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Bibi Reportedly Seeking Pollard’s Release

Freeze deal could see spy go free

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Jonathan Pollard.(alleged)

Will Jonathan Pollard be released as a condition of Israel extending its settlement freeze? The Jerusalem Post reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu asked for the release of the American sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987 after being convicted of spying for Israel as part of the 90-day freeze extension deal that his cabinet has still not approved.

Momentum has been building toward this point: In September, as talks of extending the freeze were first broached, Pollard’s release was raised as maybe being part of a deal; then, last month, in a big step, former deputy defense secretary Lawrence Korb alleged that Pollard’s harsh sentence was partly the result of a strong anti-Israel bias on the part of his former boss, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. This revelation allowed smart people like Gil Troy to make an even more persuasive case for Pollard’s release in places like Tablet Magazine. And the past week has seen a flurry of activity: Last Thursday, 39 Democratic congressmen, including prominent ones like Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner, asked Obama to communte Pollard’s sentence; on Saturday, Pollard’s father co-wrote an op-ed pleading for leniency. Neither the letter nor the op-ed nor, hardly, anyone argue that Pollard (who was honorarily made an Israeli citizen) was not guilty; they argue that his sentence is at this point overly harsh, including in comparison to those of similar convictions.

Anyway, Sunday was the 25th anniversary of Pollard’s arrest. And on Wednesday, President Obama will pardon a turkey. Coincidence? Well, yes. But it is no more coincidental than the persuasiveness (or, if you prefer, lack thereof) of clemency for Pollard and the potential geopolitical utility of clemency for Pollard. If Pollard is to be freed, I would prefer it be done outside of a separate geopolitical context: Either he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars or he doesn’t, and solely on that basis should the decision be made. But that is just not the way politics seems to work.

PM Asks for Pollard’s Release as Part of Freeze Deal [JPost]
Related: National Insecurity [Tablet Magazine]
Why Obama Should Commute This Life Sentence [WP]
Earlier: Congressmen Back Pollard’s Freedom

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So to be clear, Israel’s position is “we will temporarily suspend one illegal activity if you commute the sentence of someone who committed another illegal activity on our behalf.”


sorry folks, as someone who knows someone VERY close to this story, it is a fabrication. yep, I am calling BS on this. You heard me, this is a planted story that the media has run with.

Arnold Bloch says:

You know what? It’s no different than a Cold War spy exchange story. I can see it now — Secretary Clinton slowly pushes Pollard across a narrow, foggy bridge, while on the other side, Bibi Netanyahu edges forward with an agreement to freeze settlements. How will they culmiante the deal? Will the Amreicans pull back Pollard at the last second? Will the Israelis throw the agreement over the side? Is the agreeemnt written in disapeering ink? Is it really Tom Cruise disguised as Pollard? How exciting! How tense! Oh, the realities of diplomacy — makes even Bismarck blush when he eats his sausage.

Dan Klein says:

Arnold, it’s 1030 on Monday and you already win comment of the week.

It sounds like a canard. I fail to see what the settlements have to do with Mr Pollard. The USA
does not have any standing in the matter other than
on the sidelines.

I would like to see us trade Tom Cruise for something like a second round draft pick.

Pollard’s guilty and got put away.

But hey, he got life. LIFE!

It ain’t like he gave away Nuclear secrets to the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, or any one of a dozen or so countries in the middle-east who regularly give the US a big thumbs down.

I’m a believer in stiff punishment for those who spy on us for other nations, but LIFE was way way over the top.

Liam O'Cuanain says:

Who are the 39 Congressmen?. Any non Jewish?

Arthur Miller says:

When you ask: “Were any non Jewish”, do you mean in the sense of the Hanson spy whose double dealing got dozens of CIA agents killed by the KGB and was given a slap on the wrist compared to Pollard? Or do you mean non-Jewish in the sense that Cap Weinberger had to prove to the world how non-Jewish he was by personally guaranteeing Pollard a death sentence in prison? Or, perhaps you mean non-Jewish in the usual historical sense of the Byzantine church elder anti-Semites who deny the Jewishness of their most famous and beloved hero?

It’s all so confusing.

Sandy Kleiman says:


Casper Weinbergerger, the former Minister of Defense, who is responsible for Pollard being sentenced to life should be shot. This Epioscopalian whose grandparents were Jews hates Jews and hates Israel and similar to those who prevented Jews from reaching the US instead of dying in the gas chambers he should be condemned by us all.

Jews either belong in America where we have contributed more than any other group or we don’t and should convert in masse or be strong and come together as a strong people instead of being so pathetically weak.

Pollard should be released once and for all and the shame is on America and for the Jews not standing up and demanding it instead of being afraid to make waves.

Bill Levy

Why do you believe it is OK to release this traitor from prison? Is it just because he’s a Jew? Is it because the punishment is too severe? Then why not focus attention on other more worthy people held in prison. Do you not appreciate the harm this rotten human being did to the security of your country? Do you not appreciate the harm you do to all Jews by clamoring for the release of this traitor? Let him rot in prison and devote your efforts to a better pro American cause.

How would Obama releasing Pollard serve his agenda of pandering to the Arabs? I heard a report on NPR two days ago that although Obama is a Democrat, a lawyer, and a minority, that minus the “minority” since he is the first designated such as president, that this president has yet to pardon a single person, defying the trend. In fact his record in this area is even more dismal than that of GW! So the likelihood of Obama releasing Pollard and appearing to gift Israel, which country he apparently sees as an obstacle to better relations with the Muslim world (although not even the Muslim world appears to respect him enough to accept the outstretched hand!). No, the chances of Pollard’s release are at least as unlikely as over the past 25 years.

It is no accident that 39 congressional Democrats, several past Reagan Administration officials and two ex-CIA directors have called for his release. 25 years in prison for passing information to the Jewish state, when the likes of persons selling the identities of US agents to Russia serve only 15 years? I hate to raise the question of antisemitism since Israel and the US have a mutual bond called the “special relationship.” On the other hand…

If even the antisemite Caspar Weinberger, then Secretary of Defense, shortly before his death admits that the Pollard Affair was overblown at the time, why then is he still in prison?

I suggest that Pollard’s imprisonment serves American interests in providing a wedge between American Jews and Israel, a convenient instrument with which to apply pressure to Israel when it suits. Certainly no coincidence that during the Wye River negotiations stories mysteriously blossomed in the US press reminding of the perfidy of the Israeli spy. And that was only one such instance.

But there is also a second and consistent explanation for the mystery of his continuing incarceration: schadenfreude, pleasure derived from observing the pain of another, another motive for antisemitism.


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Bibi Reportedly Seeking Pollard’s Release

Freeze deal could see spy go free

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