Speak to President Bush About Jonathan Pollard
Farley Weiss - Arutz7 News - 22 Adar Bet 5768 / March 29, 2008
The failure to obtain Jonathan Pollard's release from prison in the US is to be blamed on two interrelated sources: the fundamental policy of the leaders of Israel, and American Jewish leaders' policy instructing anyone who meets with high level Administration officials, particularly with the president himself, not to raise the issue of Jonathan Pollard. This policy was made public by the Jerusalem Post when it revealed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's attempt to prevent Eli Yishai, the head of the Shas party in Israel, from discussing Pollard when recently speaking to President George Bush. Olmert's insistence that Yishai not raise the topic of Pollard was based on the prime minister's explanation that he had already discussed the matter with the president.
Olmert's actions epitomize the reason Pollard remains imprisoned after the latter's actions on behalf of Israel. Israel, in concert with a compliant American Jewish leadership, offers a common strategy of "let us handle the Pollard matter ourselves behind closed and private doors." Pollard has now been incarcerated , proof enough of the strategy's utter failure. It is also reason enough to demand that this misbegotten strategy now end.
But, by and large, the policy remains unchanged: Pollard is not a subject to be discussed. And this refusal to raise the matter has directly led the US Administration to believe it is not an important issue. I personally received confirmation of this imposed silence from a member of the US Administration, who bluntly told me that Jewish leaders refuse to bring it up in their meetings with the president and the secretary of state.
In fact, in my endeavors to publicize the injustice to Pollard with high-level Jewish spokesmen, I am regularly informed that they are instructed before any meetings with Administration figures that they are permitted to discuss any issue but that of Jonathan Pollard. And yet, I have learned in meetings with others, not representing the major Jewish organizations, that they have brought the Pollard case up with the president and found him respectfully listening to their concerns. Moreover, the president gave no indication that he questioned the appropriateness of discussing the case or hinting that it should not be brought up again.
Without the support of the Israeli government or any American Jewish leaders, I succeeded in helping to convince former US Senator (AZ) Dennis DeConcini, the former head of the Intelligence Committee, to reverse his position and support Pollard's release. In kind, former CIA Director James Woolsey was questioned, at my suggestion, on Arutz Sheva and he made public his views supporting Pollard's release. Both of these leaders know all the classified information about Pollard and believe he should be released.
They know that the average sentence is 2-4 years for giving classified information to an ally, that Pollard plead guilty and cooperated with the government, that he has expressed remorse for his actions - and yet he is still in prison and is now in poor health. They also know that Pollard did not give away US agents. By supporting his release, the two American leaders refuted the circular reasoning that Pollard must have done something terrible we are not aware of to have received such a sentence. This was also made clear by Lawrence Korb, deputy to former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, when he wrote Pollard's father and said that Pollard's severe sentence was due to Weinberger's visceral hatred for Israel.
Woolsey and DeConcini know the facts and know the lies that were stated by Secretary of Defense Weinberger in the Pollard case. In Weinberger's 46-page memo to the judge and a supplemental four-page memo the day before sentencing, Weinberger stated: "It is difficult for me, in the so-called 'year of the spy' to conceive of a greater harm to national security" then that caused by Jonathan Pollard.
However, Pollard's lawyers discovered in 2000, and put in their brief, the fact that the dockets in the Walker and Whitworth espionage cases (which occurred the same year as Pollard) contained government admissions that (i) information Walker provided the Soviet Union had "war-winning implications" and resulted in "the most damaging impact ever suffered by the U.S. communications security establishment," and (ii) information Whitworth provided the Soviet Union "would have been 'devastating' to the United States in time of war" and had "jeopardized the backbone of this country's national defense and countless lives of military personnel." (Exhibit U at p. 10; Exhibit V at para. 3(f), 18; Motion at 7) The existence of these documents rebut the government's sentencing allegation that Pollard had caused more harm than had any other spy in the "year of spy" (Exhibit N at para. 2).
Furthermore, The Department of Justice submitted to the Court in 1987 its Victim Impact Statement of the damage that they believed Pollard caused. The statement described the actual damage as:
"Mr. Pollard's unauthorized disclosures have threatened the US [sic] relations with numerous Middle East Arab allies, many of whom question the extent to which Mr. Pollard's disclosures of classified information have skewed the balance of power in the Middle East. Moreover, because Mr. Pollard provided the Israelis virtually any classified document requested by Mr. Pollard's coconspirators, the US has been deprived of the quid pro quo routinely received during authorized and official intelligence exchanges with Israel, and Israel has received information classified at a level far in excess of that ever contemplated by the National Security Council. The obvious result of Mr. Pollard's largesse is the US bargaining leverage with the Israeli government in any further intelligence exchanges has been undermined. In short, Mr. Pollard's activities have adversely affected US relations with both its Middle East Arab allies and the government of Israel."
In short, Pollard's damage to the US (according to the US government) was hurting their intelligence exchanges with Israel and the Arab countries - a crime for which a 2-4 year sentence (which is the average sentence for such a crime) would have been justified.
Accordingly, it should be very easy for Israel and American Jewish leaders to obtain Pollard's release after 22 years, but they have failed to do so. Therefore, why would Israel and American Jewish leaders therefore not encourage support wherever it may be found - as they do in exposing the dangers of Iran becoming a nuclear power? If indeed the president said "no" to Olmert, how could Pollard's cause have been hurt by Minister Yishai raising the issue? After twenty-two years of a "quiet approach," it certainly could not have hurt the cause. As Senator Jon Kyl once told me: if there exist no public results to show for the confidential private action, then there likely is little or no private action.
The policy of (not) pressing the case for Pollard's release must change. Otherwise, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, continuing the same failed policy concerning freeing Jonathan Pollard and expecting a different result is insanity. Pressure your Jewish leaders. Ask them to lead. Or call the White House at 202-456-1414 and inform the president that this is a priority issue for our community, which demands that Jonathan Pollard's sentence be commuted to time served. It's quite simple: do for Pollard what you would want someone to do for you.