Bringing Jonathan Home

Professor Paul Eidelberg - IMRA - October 28, 2002

How are we to understand the grossly prolonged and cruel incarceration of Jonathan Pollard, and what may be done to liberate this suffering Jew and bring him home, to unite him with his devoted wife and the country he has served?

To begin with, let us consider some of the principals responsible for Jonathan's unduly long imprisonment-decreed for life even though he conveyed classified information to a friendly state, cooperated with his prosecutors, and by all that is fair and just should have received a relatively short term in prison for violating American law.

First, a word about three American officials. One is former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger. Perhaps to prove his detachment from his partly Jewish ancestry, Weinberger publicly exaggerated the gravity of Jonathan's crime and secretly and unlawfully prejudiced his trial. Another is Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now a justice of the Supreme Court. As a member of the Apellate Court, Judge Ginsberg, whose reputation as a liberal is impeccable, proved how thoroughly liberated she is from Judaism by voting against Jonathan's lawyer's appeal for a retrial. And then there is Bill Clinton. This flamboyant president let Jonathan languish in jail yet pardoned an escaped felon, Mark Rich, who had contributed to a Clinton campaign fund.

More shameful, the heads of American Jewish organizations have failed to rally to Jonathan's cause in their well-publicized meetings at the White House. Apparently, urging the occupant of the Oval Office to pardon Jonathan Pollard might make them too appear too conspicuous as Jews. And so Jews in America have been rather silent about this modern Dreyfus.

And there have been various prime ministers of Israel who have forsaken their duty to liberate Jewish captives and bring them home. Jonathan, betrayed by Israel's embassy in Washington, which turned him over to the FBI, has become a citizen of Israel. Nevertheless, Israel's current Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has avoided the Pollard issue in meetings with President George W. Bush. Sacrificing Jews for "reasons of state" - however irrational these reasons may be - has become habitual with this prime minister, who rejects zero tolerance for Arab terrorism. Jews just don't want to appear too "pushy" lest they disturb the "goyim."

So, if Jews will not do what is necessary to liberate Jonathan Pollard, perhaps the "goyim" may be prompted to do so. It was Christians, not Jews, who shamed France for the unjust trialand imprisonment of Alfred Dreyfus. Here I am reminded of a former colleague of mine,Professor Angelo Codevilla, a devout Catholic and former staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who bravely denounced the American government's skullduggery in Jonathan's trial and the unprecedented length and cruelty of his incarceration.

And yet, because the Jewish State of Israel exists, it remains for Jews to bring Jonathan home, and they dare not shirk this responsibility. Timid and myopic Jews do not see that Jonathan's lonely imprisonment and the world's indifference to his fate is symbolic of Israel, the maligned, abandoned, and ever "suffering servant of the Lord." Little to these Jews realize that their timidity arouses the contempt of Gentiles, not only for them but for Israel as well. They do not see that Jonathan Pollard's bondage is linked to Israel's bondage. Indeed, until Israel brings Jonathan home, Israel will remain the scapegoat of nations, and Jews in this country, like Jonathan, will remain expendable.

Biographical Note

: Paul Eidelberg (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is the author of ten books on American politics, the Arab-Israel conflict, and Jewish philosophy. Prof. Eidelberg is on the Editorial Board of Israel's premier journal, Nativ, and on the Advisory Council of the Ariel Center of Policy Research.
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