More on Pollard

Sir, – Your editorial “Pollard’s appeal” (August 19) is an example of how the purely emotional response to the release of Palestinian terrorists has led to a hysterical outpouring of illogical and at times vitreous condemnation of the government’s action.

In the first place, Pollard’s own article, “Restoring Israel to greatness” (Observations, August 16), which the editorial refers to, had no special merit other than the name of the author. He can claim no particular expertise in the area he wrote about, and every one of the so-called “facts” he used to condemn our government can be easily refuted, given a chance.

To highlight my argument about how emotions have come to rule over facts, I ask a simple question: If you condemn the joyful reception that the released terrorists are receiving in Gaza and the West Bank, will you provide a joyful reception if the day ever comes that Pollard, a convicted spy, is released? If you do, you are a hypocrite.

An American court convicted Pollard of what is probably the most heinous of crimes – spying for another country, which is subject to the death penalty. He breached the trust given to him by supplying information to a foreign power.

Saying as you do that the information went to an ally is a meaningless qualification of the actual fact of the crime. The fact that he is “our” spy does not relieve him in any way of his guilt. That argument is the same one used by the Palestinians – the released prisoners were “their” soldiers while in our eyes they were terrorists.

Given the space that you afforded Pollard on the basis of nothing more than his notoriety, I could set out my own views of what justifications can be made for the government’s action in releasing these killers, but I have little expectation that your columns will have room.

HENRY KAYE Ashkelon

Sir, – If US President Barack Obama won’t release Jonathan Pollard, he has a duty to tell the world why. After so long it cannot be kept a secret.

The biblical concept of leadership, on which the American tradition claims to be founded, has four tenets – vision, courage, wisdom and morality.

All derive from Moses.

Moses had the vision of a people that valued every one of its members and championed the dignity even of a condemned offender. He had courage and the strength to withstand pressure when necessary. He had wisdom, knowing when to withdraw if the situation called for it. And he had morality, the instinct to choose the right thing.

Mr. President, speak out.

Explain why you want Pollard behind bars. Otherwise, show vision, courage, wisdom and morality, and let him go.

You will find words for it. Call it clemency, call it commuting a sentence, call it humanity. History will approve and acclaim you.

If Pollard dies in prison it will be like an assassination and the presidency will be tarnished.

Our indignation is not because Pollard is a Jew. If anyone, including a fellow Jew, has broken the law, the law is entitled to deal with him. But the law must treat him fairly.

The public has never been told precisely what Pollard did, but was it something so very wrong as to justify so many years locked away? If it was, spell it out. Otherwise, enough is enough!

RAYMOND APPLE Jerusalem

Say you’ll come

Sir, – I read “Tom Jones under pressure to cancel Tel Aviv performance” (August 19). Well, what’s new, pussy cat? It’s not unusual for some committee or other to try and dissuade an artist from performing here. Their modus operandi is to try and keep Tom’s feet firmly on the green, green grass of home and not venture to our shores, where most certainly he would find a taste of honey! All I can say is that love is in the air. I’m sure Tom will make that journey in October and that we’ll see him at about the same time as our autumn leaves!

DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion

Lifting hearts aloft

Sir, – I was brought to tears reading of the great sanctification of God’s name that El Al showed the world (“El Al plane returns to airport gate to save sick girl’s summer dream,” August 19).

El Al has a great neshama (soul) and should know that not only did it make this sick girl’s summer dream come true, it lifted the hearts of thousands of people.

MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya

Tell us more

Sir, – We were eager to read the article by Yehuda Bauer titled “Remembering Elizabeth Maxwell” (Comment & Features, August 14), as we were interested to learn more about this inspirational woman. But at least 75 percent of the article was devoted to the infamous life story of her late husband, Robert Maxwell. There was nothing new about Elizabeth except for the author’s apparent friendship with her.

Please, can we have an article that actually describes Elizabeth Maxwell’s many achievements and details her fascinating life story?

NORMAN and LOLA COHEN Jerusalem

Deserving of mention

Sir, – In the Grapevine feature that appeared on August 9 (“The art of giving) there was a small segment on tourism between Israel and Croatia. We read that Croatia is a “tourist destination, especially for sports-minded vacationers and those who like to frequent health spas,” and that we are also courting tourism from Croatia to Israel.

There was not one word of unpleasant history.

Ironically, just before the segment on encouraging Croatian tourists to come to Israel there were nine paragraphs on the wonderful work of Samuel Willenberg, a 90 year old survivor of Treblinka. If it weren’t for that beautiful tribute I wouldn’t have noticed the mention of Croatian tourism. But the contrast was just too great.

The history of Croatia’s brutal treatment of its Jews during World War II is hardly a secret – it has been noted recently in the Post in an article and in letters to the editor.

At the very least, the Grapevine item should have included some meaningful reference to that country’s past, as well as to its unrepentant present.

JAN SOKOLOVSKY
Jerusalem

Worth a try

Sir, – Whereas the law requires highway drivers to keep to the right except to pass, the benighted Israeli driving community seems unaware of this or deliberately unobservant.

More than a year ago the Traffic Police said they were going to enforce the law, yet it was clear that this would not happen because of insufficient resources and manpower.

A relatively inexpensive, though partial, solution would be to post signs reminding drivers of this law. Even if only one life is saved, it would be worth it.

TREVOR DAVIS Asseret

CLARIFICATIONS

The Jerusalem Post appreciates that Samuel Rothberg was the initiator and founder of the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Avraham Avi-hai was the first dean and acting provost, and not as stated. We apologize for the error.

• Regarding “Court: Ex-Slovakian envoy has diplomatic immunity in breach of contract case” (August 19), Rinat Bublil-Kadesh, attorney for former ambassador to Israel Ivo Hlavacek, wishes to clarify: Hlavacek and his wife lived in the property in question for a very short time – the lawsuit filed by Yisrael Ratahoz and his wife refers inter alia to a previous period, when the previous ambassador lived there. The claims against Hlavacek mentioned in the appeal were rejected by the court, and Ratahoz was required to pay NIS 22,000 to Hlavacek and his wife for court expenses.

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