Boycott 4th of July party

Op-ed: Influential Israelis must show displeasure over American attitude to Jonathan Pollard

Smadar Shir - YNet - June 24, 2011

I was not invited to the Fourth of July party at the US ambassador's home - how embarrassing indeed - so his highness will not notice my absence. Yet had I been accustomed to rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, and had I received an invitation to this party, which constitutes an entry ticket into high society, I would have stayed home.

I would have stayed home because Jonathan Pollard isn't home. I would have stayed home because Jonathan Pollard should have been out of jail a long time ago; and also because his request to bid his dying father farewell was refused, just as his request to kiss his mother one last time before she passed away was rejected.

The heart - the Jewish, Israeli, human heart - cannot fake elation when a son is forbidden from accompanying his father to his final resting place.

This is much beyond politics, the verdict, and the blood libel that was or wasn't. For 26 years now, Pollard is rotting in prison after having been found guilty of espionage for an ally, while prisoners convicted of espionage for enemies served a fraction of his sentence and were released.

America's insistence to go hard on Pollard more than on any other prisoner prompts the most basic questions: Where is justice? And if justice has evaporated, where's the heart? Where have the human rights etched on the stars and stripes disappeared to? How was mercy cast away?

We expected more from US

Many people, in Israel and abroad, who are pained every day by Gilad Shalit's ongoing captivity, sum up the situation by saying that "there is nobody to talk to, they're human animals." Yet from the United States, which is Israel's greatest ally, we expected more. Not an automatic release, but humanitarian conduct.

Just like one is more gravely insulted by his son's slip of the tongue than by the curses of a stranger, we have the right to be doubly hurt by the fact that it is precisely our best friend that is preventing a member of our people from enjoying the basic rights granted to murderers and rapists.

As this is a friend, we shall show respect. We shall not smear and we shall most certainly not threaten. As we are closely attached to the state that is giving us the cold shoulder on this front, we obviously will not declare an end to the friendship. These are dangerous games to play.

However, the Internet readers who express their protest online deserve a citation for illustrating the Jewish principle of mutual guarantee. We should also laud members of high society - ranging from influential politicians to a fashion model - who will make their feelings known by boycotting the Fourth of July party. There is no reason to uncork a champagne bottle yet. Let there be a reason, soon.

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