Op-Ed: Murderers are Released; Pollard Continues to Languish
There is no forgiveness for passing classified information to help Israel...but Jewish blood is cheap.
The American administration, which claims it does not interfere in "the decisions of the justice system”, successfully pressured the Israeli government to demonstrate complete contempt towards the decisions of Israel’s justice system and to ignore fundamental principles of law by releasing the unrepentant murderers of innocent men, women and children from Israel’s prisons.
The US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, recently declared that the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison should not be expected any time soon.
"There would have to be very unusual circumstances for President Obama to get involved in opposition to a decision by the justice system," said the ambassador. "The president has only very rarely involved himself in these kinds of matters throughout his term. There is no reason to expect that this case should be treated any differently than any other case."
What a diplomatically disingenuous statement! Pollard has been languishing in jail for 29 years. He is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for a friendly country. The usual sentence is two to four years.
Last year his health took a turn for the worse and he was hospitalized five times with life-threatening medical emergencies.
Numerous senior American officials have voiced their support for his release, among them past Secretaries of State Kissinger and Shultz, past CIA head James Woolsey, and others, who have first-hand knowledge of the classified information relating to the case.
And what does the ambassador say? In the absence of “unusual circumstances... the President rarely gets involved in these kinds of matters.”
A Celebration of Hypocrisy
We, however, are very familiar with strong American involvement "in these kinds of matters." For example, the release of murderers and terrorists from Israeli prisons.
All of the bereaved families’ protests and the outcries of Israel’s citizens protesting against the release of the murderers were readily dismissed by the Israeli government’s claim, “We have no choice but to release the murderers in order to honor the commitment we made to the United States.”
The same American administration which claims it does not interfere in "the decisions of the justice system” successfully pressured the Israeli government to do just that; to demonstrate complete contempt towards the decisions of Israel’s justice system and to ignore fundamental principles of law by releasing the unrepentant murderers of innocent men, women and children from Israel’s prisons.
Where has there ever been a precedent for this? What country would be willing to release the murderers of its own citizens? But the almighty America pressed and Israel caved in.
It is likely that during the talks on this issue the Israeli delegates made the request that America help sweeten the bitter pill by releasing Pollard. How do you think the American delegates responded? Imagine the disdain on the faces of the Americans in ties and jackets when they hear Israel's request to release Pollard. They must have leaned back in their armchairs and muttered with poker faces: "The President rarely gets involved in these kinds of matters.”
The Message is Clear
We don't know why the Americans continue to behave with such harshness and cruelty towards Pollard who caused no damage to the US, while spies who did do damage were released after serving much shorter sentences. However, keeping Pollard in jail for such an extended period of time sends a loud and clear message: there is no forgiveness for passing classified information to help Israel.
Moreover, releasing the unrepentant murderers of innocent men, women and children from Israeli prisons sends a corollary message: Jewish blood is cheap. The convicted murderers whose hands are dripping with Jewish blood are released to a hero's welcome. We call them “murderers” which is what they are, but the government deceptively refers to them as “prisoners”, as if they had been unjustly incarcerated as political prisoners.
After each appalling act of terrorism in Israel, the Prime Minister and the IDF are quick to declare that "the long arm of the IDF will bring the murderers to justice," and indeed, the security forces endanger their lives to apprehend the murderers.
But it's not really serious. Sooner or later they will be released, whether to appease the Americans, or to grease the palm of Abbas, lest he turn to the UN, Heaven forbid!
Because, after all what have the murderers done? Murdered a few Jews? No big deal. It's not the end of the world.
But release Pollard?! How could you even ask such a thing?! You know very well, “the President rarely gets involved.”
The author, Rabbi Menachem Brod , is a senior Chabad rabbi from Kfar Chabad, Israel. He is the spokesman of the Chabad youth movement center Tze'irei Agudas Chabad in Israel and the editor of the nationally distributed Chabad weekly Sichat Hashavua. He is also the official Chabad spokesman in the Israeli media.