Pollard: A Trophy For Bibi?
03/31/2014 - 16:58
Douglas Bloomfield

We're seeing a number of stories out of Israel lately saying convicted spy Jonathan Pollard might be freed as part of a deal to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to honor his commitment to release the final group of 26 Palestinian prisoners (out of 104) and to keep peace talks with the Palestinians going until the end of the year.

Releasing Pollard in order to salvage the peace talks makes no sense.  I doubt a single one of his hardcore supporters would change their views on establishing a Palestinian state. Some might even condemn him for selling out by being used to advance the peace talks with the Palestinians. Pollard's backers are largely on the far right, where opposition to any deal the Palestinians would sign is unlikely to change even if Pollard himself endorsed it.

Does Barack Obama, who has the power to free Pollard, really think that would make Netanyahu any more likely to cut a deal with the Palestinians? 

Pollard's release would be a trophy for Netanyahu to show his fealty to the right wing, but it wouldn't change a single vote from opposition to support for the peace process. That the future of the peace talks would come down to this shows how little substance there really is to the talks.

If Pollard is to be released, it should be on the merits of the case.  He has refused to seek parole, although it would be the surest path to freedom.  Could that be because it would constitute an admission of guilt?  Is it because he has not shown unambiguous remorse for betraying his country?

This is just the latest of many rumors over the years started by Pollard's supporters suggesting his release would magically open doors. During the 2012 presidential campaign one right wing rabbi even stated that unless Barack Obama freed Pollard he would lose the Jewish vote that year.

Releasing Pollard, whose supporters regard him as a hero, would undoubtedly cause Obama major trouble with the defense and intelligence establishment in Washington, which cannot abide a convicted spy whose supporters say was justified in his betrayal of his own country - and who has done nothing to silence those supporters.

Most Americans do not see Pollard as the hero that many Israelis do.  Instead they consider him a traitor to his country who tried to justify his betrayal on grounds that he was helping Israel because the United States would not provide it the intelligence he decided it should have.  

Comments

Who wrote the headline: 'Pollard: a trophy for Bibi'? I think it is offensive. Pollard is not a trophy; he shouldn't be thought of as a 'trophy' because he is in no way a prize for Bibi's success - or anyone else's success, for that matter. I don't think anyone knows how Pollard got to this point in time and place, except perhaps G-d. Certainly Pollard made some grievous mistakes, and for those he has paid a very heavy price. I pray that this long, painful chapter in his life will soon end, so he can find some salvation. Clearly, opinions of Pollard vary widely, but casting indignities at a man who has been punished as severely as Jonathan Pollard is vile.

Palestain and Israel are the names that everybody knows; even a child knows what the two country really mean in this world. So many issues are with these lands.

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'Most Americans do not see Pollard as the hero that many Israelis do. Instead they consider him a traitor to his country who tried to justify his betrayal on grounds that he was helping Israel because the United States would not provide it the intelligence he decided it should have.'
Mr. Bloomfield misses the crucial point. Pollard SERVED HIS TIME. James Woolsey, a former head of the CIA, has said he has personally looked deeply into the case and concluded that if Pollard were not Jewish, he would have been released by now. Lawbreakers should be punished according to the severity of the crime and the law. That's the way the US justice system is supposed to work. Pollard has been imprisoned longer than anyone else convicted of a similar crime - and there have been other convictions. Woolsey specifically said Pollard is no Ames or Hanson. I have followed this case from the beginning I have never seen a shred of evidence or heard a reasonable explanation for continuing to hold Jonathan Pollard in jail.

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