World Jewry Marks 8,000th Day of Jonathan Pollard's Imprisonment
World Jewry Marks 8,000th Day of Jonathan Pollard's Imprisonment

Justice For Jonathan Pollard (J4JP), an organization established to publicize the facts of the case and promote efforts for his release, says that these 8,000 days represent nearly 22 years of "abandonment and betrayal by Israel, cynical exploitation as a political prisoner by the USA, and cruel and unusual punishment by the 'greatest democracy in the world.'"

More sharply, J4JP accuses the "same Israeli government officials responsible for betraying him at the outset" of "patiently[ly] wait[ing] for 'time and nature' to be the 'final solution' to the Pollard case, G-d forbid!"

This period of 8,000 days in captivity renders Jonathan Pollard the longest-held Israeli captive who is known for certain to still be alive.  Only Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman and Zechariah Baumel, who were captured by the Syrians 25 years ago in the 1982 Peace for Galilee War, have been in captivity longer than him - and there is no certainty that they are alive.

Possibly to mark the occasion, President Shimon Peres - who was Prime Minister when Pollard was arrested - said today that at one point, a deal for Pollard's release was nearly consummated, but was thwarted at the last moment by the CIA.  He did not say when this happened, nor did he provide other details.

Background on the Pollard Case (based on material appearing on the J4JP website):

** The information that Jonathan provided to Israel included Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities - all being developed for use against Israel. He also provided information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on upcoming terrorist attacks planned against Israeli civilian targets.

** Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries. But the information was deliberately being withheld from Israel as the result of an illegal intelligence embargo implemented by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and former Deputy Director of the CIA Admiral Bobby Ray Inman.

** At first, Jonathan volunteered his services, and later became a bona fide agent on behalf of the State of Israel. Even the sentencing judge, who showed he was not very sympathetic to Pollard, recognized that he was an ideologue, not a mercenary, and therefore declined to impose a monetary fine.

** From the time Jonathan was first arrested in 1985, Israel denied all ties to him, and cooperated with the American prosecution to secure a life sentence for him.

** Just six days after Pollard's life sentence was handed down, in complete violation of a previous plea agreement, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations sent a letter to the US State Department stating the life sentence was "just" and implying it would never interfere on his behalf.  The Chairman of the organization, Morris Abram, wrote the same day to then-US Secretary of State George Shultz, "In my judgment, and I believe in yours as well, it would be contrary to the interest of the United States were the Pollard affair allowed to unravel, in any respect, what you have so painstakingly developed... I shall convey [the above sentiments] to the Prime Minister and others in the Israeli government."

** Then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres handed over to the US all of the papers Pollard transferred to Israel, naively and wrongly believing the promises that these would not be used as evidence against him.  Without this evidence, the US would have had no case and would have been forced to set him free. 

** The lawyer who represented Jonathan at the trial - at which he received a life sentence for the offense that draws a median sentence of 2 to 4 years - mysteriously failed to file a simple Notice of Intent to Appeal, forever depriving Jonathan of his right to appeal his life sentence.

** After a long struggle, Israel finally agreed, in May 1998, to officially acknowledge him as her agent.  However, Israel has still not taken basic steps to secure his release.  Israel has never officially informed the White House, or the Justice, Intelligence or State Departments that Pollard is an Israeli agent and that Israel intends to seek his release. Consequently, the U.S. Justice Department continues to regard him only as a common criminal, not as an Israeli agent, and to treat him accordingly.

** Israel has also not officially sought the assistance of U.S. Congressmen in the case, and has also avoided publicly promoting Pollard's release or engaging AIPAC or any other effective lobby organization on his behalf.

** The State of Israel has deliberately attempted to prevent the Israeli public from knowing about Jonathan. A good indicator of such is the Ministry of Education's refusal to include his plight in the regular school curriculum. The Ministry of Education Library and Archives (which teachers use for research) contains no information whatsoever about Jonathan, J4JP says.

** Jonathan miraculously survived the first seven years of his incarceration in "barbaric, solitary-confinement conditions in a dungeon cell three stories underground."  He then waged his own battle, with no help from the State of Israel, to be moved to open population at Butner, North Carolina, where he is still being held today.

** Shortly after his move to Butner in the spring of 1993, Israel sent a Mossad agent to visit Jonathan - and to suggest that he kill himself.

** U.S. officials have said that the life sentence meted out to Pollard was grossly disproportionate and even purely political. The late ex-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose last-minute secret memo to the sentencing judge led to the life sentence, admitted in 2002 that the case was a "minor matter" that had been exaggerated out of all proportion to serve another political agenda.

** Similarly, Dennis Ross, the former U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, stated in his 2004 book "The Missing Peace" that Pollard deserves to be freed unconditionally. Nevertheless, writes Ross, Pollard is far too valuable as a bargaining chip against Israel, and so he advised the president not to release him. Israel did not take advantage of either of these two openings (the statements by Weinberger and Ross).

** In the 22 years that Jonathan has been in prison, he has repeatedly been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and severe affliction. The Government of Israel has been informed of each such episode, but has never intervened or protested.

** As the wife of an Israeli agent, the fact that Esther Pollard remains homeless and penniless speaks volumes about the State's attitude towards Jonathan, J4JP states.  The Pollards have presented documented proof to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss that in 22 years, neither Jonathan nor his wife have ever received a cent from the Government of Israel. Lindenstrauss took no action.

** Pollard's name does not appear on the Ministry of Defense's list of captives, and Israel similarly refuses to grant him Prisoner of Zion status.  He is thus deprived of all rights and protections that these categorizations would grant him.

To mark the sad 8,000-day milestone, J4JP concludes as follows:

"There is no great secret that Jonathan Pollard knows; no threat that his release poses to any of Israel's national interests. On the contrary, his return home would be a strong morale booster at this time for a beleaguered Israeli People under bombardment by Kassam missiles, and continuously pressured by America to uproot Israeli towns and release more and more Palestinian murderers and terrorists.

"Similarly, American officials such as the former head of the CIA James Woolsey have confirmed that Pollard poses no threat to American national security... Pollard himself has repeatedly signed documents for Israeli officials agreeing to any conditions that would be imposed upon him curtailing his right to interview or speak upon his release.

"So why is Israel so unwilling to secure his release and bring him home even after 22 years?  The answer is simple: self-interest on the part of Israel's highest ranking officials in the political establishment and in the Defense Intelligence community.

"There are no Israeli national interests that would be threatened by Jonathan's release. Only private interests, self-serving interests, of the same Israeli officials who abandoned and betrayed Jonathan 22 years ago. People like Ehud Barak [who served at the time of Pollard's arrest as Commander of Military Intelligence], or Rafi Eitan [|Pollard's handler from his position as head of the Office for Information Cooperation at the Israeli Embassy], or Shimon Peres, just to name a few, continue to prefer that Jonathan Pollard die in prison as if he were a 'casualty of war' in order to protect their own careers, their own reputations and their own personal fund-raising abilities in the USA.

"... Their death wish for Jonathan Pollard, and the efforts that they have expended to realize it, represent an indelible stain upon the moral fabric of the State. It is in essence 22 years of attempted murder!  For the sake of Nation and all of its captives and MIAs, the Jewish People must act immediately to ensure that this evil plan not succeed.

"...This week, Jonathan Pollard marks 8000 days in captivity. The time to bring him home is now. Before it is too late."