U.S. Court Turns Pollard Down, It's Now Up to Israel
The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down a request by Jonathan Pollard to access documents that could help his bid to seek clemency. The ball is now totally in Israel's court, says his wife.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/23/2006, 2:08 PM / Last Update: 3/23/2006, 5:04 PM
The Supreme Court refused this week, without comment, to hear Pollard's request to see classified documents - including a critical memo written by ex-U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. The documents in question were submitted to the judge who originally sentenced Pollard to life in prison 21 years ago for having passed classified documents to Israel, a U.S. ally. Pollard's attorneys say the documents are crucial in his bid to seek clemency from President Bush.
Pollard's wife Esther responded to the U.S. Court's decision by saying that Israeli Prime Ministers have always said that they are restrained in their efforts on behalf of Pollard because of the "ongoing legal initiative in the U.S. But now, no one can claim [that]! The legal initiative is over! Every additional minute that Jonathan remains in prison, his life is at risk. ... The [Acting] Prime Minister [Olmert] must act at once - before this day is over!"
Mrs. Pollard told Israel Radio, "This is the first time in the history of modern espionage that an agent has been forced to face a court of law on his own in the country where he operated, without receiving any support from the country which sent him and for whom he sacrificed himself. It is now 21 years! Ayfoh HaBoosha?! [Where is the sense of shame?!] To this very day they are not working for Jonathan's release and not giving him any backing!"
"Whenever I am out in public," she said, "people come up to me again and again to express their outrage at the ingratitude and irresponsibility of the government, which instead of freeing from captivity the one who served the State and saved the lives of Israeli citizens, just threw him to the dogs... You know, even the ordinary citizen on the street understands that whomever is willing to leave a wounded soldier 'me'ahora' [behind] is not capable of leading the nation 'Kadima' [forward]."
The blow to Pollard from the U.S. legal system follows by just three months a similar blow from Israel's Supreme Court. Israel's High Court rejected Pollard's plea to have the State of Israel recognize him as a Prisoner of Zion, ruling that his activities on behalf of Israel did not meet the required criteria, such as teaching Hebrew or encouraging immigration to Israel.
Mrs. Pollard refused to condemn U.S. Jewry's inaction on behalf of her husband, saying, "They take their marching orders, their instructions, from the Government of Israel. As long as the Government of Israel continues to turn its back on Jonathan, everyone else will continue to do the same."
"I want to repeat and reiterate: He is in mortal danger. Every additional moment, every additional second that Jonathan remains in prison, his life hangs in the balance. There is no reason to wait to bring him home in a coffin, G-d forbid! ... If [Olmert] does not immediately turn to President Bush to demand an immediate end to this travesty, and to free my husband after 21 years in prison, then Mr. Olmert will personally be sentencing Jonathan to death."
The Pollards later released a statement expressing "admiration, gratitude and profound respect to their American attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, for their heroic, undying, untiring efforts to secure justice for Jonathan Pollard, against insuperable odds. Their courage, determination, dedication and devotion to the truth has done the Jewish People great honor and been an enormous Kiddush HaShem [Sanctification of G-d's name]. Fighting a battle for justice - uphill all the way - against three government agencies [the Justice, Intelligence and Defense Departments] determined to prevent the truth in this case from ever coming to light, Lauer and Semmelman fought all the way to the Supreme Court without ever breaking stride or becoming discouraged in the face of utter corruption and behind-the-scenes subversion."
The statement accuses the above agencies of having "thrown their full weight into subverting the rule of law to ensure that Jonathan Pollard, the Jewish agent of the Jewish State, never gets his day in court and that he remain in prison as a constant symbol for use against Israel and against the American Jewish community."
For more information on the Pollard case, see <www.jonathanpollard.org>.