(photo credit: Courtesy)
This year, Passover should be a wake-up call for America. A sour note has been injected into our celebration as we look forward to Seder night and the four cups of wine that commemorate the four expressions of the freedom bestowed upon the Jewish people at this time in history.
Unless Jonathan Pollard is home in Jerusalem to celebrate as well, it will be virtually impossible to sustain the illusion that Israel has a fair and reliable relationship with our foremost ally, the United States of America.
Too much time has gone by; the Pollard travesty of justice remains unresolved. It is no longer possible for any Israeli, or any honest person for that matter, to remain aloof and to imagine that what is happening to Pollard, concerns only Pollard.
Pollard has become a symbol – a powerful icon of Israeli weakness and of American disregard for Israel as a valued ally.
No one believes the grotesque US government lies about Pollard anymore. Not even those US officials who still make false claims about him to further unrelated agendas.
It certainly has nothing to do with the alleged “damage” Pollard did to US national security, now that that canard has been totally discredited by a slew of recent declassifications, including of the 1987 CIA damage assessment and the Weinberger memorandum to the sentencing judge.
By every measure of reason and logic, Jonathan Pollard should have gone free years ago. The median sentence for the offense he committed is two to four years. Not life. He got his life sentence without benefit of trial, as the result of a plea deal that he honored and the US violated.
If justice had prevailed, his grossly disproportionate sentence would have been commuted decades ago, to bring it into line with the sentences meted out to others convicted of similar offenses, specifically, “espionage for the benefit of an ally.”
If the US-Israel relationship were truly fair and reliable, Pollard’s prolonged, excessive incarceration would have been intolerable to both countries and a resolution would have been sought and found, as the US has done in espionage cases with other allies and even with hostile nations.
If the obvious anti-Semitism in his treatment were the only stumbling block, the calls that began years ago by a former CIA chief to “Forget Pollard is a Jew, and let him go!” would have been sufficient reason to find a way to excise this festering wound between the two nations.
Moreover, the claim that there is classified information which still damns Pollard has been totally disproven by the recent declassification of the key materials originally relied upon to put him away for life.
After nearly 30 years in prison, in spite of his flawless record as a model prisoner, Pollard was even refused conditional release on parole. Those US officials who know the case and classified material first-hand have declared unequivocally that the government’s justification for denying him parole is an utter falsehood.
For three decades, the American Department of Justice has failed to provide fair treatment for Jonathan Pollard despite the manifest injustice of his grossly disproportionate sentence. All legal avenues have been exhausted. Every legal remedy, parole included, has failed dismally. The only remedy that remains viable is presidential commutation, at this point obligatory, not an option.
It is clear that Pollard has been grossly over-punished and unfairly treated not for what he did, but for what he represents: the State of Israel and the Jews.
With the passage of time, Pollard has become the consummate symbol of Jewish impotence – a troubling reminder of Israel’s inability to secure equal treatment before the law of its agent, and fair treatment as an ally. As long as he remains in an American prison, then symbolically at least, Israel and the Jews continue to be punished along with him.
While it would only be a very belated and incomplete measure of justice, it is imperative for the Jewish state and for American Jewry that Jonathan Pollard be home in Israel this Passover, to finally sit at his own Seder table, a free man.
A sea of ink has been spilled on this issue for 30 years. There is nothing left but a cri de coeur
– an earth-shattering, heaven-splitting, anguished cry from the depths of every Israeli heart and from the hearts of all who value truth and justice: America, wake up! Let Pollard go!