations wrote a letter to then-Secretary of State George Shultz and wished him "Mazal-tov and Yishar Koach" [i.e. congratulated him] on the sentence imposed upon Pollard, and promised never to do anything to help Jonathan. That promise has been kept!
GALEI TZAHAL: Tell me, the fact that the issue is coming up again, and it is important that it should come up again, and the extensive interview that Jonathan Pollard gave in Yediot this weekend, in which he goes after everyone; in fact I did not notice anything about the American Jewish leadership, but mainly about the political leaders in Israel, was this geared to having his issue raised at Annapolis?
ESTHER POLLARD: It is true that (pauses)I did not hear what you asked about Annapolis?
GALEI TZAHAL: The question is: was the reason the interview was given now, on the eve of the Annapolis summit, in the hopes that his case would be raised at Annapolis summit?
ESTHER POLLARD: The thing is, the issue of Jonathan's release does not need to be raised at Annapolis, it needs to be raised NOW! If you read the interview carefully, it is not that Jonathan accuses anyone, he simply states the facts. And it is a fact that the Government of Israel has turned its back on Jonathan for 22 years. Even after recognizing him as an official agent, to this very day, Israel still denies it in the United States, and casts off all responsibility for him in the United States. Israel does not ask for his release, and Israel broadcasts such a strong message of indifference towards Jonathan that it is frightening. Leonard Garment who was one of those who were interviewed by Yediot this week
GALEI TZAHAL: [interjects] Yes, the attorney
ESTHER POLLARD: He is not just any attorney. He was involved in the Pollard affair and he was, at one time, an attorney for the American administration. Garment told Yediot that the fact that Israel continues to deny Pollard is what has caused his harsh sentence. He suggests that if the Government of Israel would today unequivocally demand Jonathan's release, and stop implausibly denying that Israel ran Jonathan as an agent, this would result in Jonathan's release. Udi, we paid the full price for Jonathan at the Wye Summit in 1998, nine years ago.
GALEI TZAHAL: There is no doubt of that.
ESTHER POLLARD: Israel freed 750 murderers and terrorists with blood on their hands as the price for Jonathan. We freed the terrorists, but we "forgot" -- and I am saying "forgot" with quotation marks - we "forgot" to receive our quid pro quo.
GALEI TZAHAL: Yes.
ESTHER POLLARD: The deal is still valid, so BEFORE Annapolis, we should get Jonathan home!
GALEI TZAHAL: That's true. Esther Pollard, thank you so much for this conversation.
ESTHER POLLARD: Thank you.