Jerusalem – Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, has called the American government’s continued refusal to release Jonathan Pollard “a vendetta” not only against him but “against the American Jewish community.”
Responding to a magazine poll of leaders of Jewish organizations, Foxman revealed that his thinking about the Pollard case has changed over the years, especially in light of the long list of senior former U.S. officials, including members of the security establishment, who have in recent years publicly stated that Pollard has been punished unfairly.
“When the Jonathan Pollard affair surfaced 28 years ago, there were claims by some that the sentencing of Pollard, life imprisonment, was tinged with anti-Semitism. We at the Anti-Defamation League took that charge seriously, made our own investigation, and concluded there was no basis for such an accusation.”
“Pleas for his pardon are raised on a regular basis, but go unheeded. The whole thing at this late date makes no sense. There surely is no information that Pollard possesses after all these years that can be harmful to American interests. The fact that Pollard shared information with an ally — Israel — was no reason for him not to be punished. But after this long imprisonment, the fact that it was such a close ally who received his information should have influenced a positive response when the subject of parole arose.
“I am not one to equate what Pollard did, to betray his country, to the recent revelations that the United States has been spying on top Israeli leaders. Here too, however, these revelations add further context to the absurdity of the ongoing vendetta against this one man.
“Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.
“In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been pardoned on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.
“In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, reviewed the unflagging efforts on Pollard’s behalf:
“Look at the record and tell me what we haven’t tried that would have been effective. We do things six, seven or more times a year. We’ve gone to see every president on his case. “We have …read more