Leaving Pollard in jail is now officially absurd
Meyer Habib - The Times of Israel - December 24, 2013
The world's self proclaimed champion of human rights, President Obama, got caught practicing exactly the contrary of the values he says he fights for. He was caught spying on his closest allies, including France and Israel. This hostile behavior requires that hard questions be asked.
President Obama gives lessons to the world about freedom and about the protection of private life, yet an American federal agency is putting in place a "big brother" system with the objective of spying on American and foreign citizens, diplomats, and Government officials! Those activities are practiced with no judiciary control. President Obama's policy is the contrary of the values that America stands for.
This behavior is unacceptable.
This autumn, the public learned that the Americans had targeted the European Commission as well as different ministries of many European countries. One can understand the furor of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who was not too pleased to learn that his secret communications were tapped by our American friends!
President Obama also had to deal with the anger of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. She was not happy to discover that her very own cell phone was tapped by the NSA, and that all her conversations were shared with American agents based in Fort Meade, Maryland.
And in the past few days, it has been made public that the NSA was also spying on Israel, despite the mutual non-spying agreement signed in 1985 between the two allies! Between 2008 and 2011, the NSA has been illegally listening to many Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister at the time, Ehud Olmert, and the Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
France, Israel and the European countries are extremely close allies of the United States, and the Americans should not treat its allies this way.
And while the NSA listens to the conversations of America's allies, one man is sitting in jail in the United States. He has been sitting in jail for the past 27 years. [J4JP Clarification:Pollard is now serving year 29 in prison]. He is sick and suffering. His crime? He practiced the same spying activity that the NSA conducts so well, but this time against the United States. This man is Jonathan Pollard. A young Navy Intelligence analyst in the early 1980s, he gave classified information to Israel, a state surrounded by enemies and that relies on information for its survival.
If we applied the same rules to the American officials that are spying on France and Israel, how many years should they sit in jail for? Ten, twenty, thirty years?
This man has transgressed. But after 27 years in jail, he has paid his debt to society. Five Israeli prime ministers have asked in vain for a presidential pardon for this man. In the current context of the NSA spying on all its allies, I wrote to President Obama on November 10th to ask him to pardon Jonathan Pollard.
During a trip to Washington early December, I met with American congressmen and senators: They agreed with me. The spying activities of President Obama are unacceptable and in this context, it should be natural to free Jonathan Pollard. But nobody has the courage to publicly voice these opinions!
The Americans are pushing Israel to free hundreds of Palestinian terrorists who killed women and children. And they are unable to free a man who has killed no one, a man who is sick, a man who has paid his debt to society!?
So once again, I call for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard. President Obama would come out of this a greater man.
Meyer Habib is a member of the French Parliament elected by French citizens living abroad in 8 countries of the Mediterranean including Israel. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the French Parliament. Meyer Habib was an advisor to Prime minister Netanyahu.
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