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ADL Says Pollard Case 'Borders on Anti-Semitism'

National Director Abe Foxman calls out the US on hiding anti-Semitism in heated meeting with Knesset members.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/4/2014, 9:17 AM

Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), met with the Ruderman Fellows Knesset Mission on Thursday. 

During the meeting, Foxman - as well as several MKs - attempted to campaign for the release of longtime captive, Jonathan Pollard. Foxman maintained that the US's motives in not releasing Pollard are suspect.

"The only explanation I have is that it borders on anti-Semitism," Foxman stated. "Today I have no rational explanation as to why he is still being held. "

"Jews are not as secured in this country as they pretend to be," Foxman stated. "We are not as powerful as they think we are nor as powerful as we pretend to be. There is a level of insecurity."

"This was an issue that embarrassed the American Jewish community, that undermines its ability to help Israel," he continued. "We have been conducting polls in America. Anti-Semitism in America has gone down, from 30% since 1965 to 10% today."

"There are two statistics that have not changed: one is (the belief) that the Jews have killed (Jesus) Christ," he noted. "It was 30% (in 1965) now it's 26%. 30% of the American people believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States."

"This is political anti-Semitism. This is a stereotype 'Jews can't be trusted', 'Jews aren't loyal', 'Jews only care about themselves', etc. And for us to find it in this country! 30% is almost one out of three!"

Foxman also denied the claim that Pollard is not being released because he is withholding information dangerous to the US's security. Despite the push for his release, however, the ADL Director - like many MKs, religious and public figures in Israel - spoke strongly against Pollard's release in exchange for releasing Arab terrorists. 

The Ruderman Fellows Knesset Mission consists of MKs from five different political parties who traveled to New York and Boston to examine, in-depth, the status of Diaspora Jewry. The Mission seeks to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. MKs include Itzik Shmuli (Labor), Nahman Shai (Labor), Michal Rozin (Meretz), Shuli Muallem-Rafaeli (Jewish Home),  Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu) and Shimon Solomon (Yesh Atid). 

Knesset MKs, ADL at meeting Noam Gilai

Jonathan Pollard has recently been the subject of a high-profile campaign for his release. He is now in his 29th year of incarceration in a US jail for passing classified security-related information from America to Israel. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and has been held ever since, including eight years in solitary confinement.

Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious than those that landed other spies in jail, yet those spies served a few years's jail time at most, critics noted, slamming the US for "hypocrisy." 

Over 106 MKs attended a special Knesset session in December to protest US President Barack Obama's refusal to release the prisoner, and signed a petition urging the President to reconsider. 

Several top US officials, including Former Deputy National Security adviser Elliott Abrams, US Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Jonathan Pollard affair Lawrence Korb, and former CIA chief James Woolsey, have also called for Pollard to be released. Former captive Gilad Shalit reiterated those calls in an emotional plea Monday morning. 

Several senior senators have opposed freeing the longtime captive, despite the sharp criticism of Israeli politicians, and even top American officials over the US's harsh treatment of the case. The ADL slammed the US for making Pollard a 'bargaining chip' earlier this week.