US Ambassador Jones: 'Be Happy We Didn't Execute Pollard'
Pollard supporters are enraged at US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones for his remarks Monday morning, implying that Jonathan Pollard committed treason or sold US secrets to Israel.
Speaking at a conference at Bar Ilan University on Israeli-American relations, Jones said, "Pollard took money and sold out his country... The fact that he wasn't executed shows that he was treated mercifully."
"Malicious incitement against both Jonathan and Israel" is how an infuriated Esther Pollard, Jonathan's wife, described it.
"For one thing," she told Arutz-7, "the U.S. has no death penalty for the charge on which Jonathan was accused or convicted. It has a death penalty only for treason - and Jones knows that Jonathan was never accused of treason. It is merely because Israel seems to have abandoned its agent in the field that the American Ambassador feels he can get away with talking like this."
"And where is Israel?!" she asked. "How can it be that the US Ambassador says that an Israeli agent deserved to be executed, and Israel is silent?!"
Arutz-7 contacted the Foreign Ministry for its response, and was told that the matter would be checked. The Ministry later issued a statement to the effect that Ambassador Yoram Ben-Ze'ev, the head of the North American Division of the Foreign Ministry, had asked for a meeting with Jones, "in which Ben-Ze'ev reiterated the Ministry's well-known policy on Pollard." Asked to elaborate on the details of this policy, the Ministry spokesman told Arutz-7, "It is well-known."
Such a reaction did not mollify MK Uri Ariel, the head of the Knesset lobby for Pollard. MK Ariel demanded that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni herself demand an immediate apology from Jones. "For spying for a friendly country," Ariel wrote to Livni, "no one has ever received a sentence even close to the sentence that Pollard has served thus far - 22 years! ... The remarks by Jones border on anti-Semitism and a hostile attitude towards Israel..."
"Israel was forced to employ Pollard as its agent," Ariel continued, "only because America betrayed our trust and hid critical information from us regarding chemical weapons and anti-Israeli terrorist plots in Arab nations, in blatant violation of agreements we had with the US which we kept in full... The fact that Israel does not demand his release even after 22 years is endangering an agent that Israel sent on a mission - and also paves the way for statements like those made by Jones."
Mrs. Pollard said, "The remarks by Ambassador Jones fly in the face of former CIA director James Woolsey's opinion that Jonathan should be released already. He is also contradicting former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who said that the charges against him were inflated to begin with."
New Bumper Sticker Campaign
At the same time, a new grassroots campaign is underway to "express the nation's desire" to see Jonathan Pollard home - via bumper stickers. The organizers hope to "stick" 100,000 cars.
Eliana, a 19-year-old from Be'er Sheva doing a year of national service in Raanana, is one of the driving forces behind the new campaign. "It's only been about a week, and we estimate that some 5,000 cars already have the new sticker. We have been shocked at the amount of people calling in or emailing us, asking for the stickers. And it's not just high schoolers who have free time and can give them out at intersections - there have also been many office workers asking us for 50 or more that they can give out to their fellow employees. People really want Pollard home already!"
The campaign comes on the heels of reports that Pollard's health, long impaired, has deteriorated severely in recent weeks. He is simply "living on miracles," his wife summed up.
The bumper sticker campaign organizers explain that given the fact that the Israeli government shows no sign of taking any initiative to seek Pollard's release, "we ask: How can we express in the fastest, strongest, and most effective way, the will of the nation to free Jonathan Pollard?" Their answer was to "very quickly distribute and post 100,000 or more bumper stickers on cars throughout the country. With this many bumper stickers on cars traveling the length and breadth of the country, it will be impossible to ignore the message: We Want Pollard Home Now!"
To participate in the campaign, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
"We hope and pray that Jonathan will be freed by the Americans, and that he will be with us even in time for the Shavuot holiday [which begins Tuesday night]," MK Ariel concluded.