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Free Pollard: All We Have To Do Is Ask

By Moshe Feiglin

When US Vice President Joe Biden publicly comments that it is time to free Jonathan Pollard, it is not by chance. There is no doubt that this remark was coordinated with the President. When this declaration is accompanied by similar comments by the heads of American security agencies that were involved with Pollard’s conviction and the highest echelons of the US Defense Department (former Undersecretary of Defense Lawrence Korb) it is clear that something is being orchestrated from above.

After Pollard has served twenty five years in prison, America has suddenly discovered that he did not transfer any information to the Soviets, that the information that he transferred to Israel did not endanger the US at all; that according to a previous agreement, the US was supposed to have relayed that same information to Israel and that the radically severe prison sentence that Pollard is serving is completely disproportionate to his actions and totally unprecedented.

The feeling that something in America has moved motivated activists for Pollard to sign all the 109 Jewish Knesset Members on an across the board petition to the US President requesting Pollard’s release. But Netanyahu refused to take the letter to America.

This is not the first time that a petition like this has been signed. When Sharon was PM, 112 MKs signed a similar letter and asked him to present it to President Bush. Olmert also had the same opportunity. They both refused. At the time, it seemed possible that they refused because the Americans advised them to do so. But now, when the voices calling for Pollard’s release are coming out of America, it is clear that the source of the pressure not to release Pollard is Israel – not America.

Amazingly, in all the years that Pollard has been imprisoned, Israel has never officially requested his release. In fact, Israel has done all that it could to help the Americans convict him and sentence him to the longest prison term possible. Rafi Eitan, who was Pollard’s handler, publicly expressed his regret that we did not put a bullet through Pollard’s head and save ourselves this whole complication.

Too many important people in Israel who were involved with the Pollard case don’t want him here. It is reasonable to think that they are pressuring Netanyahu. Shimon Peres, who was PM then, is the person who gave the Americans the documents they needed to convict Pollard. The head of Intelligence GHQ then was Ehud Barak. These are just a few of the senior officials who would like to see Pollard die in jail. But ultimately, the responsibility for the fact that our brother, Jonathan, may not see the light of day is completely on the Prime Minister’s shoulders.

Pollard is the Jew who saved the Israelis from the Americans. This role is completely unacceptable in our country. Pollard holds up a mirror to Israel, anxiously fleeing its identity (to America). Israel is not interested in peering into that mirror. Pollard says to us all: I endangered myself for you because I am a Jew and you are Jews.

But we do not want to be Jews. We are Israelis. We are no longer a ‘nation that dwells alone.’ We have America. If Pollard had been jailed like Sharansky in the USSR or a similar enemy of America, we would have turned him into a national hero. But Pollard has fallen right into our internal identity crisis – and we simply can’t stomach him.

I have visited Jonathan Pollard five times. His condition is horrendous. He has never enjoyed even one day of furlough. If he dies, G-d forbid, his blood will boil at our doorsteps. To gain his release, all we have to do is ask. But we are not willing to do that.

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