Light a Candle for Jonathan Too
Light a Candle for Jonathan Too

Darkness hung over the Jewish nation during the oppressive reign of Antiochus Epihannes. But the darkness that hovered over the Jewish nation, during those days of Greek tyranny, was not in essence, one of a threat to physical security .

The Greek demands from the Jews were psychological, social and most of all spiritual. This was all expressed in the particular religious requirements demanded by the Greeks from the Jews .For example, there was a demand to accept the placing of a statue for idol worship in the Temple in Jerusalem , as opposed to the destruction of the Temple itself. Even the oil for the Menorah was not destroyed, rather just rendered invalid for their religious purposes. If these and other Hellenistic religious reformations were adopted and taxes were paid, obedience to the government would be adequately demonstrated. Physical repression would not have been necessary.

But the Jews understood only too well the significance that the infringement on the Jewish religion clearly implied. The call for introduction of Greek religious and philosophical rites or behaviors, demanded as such, were defilement of the Holy. Thus the significance of these measures was that these demands were a demand for Jewish subordination, in its deepest, most destructive and total sense. Thus was sparked a desperate revolt against overwhelming odds with no alternative but victory. Miraculously, that is what happened, and in its remembrance Hanukkah is celebrated year after year from generation to generation.

In the month of January,1990,C.E,. another kind of darkness fell over the Jewish people in Israel. The First Gulf War was about to commence. The Tyrant of Baghdad, Saadam Hussein, had vowed that he would attack Israel as soon as the fighting would start. He had the weapons to do so, in a way that tainted this darkness hovering over the land with the anxiety of gas, gas which could rain down upon Israeli cities by way of the many chemical warheads mounted on long range ground-to-ground missiles..

The nature of a gas attack on an urban area, is that the gas chemicals descend to the street level and then spread outwards through the canyon-like boulevards, destroying everything and everyone.There was real apprehension in Israel at the time. Those who had little connection with the country left. Many in the central urban areas sought refuge in Jerusalem or other sections of the country.

But amidst the darkness of this sense of possible impending tragedy, shone the light of realization that things could have been much worse .Israelis had been aware of this type of threat for some time due, it is said, to the information provided by Jonathan Pollard, who as an American naval intelligence analyst illegally warned Israel of this threat and others, by passing classified intelligence. 

That is why a scenario like that described above, a surprise chemical attack on downtown Tel Aviv at rush hour, would not and could not have happened during the war. Well after the air raid sirens were activated, the population had taken cover in sealed rooms or shelters and had donned gas masks. Nonetheless, the possibility of gas-induced casualties was still real. After each warhead or missile debris that landed in Israel, teams were sent out to verify, if there had been chemicals released. As the verification progressed after each attack, an army spokesman would at first give permission to remove the gas masks. "It is now permissible to drink."  Later the okay to leave the sealed shelters, was given .

Gas was not used by Iraq in the war against Israel. Casualties from conventional warheads were miraculously low. But the Israeli public remembers quite well those dark ominous days  of the war. Israelis emerged from the war with a feeling, that the deliverance that Israel merited, was to a large degree due to the efforts of Jonathan Pollard. Many in Israel feel that they owe their life to him.

Today, a quarter of a century since Israelis have ceased lining the area between the bottom of the door and the floor with a wet towel to insure that the air in their rooms stays safe and have left the sealed rooms, Jonathan Pollard has been shrouded in the darkness of prison, a good number of years longer than that. This is not because the American authorities who initially imprisoned Jonathan Pollard or those who imprison him now really believed or really believe, that in any significant way that Jonathan Pollard caused damage to the American intelligence capacities, armed forces or the general ability of the American militarily to repel an attack on the United States or defend its it interests.

They know, as do all who have an interest in researching the subject know, that Jonathan Pollard did not harm American security.

A case in point is the opinion of Angelo Codevilla, who was a member of The Senate Intelligence Committee, which was involved in overseeing the handling of the governmental proceedings in regard to Jonathan Pollard. In a letter to President Obama from November 5, 2013, in which he called for an immediate commuting of Pollard's sentence, he qualifies that demand in the description given, in the letter to the President, as to his involvement in the matter. "My plea… is based on my experience as a senior staffer on that committee. Having been intimately acquainted with the materials that Pollard passed and the 'sources and methods' by which they were gathered…".

In a recorded telephone interview, the contents of which were released by the Israeli media in audio and written form last month, Codevilla stated quite emphatically, that Pollard did not harm the United States. The interviewer, in a clarification of Codevilla's claim that, "A sentence has been imposed on the basis of a document that is not public… no one really knows what is in there…", inquires ."Is there some harm that Jonathan Pollard has done to America that we just don't know about?", Codevilla, replies flatly,"No".  "That is something I can be absolutely certain about. Because I know what the classification system …in U.S. intelligence allowed Jonathan Pollard  to see, to have and to give…. He was after all merely an analyst, and analysts do not have access to methods and sources of intelligence."

As to the accusations that were and are continued to be leveled against Pollard, his words leave not doubt as to what his opinion is. "These are wild allegations which make sense only to people which are thoroughly uniformed."

In an article attributing its source to an article by Codevilla in the Wall Street Journal of August 6, 1998 entitled "Israel's Spy Was Right about Saddam" the presentation of  Codevilla's position that no harm was done to US. security, is refined. A distinction is made. "But while Pollard's espionage subverted U.S.policy in the Middle East, it barely hurt U.S. intelligence operations." 

In yet another article quoting an interview given to Codevilla in the Washington Weekly of January 11, 1999, this policy subversion by Pollard is elucidated. Cedevilla is quoted as saying, "The main thing is that we permitted, licensed and financed large American corporations to build plants there. The infrastructure that was bombed in Iraq, and is being bombed  there right now in the Gulf War, was largely American- built financed or licensed."

"They built one of the factories that later on built chemical weapons." Now what is Jonathan Pollard's role in all of this? He gave to Israel U.S. satellite pictures of these facilities together with U.S. intelligence estimates of what these factories were doing. These pictures and intelligence estimates contradicted what the U.S.was officially telling Israel".

Thus, Codevilla's distinction between policy subversion and security damage is rather easily understood. After the Israeli destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, the U.S. made a major change in its Middle East policy. The began a vigorous rapprochement with Iraq. However the intended development of a U.S-.Iraqi relationship, which was to be unknown to Israel,  was foiled by Pollard informing Israel, and obviously counter-productive to that policy, which the U. S. itself had to scrap, as it went to war with Iraq after their invasion of Kuwait.

Those who imprisoned Pollard and maintain his incarceration today, do believe, and rightly, empirically so,that the passage of information that Jonathan Pollard gave to Israel which enabled Israel to deal with grave threats from it Arab enemies, most notably the existential threat from Iraq as described above, was indeed a subversion of the policy of The U.S. government.

Such a subversion of policy, not damage to security capability, by an American Jew, engaged by Israel, the Jewish State, was and is in their moral view unforgivable insubordination. The fact that Jonathan Pollard saved many Israeli lives, in fact may have saved Israel itself, by undermining this policy, is completely irrelevant.

This is at the heart of the reason why Pollard's detractors never mention, let alone consider, the saving of Jewish lives in Israel as an extenuating consideration, even if the loss of lives could possibly have reached genocidal proportions. This doesn't even cross their mind. Either they have a deep and abiding dislike for Jews or a skewed sense of American jingoism, which is not much different, or both. In any case, the focus is solely on Pollard's and Israel's, the vassal state's, insubordination,. Nothing else matters then or now.

That is why Jonathan Pollard has been in the darkness of federal penitentiaries for 29 years. That is why during this merry Hanukkah festival of lights, Jonathan Pollard is in the darkness of prison.There is absolutely no other reason.

And is is not only Jonathan Pollard over whom the darkness of the Pollard Affair casts an ominous shadow. It is the entire American Jewish community , the people of the State of Israel, in fact Jews everywhere, upon whom the continuing vilification casts aspersion, as it was and is indeed at present intended to do.    

This ongoing injustice, one of the most, if not the most, sinister episodes of governmental anti-Semitism in the West after the Holocaust, akin to the Dreyfus Affair, is similar in its basic underlying motivations to what our forefathers experienced under Greek rule during the Hanukkah story The Jews of yore were told by the Greeks, in their attempt to subordinate them, to publicly proclaim on "the horn of a bull that we have no part in the G-d of   Israel".

In many real ways Jews have been obliquely issued warnings to have nothing to do the liberation of Jonathan Pollard and the restoration of the honor denied to him in order to perpetually subordinate him and Jews in general. .These warnings, for last 29 years, have been to a great degree highly effective.

The recent words of former CIA director, James Woolsey, indicate that Pollard is imprisoned "for no good reason". But obviously, there is a reason. Clearly that reason is none other than  the Jewish insubordination that Pollard  expressed in his opposition to a corrupt and dangerous governmental foreign policy, dangerous not only to Israel but to the U.S. and the world at large, some 30 years ago, for which many, much like Antiochus Epiphanes, are so determined to punish him relentlessly.

In these last remaining days of Hanukkah, as we light candles in remembrance of the Maccabees who struggled against darkness, so too should we remember Jonathan Pollard whose struggle against darkness is so very similar.