February 18: While Pollard waits

When the US failed to keep its word, foreign minister Shimon Peres remained silent.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
While Pollard waits
Sir, – The confirmation made by a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (who surely must be aware of even classified information provided at the trial) that Jonathan Pollard’s prolonged jail sentence is because of thinly camouflaged anti-Semitism must surely confirm what so many have believed (“Exposing the charade,” Editorial, February 16).
If we add to this the fact that the only people to have been executed for espionage in the United States since 1942 (the Rosenbergs) were Jewish adds further confirmation to the policies of the American judiciary.
The fact that no president has agreed to shorten Pollard’s sentence can be explained by the fact that none of them have wanted to be the person responsible for providing clemency and thus indirectly confirming the view of the former CIA director.
Kfar Saba
Sir, – Aside from the indisputable contention that Jonathan Pollard is the victim of anti-Semitic prejudices within the American judicial system, I believe a number of questions have yet to be addressed.
Following Pollard’s arrest it was reported that Israel agreed to return all of the purloined documents without which the American government would find it difficult to prosecute Pollard. In exchange, the US government would not seek a life sentence.
When the US failed to keep its word, foreign minister Shimon Peres remained silent.
Pollard was represented by one Richard Hibey, a Washington lawyer whose council proved grossly inept and ineffective. He did not advise Pollard of his constitutional right to rebut the toxic letter of fabrications presented to the judge by defense secretary Casper Weinberger before sentencing, nor did he file a letter of intent to appeal the sentence within the 10-day limit, thus sealing his client’s fate.
One wonders who retained him.
Pollard’s current pro bono attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, have repeatedly been denied access to sealed court documents relating to Pollard’s sentence despite having the requisite security clearance. The Supreme Court rejected their appeal based on denial of effective legal council, thus denying Pollard any judicial relief.
Jonathan Pollard, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, and nothing else, languishes in an American prison waiting for a president to find it within his heart to put an end to this tragedy. When will Barack Obama answer the call? JOEL KUTNER Jerusalem Shocking hypocrisy Sir, – Regarding “Despite US warnings, Afghanistan releases detainees” (February 14), I am absolutely shocked at the hypocrisy of the US.
The arguments the Americans made against the release of Afghan prisoners were a mirror image of the arguments made by many Israelis against the American demand that Israel release Arab prisoners, many of them convicted murderers, as a part of the “peace process.”
The double-standard of American values, morals and justice has been exposed.
The US did not hesitate to confront the release of dangerous criminals and terrorists back into Afghan society, something that presents a clear danger to its soldiers and their mission in Afghanistan.
Israel should follow the same course whenever America or anyone else demands the release of convicted murderers back into the Land of Israel.
Shame on the US for demanding such action by the government of Israel, and shame on the government of Israel for accepting this demand.
Sir, – I don’t understand why America is making such a big deal about Afghanistan’s release of prisoners who committed acts of terror against Americans. Unlike the situation here, the prisoners released by Afghanistan are at least far away from American soil.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – In response to Afghanistan’s stated intention to release prisoners the US deemed to be dangerous, a top Pentagon spokesman stated that “these are bad guys with blood on their hands.” And what, may I ask our good friends (who declare they “have our backs”), are the guys with blood on their hands that we are asked to release? Good guys? President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State John Kerry as his mouthpiece, has transformed the US into a weak, morally insecure and non-powerful entity that the world no longer respects.
Under no one’s thumb
Sir, – David Weinberg summed it up perfectly in “The big boycott bluff” (Observations, February 14).
Compared to the massive strides taken by Israel in so many fields, the boycott movement’s victories, such as they are, are tiny. The movement is massively funded and hyperactive. It infiltrates organizations and political bodies, and brings motions and resolutions that target Israel. But its successes are few, and organized fight-backs easily bring success, as we saw with Scarlett Johanssen and SodaStream against Oxfam.
BDS supporters have had some influence over governments, but it is interesting to study their methods of operation.
As NGO Monitor reports, they infiltrate charities and NGOs that receive huge funding from European governments, and use part of that money to perpetrate publicity stunts that target Israel, accusing the Jewish state of all sorts of human rights abuses and crimes, mainly based on trumpedup charges and emotional rhetoric.
Unfortunately, too many leading politicians adopt these claims as facts, as was highlighted by European Parliament President Markus Shultz’s ridiculous accusations in the Knesset.
So I agree with Weinberg that we must put the record of the boycotters up to close scrutiny. When we do we find them to be nothing more than a interfering nuisance.
The BDS movement is currently pressuring the Rolling Stones not to appear in Israel. My money is that we will all be rocking in Ramat Gan on June 10, and the supporters of BDS will be singing, “I can’t get no satisfaction!” BARRY SHAW Netanya The writer is special consultant on delegitimization issues at the Strategic Dialogue Center of Netanya Academic College Can’t trust Turkey Sir, – With reference to “Why Turkey is gone for good” (Column One, February 14) by Caroline B.
Glick, permit me to suggest to the Israeli government that before it undertakes talks with Turkey or plans any agreement or pact, it contacts an Armenian, a Cypriot or a Greek. I, an Armenian, offer my services for free.
As we who have suffered at the hands (and swords) of the Turks know, Turkey is in a league of its own when it comes to negotiations.
It never makes concessions, always has pre-conditions (after talks have begun, and on a preciously understood subject) and always has post-conditions (after it agrees to anything).
With America’s president firmly in the pocket of Ankara, it is obvious that Turkey no longer needs Israel to fight against US acceptance of the historical fact of the Armenian genocide. As much as I am pro-Israel (despite its anti-Armenian genocide stance), I can’t deny a certain schadenfreude at Glick’s discomfort.
History shows that Turkey has negated or violated every agreement, alliance, pact, protocol or treaty it has ever signed – even to the extent of ignoring its own constitution.
But, enough. Welcome to the real world, Israel.
Sir, – I can see that our situation with Turkey will never be the same under its present government.
Therefore, instead of compensating the Turkish terrorists who attacked our soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara, we should give state money to our hospitals, which need it so desperately. That is a much better cause.