An Open Letter to Israeli Ambassador Sallai Merridor
By Jonathan Pollard
J4JPnews - November 21, 2007
On this date twenty-two years ago, November 21st 1985, Jonathan Pollard was thrown out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and into the waiting arms of the FBI. He has been in prison ever since, serving a life sentence for his service to the security of the State of Israel.
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
When we met on 25 August 2007 you came to the prison empty-handed and left with a list of 16 initiatives which I outlined for you. We both agreed that if the Government of Israel were to undertake these steps without delay my immediate release would be at hand.
You demonstrated such keen understanding of the value of these initiatives that your final words to me were that you planned to return "to take [me] home to Israel for Rosh Hashanah, and if not Rosh Hashanah then very soon thereafter."
In spite of 22 years of abandonment and betrayal by the Government of Israel, I took you at your word.
One of the things you promised to do was to set up meetings on Capitol Hill with key senators and congressmen and to accompany my attorneys to these meetings. In the intervening months, no such meetings were ever set up. No congressional efforts were ever made.
Nevertheless, this week you asked to meet with my attorney, Eliot Lauer. He agreed in the hope that you would at least provide us with a status report on the list of 16 initiatives we discussed in August.
The meeting took place on Sunday, November 18th, in the presence of Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who had also been present when you and I met last August. Once again you showed up empty-handed. As the discussion began, it very soon became obvious to both Lauer and Lerner that you had no news for us. No initiatives by the Government of Israel. No updates. No action taken on the list of 16 initiatives we discussed. Nothing.
Instead of bringing anything to the meeting, you began to question my representatives about the initiatives that you and I had discussed and agreed upon in August. A case in point: you questioned the need for the implementation of my status as an agent in captivity.
This was the first and most important item of the 16 point agenda we discussed in August. I indicated to you at the time that even though Israel had granted me official recognition as an agent in 1998, this recognition has never been implemented. In other words, Israel has never notified the US Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons, or the White House of my change in status. Consequently, the Americans continue to relate to me as a common felon, not as an agent in captivity.
Moreover the Government of Israel has never officially notified the Israeli Ministry of Defense of my change in status. That is why my name does not appear on the official role of Israeli captives at the Ministry. This has deprived me of all of my rights as an agent in captivity, and has allowed the government to refrain with impunity from taking any steps to secure my immediate release. When I explained this to you, you understood it perfectly.
I explained to you that I had fought hard and even sued for recognition as an agent, not so that I might have a fancy document to hang on the wall, but as a means to force the Government of Israel to finally take responsibility and end years of "implausible deniability" by the State and its top officials. I pointed out to you that to this very day, the Americans use Israel's implausible denial of the operation as justification for my harsh treatment.
Rabbi Lerner is my witness that you understood perfectly well that Israel's failure to implement my status as an agent broadcast a strong message to the Americans of Israel's total unwillingness to deal with the issue of securing my release.
You also clearly understood that implementing my agent status, even now 10 years later, would not only provide a basis for securing my release, but would also initiate better treatment for me in prison in the meantime. You understood that this would also bring about the implementation of all of my rights by Israel's Ministry of Defense.
Yet, when you met with my attorney and Rabbi Lerner this week, it was as if you had been struck with amnesia, asking them to explain what difference it could possibly make if my status in the US were changed from common criminal to agent in captivity. Why is this necessary, you asked. What purpose could it possibly serve? You spent the rest of the meeting on this and similar issues in meaningless discussion with my representatives.
Given that you brought nothing to the meeting; no news, no updates, and no recall of what we had previously agreed upon, it is obvious that you met with my representatives only in order to fulfill a cynical Israeli diplomatic "principle." This is the same "principle" which PM Olmert recently expressed to the media as the basis of Israel's participation at Annapolis, and one which every Israeli diplomat lives by. The principle is:
é é ,
which translates roughly as: "That the meeting takes place is its own importance."
It is now obvious that your mission on behalf of the Government of Israel was just to be able to say that you met with my representatives. Now that the meeting - devoid of content - has taken place, the government can claim this was one of their "secret efforts on behalf of Pollard."
When you came to visit me last August in your official capacity, you expressed such sympathy and concern for a man who had put himself, his life, and his career on the line in the service of the State of Israel. I was hopeful that you might be someone who could make a difference, be a catalyst for good.
How extraordinarily sad, that instead of keeping your promises to me, you chose instead to close ranks with my betrayers and tormentors.