"Wishing and Hoping" Won't Free Jonathan Pollard

Esther Pollard - Israelinsider - December 20, 2007

In a principled statement in the Five Towns Jewish Times ["Presidential Posturing" 12/20/07] Editor Larry Gordon wrote:

"It is rapidly becoming abundantly clear that one of the great moral injustices of this generation is the continued torturous incarceration of Jonathan Pollard. That he has more than served an appropriate sentence for his crime is agreed to in practically all circles. It is becoming additionally clear that despite the great relationship between Israel and the U.S., Pollard continues to be held for no other reason than that he spied for Israel as opposed to any other country in the world. Who knows if George Bush will have the backbone and courage to release Pollard before he leaves office as President? Short of that, we have to look to a candidate in the next election who will be brave enough and fair enough to release Pollard at the beginning of his administration if, G-d forbid, all other efforts to have him released continue to fail to that point..."

While we appreciate the above statement in the Five Town Jewish Times, we are troubled by the impression it conveys that there are ongoing "efforts to have [Jonathan] released". Nothing could be further from the truth! With notable exception (Rabbi Pesach Lerner and the National Council of Young Israel) virtually nothing is being done to secure Jonathan's release.

In echoing the "hope" expressed by Jewish leaders that President Bush will free Jonathan at the end of his term, the Times may inadvertantly be supporting a shameful ploy. In fact, by repeatedly expressing their "hope" to the Jewish media that President Bush will release Jonathan at the end of his term, the American Jewish leadership effectively absolves itself of taking any action to secure Jonathan's release.

Jewish leaders know full well that "wishing and hoping" is not the way to make things happen in Washington. When Jewish leaders "hoped" that President Clinton would pardon, Marc Rich, billionare fugitive from the law, they lobbied night and day and spared no resources to make it happen.

In Jonathan's case, Jewish leaders have done nothing for the last 7 years of the Bush presidency to press him to free Jonathan now or at the end of his term. In fact, President Bush no doubt believes that Jonathan is of little concern to the Jewish Community. After all, in all of his formal meetings with the Jewish leaders, Pollard has never once been on the official agenda of the Jews!

Jonathan has now served more than 5 times longer than the median sentence for the offense with which he was charged. He has been savaged through 4 sets of American elections and 5 successive Administrations. His life is hanging in the balance.

The shameful truth is: for 23 years Jewish leaders have done nothing to make freedom for Jonathan Pollard happen; they are still doing nothing to make it happen; and they show no intention of ever doing anything to make it happen.

Unless and until American Jewish leaders back up their words with action, expressing their "hope" that President Bush will free Jonathan at the end of his term is merely empty rhetoric.

Wishing and hoping without effective action will not free Jonathan Pollard.

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