English Text: Speech by Nissan GanOr at the New Jewish Congress
Renaissance Hotel, Jerusalem, November 27, 2007
[Nissan GanOr, Head of the Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home]
Translated to English by J4JP
J4JPnews - November 29, 2007
On behalf of the Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home, I want to offer blessing to the New Jewish Congress and to express my thanks, as Head of the Committee, for this opportunity to speak.
In truth, after in prison, I don't know what remains to be said about Jonathan Pollard, that you haven't already heard.
I could tell you about the tremendous impression Jonathan made on me during the two occasions I visited him in prison. And about what a miracle it is that he has survived in that place Not only is he absolutely sane, but he is also a man of strong faith, sharp wit, profound insight, wisdom, and super-intelligence - and this is in spite of the last 22 years which he has spent in sub-human conditions. By having the audacity to survive, Jonathan effectively sabotaged Israel's original plan - one that is still in effect today, to have him die in prison, either by his own hand or of "natural causes".
Or perhaps I could tell you that his health is deteriorating and that every single day he remains in prison, he is in a life and death struggle to survive.
I could also tell you we must hurry and bring him home while we still can, before it is too late, G-d forbid.
I could sound the alarm that we must not go on with business as usual in the face of the great injustice that has been done to Jonathan, and which is still on-going.
The call for his immediate release is something we all have in common and strikes at the very foundations of our existence. It is basic morality, the pursuit of justice. We owe him this much as a fellow Jew, and as an Israeli agent, who did so much for us, who put his life and the line, sacrificing himself for the land and the people of Israel.
However, much to my dismay, most people, even the best among us, don't even realize that they no longer really expect Jonathan home. One can sense this from the way people talk about Jonathan and from how they relate to him. When you speak to people about Pollard today, there is no sense of urgency; people respond with equanimity. Most people roll their eyes and dismiss the issue with remarks like, "What do the Americans want from him anyway?" or "That Casper Weinberger, it is his fault!" or "How shameful of Israel!" or "What a wicked government!"
Unfortunately, almost everyone relates to the Pollard case as if it were some routine matter; as if it is natural for Pollard to always be in prison. They no longer expect him to go free any time soon. Almost every week, Esther and Jonathan are contacted by people who suggest initiatives for his release which would require years and years - G-d forbid! The Pollards also receive requests from people who want to visit Jonathan in prison sometime "next year" or "the year after". Sometimes even really good friends of the case do this. Without even realizing it, everyone just naturally assumes that he will still be in prison.
We have become too accustomed to the situation. The same way that we are accustomed to get up in the morning and to see the sun shine and the rain fall. Just as the change of the seasons is natural for us, so too it seems natural that Pollard is in prison. Year after year after year after year. "What can you do," people say, "that's the way it is"
Just as no one argues with the weather or other forces of nature which we cannot change, they assume nothing that can be done about Pollard. "It's the Americans' fault!" or "It's the government of Israel which is to blame!" is how people rationalize it; and without any sense of urgency, this abandonment could go on forever.
However, I would like to believe that that all of us here today, all of the people present in this convention hall, think differently and are capable of much better.
Jonathan Pollard is not merely a long-suffering and sorely afflicted captive in distress. He is also a symbol - a living symbol of on-going abandonment by the Government of Israel - an abandonment that is directed at each and every one of us. Just as they are able to abandon one Jew, our brother, our own flesh and blood, they are, in fact, abandoning all of us - abandoning us to a sense of utter despair that grows ever stronger within our midst.
There is a direct line of causation which leads from the abandonment of Jonathan Pollard, from the time that he was thrown out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington in 1985, to this very day, 22 years later. This direct line stretches from that moment in time right to the abandonment of Jewish Sovereignty over the land of Israel today at Annapolis 2007.
"The Pollard Syndrome" is the name I use to describe the phenomenon. The "Pollard Syndrome" postulates that if you can successfully abandon one Jew, then you can abandon many more. Among them: Ron Arad, and Mudhat Youseff at Kever Yosef, and a few thousand "victims of the peace process" killed or wounded in terror attacks. While you are at it, why not abandon another 10,000 expellees from Gush Katif and northern Shomron, and perhaps also all the residents of the North and along with them all the soldiers who fought the Second Lebanese War? And what about the kidnapped soldiers, Goldwasser, Regev and Shalit? And what about the residents of an entire city such as Shderot, and all of the western Negev?
Remember! By allowing the original abandonment of Jonathan Pollard, a single Jew, this ultimately led to all the ensuing cases of abandonment of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of citizens of the State.
And today, this is what allows the impending abandonment of hundreds of thousands, and perhaps even millions of citizens. Today at the Annapolis Convention, plans are being made to abandon and give away chunks of Judea and Samaria and even Jerusalem, and in this way to eradicate and obliterate in stages, Jewish Sovereignty over the Land of Israel. To restate in other words: a direct line of causation runs from the original abandonment of a single Jew, Jonathan Pollard, to this day and to the abandonment of Jewish Sovereignty over the Land of Israel. Nothing has changed!
Is it too late? Is it still possible to rescue the Sovereignty of the Jewish Nation over our Land?
We have no choice! We must act. This is the fight for our survival as a nation, and as a free people in our own Land.
Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us to start at the beginning. At the beginning of that same line of causation. We must unite to solve the problem of abandonment at its root. If we hope to escape the latest and largest plan of abandonment that Olmert is undertaking, we must go forward together, united in our determination to resolve the original case of abandonment, and that is the case of Jonathan Pollard. Once we do that, all the rest will follow.
Can we continue to ignore the lessons we were supposed to learn from the sale of Yosef HaTzadik? If we hope to be worthy of true sovereignty over the Land of Israel we need to return G-d's favor to us; we need to restore a sense of National honor, and to pass the original test of our commitment to mutual responsibility, the test of Jonathan Pollard. We must correct our past errors, redeem the captive, save his life, and return him home. Once we succeed in returning Jonathan home, I believe that we will once again be worthy of the grace of Heaven, and the Master of the World will show us the correct path, so that we may achieve and maintain sovereignty of our Nation over the Land.
For the sake of the People of Israel; for the sake of the Land of Israel; for the sake of the sovereignty of our nation; not only for Pollard's sake. It is forbidden to neglect or delay! Treating Pollard as if he were some secondary issue, lacking in importance and commanding no urgency must stop!
So, what can one do?
The answer begins with each and every single one of us, both as individuals and as organizations. Each of you knows better than I do what you can do. Each of you knows what special talents and resources you have which you can bring to the struggle; what connections you have; what contacts that you can engage; and where you have influence. Identify your strengths, skills and resources and let's get to work!
Additionally, here are a few questions to ask yourselves:
Is Jonathan Pollard a regular feature in your daily prayers, and is he a part of the regular prayer services at the synagogue where you pray?
Do you know the facts of the Pollard case? The real story of Jonathan Pollard? You can update yourself regularly by visiting the J4JP website.
Have you ever written a letter to Jonathan Pollard in prison? [His address is Jonathan Pollard #09185-016, c/o FCI Butner, POB 1000, Butner, North Carolina, USA 27509-1000 ]
Have you hung a Pollard banner on your balcony, or affixed his picture/poster in prominent place? Do you have a bumper sticker calling for his release on your car?
Have you called or written Olmert or Peres, to demand that the Government of Israel make an official request of the President of the United States to free Jonathan Pollard at once.
Have you ever written an Op-Ed about Pollard for one of the Elonei Shabbat (professional weekly parsha publications) or for any newspaper at all?
Are you, as a rabbi, or as a teacher, public figure, or educator planning to take part in the special "Sabbath of Learning and Solidarity for Pollard" this coming Shabbat, Parshat Vayishev, when we read about the sale of Yosef HaTzadik? Will you deliver a lecture, or teach a lesson, or lead a discussion about the mitzvah of Pidyan Shvuyim (the redemption of a captive), and the value of arevut hadaddeet (mutual responsibility) and our obligation to work for the release of Jonathan Pollard?
These above-mentioned activities are some examples of what lies at the heart of "arevut hadaddeet" (mutual responsibility). Activity on behalf of Pollard is activity which expresses "HaKarat Tova", our appreciation to a man who sacrificed himself for us. It is the essence of the mitzvah of Pidyan Shvuyim! A case which is pikuach nefesh (a matter of life and death)!
This is what "Achdut Yisrael" is all about! Jewish Unity! Now! Not another minute longer!