Deafening Silence

Rabbi Simcha Green - Jewish Press (NY) - January 4, 2002

Jonathan Pollard remains in prison, despite the many attempts to secure his release, for several reasons. When I lecture about his case I usually speak of at least a dozen logical theories that have been expressed over the years. They all make sense - but the truth is that Jonathan remains in prison.

During the past year it has been made clear on several occasions by Jonathan and Esther Pollard that Prime Minister Sharon has refused to seek his release. Does this seem impossible to believe? Of course it does, because prior to his election as prime minister, Sharon was an outspoken advocate on behalf of Pollard. It is hard to understand why he has now taken a different position.

But if it's hard to understand Sharon, it's impossible to understand why no Jewish newspaper - including The Jewish Press - has thought it important enough to research the facts of this story and bring those facts to the attention of readers.

Is it because we do not wish to embarrass Prime Minister Sharon at a time when we support the positions he's taken with respect to Yasir Arafat and the PLO?

Is it because we do not like the way Esther Pollard berates Jewish organizations and leaders for not actively pursuing Jonathan's release?

Is it because in seeking to curry favor with the U.S. government we've been advised to "cool it"?

Is it because the life of a single individual is not important enough to place his case in the number one negotiating position?

Jonathan's mother died last month, and he was prevented from attending her funeral and properly observing aveilut (Jewish mourning rituals). Why was there no outcry from our beloved Jewish Press? Have we lost our sense of compassion and, our understanding of basic decency?

When President Bush recently celebrated Chanukah at the White House with some of the most prominent names in American Jewish life, was he asked to consider a pardon for Jonathan Pollard as a holiday gift for the Jewish community? Apparently not - and The Jewish Press was not interested in carrying that story either.

I love The Jewish Press and therefore say with a heavy heart: Shame on you.

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