The silence is killing Pollard

Tzvi Fishman - The Times of Israel - December 31, 2012

(Originally published April 9, 2012)

Now that Jonathan Pollard has been rushed to a hospital, you would think that the Jews of America would finally raise their long silent voices and scream out for his release.

But no, the silence continues, deafening in its fright. Why fright? Let's face it: most Jews in America - at least those to whom being Jewish still means something - are terrified of seeming to harbor dual loyalties. Yes, they will lobby for Israel on certain issues, and stand by Israel in the face of world enmity, but come to bat for a fellow Jew convicted of spying for Israel? That's too much to expect of them. After all, Pollard stole top-secret American documents and passed them along to the Israelis.

It doesn't matter that the United States had signed a pact with Israel to share all secret information regarding Israel's security. It doesn't matter that the information that Pollard gave the Israelis probably saved hundreds of Israeli lives. The fact is that as an American citizen, Pollard betrayed America, and that's something American Jews don't dare identify with, even if the poor fellow has served nearly 30 years of a life sentence (a sentence unheard of for handing over secrets to an ally); even if he never received an honest trial; even if his health is in grave danger; even if the government of Israel has requested his pardon - none of this matters to American Jews. Why?

Because American Jews are terrified of seeming to be un-American.

They are terrified of making waves, lest they appear "too Jewish," and thus make the real Americans take notice of them and remember that Jews are not real Americans at all, but rather strangers with America passports.

The Jews keep silent about the terrible injustice in the case of Jonathan Pollard because they don't want the Americans to remember that Jews don't belong in America, just as they never really belonged in Spain, or Germany, or Russia; because, as everyone knows, Jews have their own Jewish land that G-d gave them.

So the American Jews keep silent regarding Jonathan Pollard, praying that the Americans won't notice them and remember that they don't belong in America at all.

They keep quiet, even though a true Jewish hero may be dying, terrified that if they raise their voices too loudly, the Americans may remember that the Jews of the United States are really once-upon-a-time Israelis who were expelled from their own Jewish land long ago.

And Jonathan Pollard suffers under heavy guard in a hospital bed. And the silence threatens to kill him. And nobody cares.

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Minister of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. For several years, he wrote a popular blog at Israel National News. A former screenwriter and novelist in Hollywood, he is also the author of a number of books.

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