Op-Ed: Pollard Betrayed
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
I stand ashamed that my friends betrayed Pollard”
Bret Stephens is one of the best columnists the Wall Street Journal has ever had. He is also one of the most brave Jewish journalists in the United States and in general.
I also consider him a friend. But Stephens’ latest column, titled “Don’t free Jonathan Pollard”, left me with no words, simply speechless. I stand ashamed that even my friends forsake and slander Pollard in this way.
Bret Stephens’ attack on the Israeli spy, who for a good part of that time has been held in conditions worse than those in which Gilad Schalit was held, is based on two blood libels: that Pollard was a “wacko” and that he was a "mercenary" who betrayed the United States for money. Stephens also implies that Pollard’s character, not his deeds, are on trial.
It is very hard to understand why so many US Jews work on themselves to hate Jonathan Pollard. The French essayst René Girard used to call it “the scapeagot”. Pollard reminds one of the Chinese dissidente who, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, were publicly indicted with a sign calling them “traitor”.
Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker has been putting forward the idea that Pollard was a“cocaine addict” and an “alcoholic”, deep in debt and that is why he succumbed to the Israeli offer of money for passing along secret documents (I happen to know real drug-addicted journalists who don't deserve to sit in the same jail as Jonathan Pollard).
Bret Stephens embraced this version, while the truth is somewhere else entirely: Pollard sought out the Israelis and volunteered to give, not sell, secrets to Israel about nuclear, chemical and biological weapons under construction by Iraq and other Arab states for use against the Jewish people. Pollard worked for six months without receiving any payment from the Israelis, and never did ask for any money in exchange for his services.
The lies against Pollard have been purposely disseminated to undermine his credibility, to demonize him, to defame him, as a witness to the undeclared Intelligence embargo instituted against Israel by Caspar Weinberger. Otherwise, Bret, how can you explain that Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin approved Pollard’s work? Pollard’s ideological bona fides have been proven many times. Even the sentencing judge, Aubrey Robinson, acknowledged that Pollard was an ideologue and not a mercenary.
And yet, in spite of this, virtually all of the most influential Jewish voices in America remain silent. How long is the list of respected writers, opinion makers and journalists who routinely have a great deal to say about Jewish issues, but nothing about Jonathan Pollard, or worse, ask Barack Obama not to grant him clemency?
It would be easier to list those who fought and wrote for Pollard’s liberation. They are very few. Incredibly, the Jewish spokesmen claim to be “pro-Israel”, but their actions and words betray their claim. Pollard is the latest of a long list of Jews and their helpers betrayed by the so called “Jewish establishment”, including the ghetto fighters, Yair Stern, the lost Yemenite children, the Lebanese Christians, Gush Katif's pioneers.
For years, only brave Arutz Sheva fought for the safety and liberation of Jonathan Pollard, while the Israeli media establishment demolished any chance of his liberation.
Jonathan was put away for life not because he endangered the US, but because he irritated US Arab allies who felt that Israel had been too much strengthened; and second, because he made Israel impervious to American pressure. What Pollard endangered was the US administration's pro-Arab political agenda, not the intelligence community.
The recently released CIA documents clearly show that Pollard focused on "Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab weaponry, including chemical weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defences; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; and Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness”.
Pollard passed Israel photos of the PLO headquarters in Tunis, secret information about Libya’s air defenses, Syrian chemical weapons, Egyptian ballistic missile capabilities, and the Pakistani atomic program.
Is that a crime worthy of a life sentence, Bret? Not being allowed to attend your father's funeral?
Pollard obtained the most exact U.S.-gathered information about Iraqi chemical warfare capabilities, including satellite pictures and maps showing the location of factories and storage facilities. The United States did not want to make such specific information available to Israel, fearing a preemptive strike.
Why did Israel stockpile several million gas masks for the protection of the entire population in 1991 and 2003? Because of Pollard. And the United States, which didn’t bomb Auschwitz, is now letting Pollard die in jail.
“It would have been an outright betrayal of my heritage, my personal integrity and an entire family lost in the ovens of the Holocaust if I had simply taken the safe route and closed my eyes to what had to be done”, once declared Pollard. Is this the “wacko Jew” whom many wealthy, "in" US Jews desperately want to keep behind bars?
I stand ashamed that even my friends betrayed Pollard, who should be not only freed but also rehabilitated as a savior of the Israeli people. If they don’t consider his liberation a cause worth of fighting for, it means that all the rambling speeches of these Jewish commentators, with their expensive houses in Chavy Chase and on Park Avenue, are good for nothing but wrapping fish in the market .