Pollard's Regrets

The Forward - Editorial - July 5, 1991

From a basement cell at the federal prison at Marion, Illinois, Jonathan Pollard has issued a statement of remorse. it comes in the form of a letter to his parents, as the United States court of appeals is preparing to hear arguments that Pollard should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to spying for Israel. The appeal contends the prosecutors violated their plea bargain. Pollard's latest letter is an eloquent epistle. It reflects the kind of introspection a prisoner is forced to undertake when he sits in solitary confinement for six years.

It makes clear that Pollard comprehends he committed a catastrophic crime, no matter how poignant a predicament he perceived himself to be in when he saw the dangers looming over Israel. Pollard voices his remorse not only for the damage done to the United States but also for that done to the Jewish community. He says his actions provided ammunition to anyone who might want to accuse American Jews of having dual loyalties. We are worried less about the dual-loyalty question. Most Jews, like other ethnic groups, have never had trouble handling their affections for both the Old World and the New.

Few of us will welcome Pollard as a hero if Pollard is ever released from prison. But many will sense that of the burdens Jews have been asked to carry, Jonathan Pollard is relatively light. The damage to America is far more serious. The anger of the American administration rightly reminds us that the national security is not a game. When all this is over, it would be nice to hear some remorse from the politicians who tilted America's Gulf policy toward Iraq during the period when Jonathan Pollard panicked.

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