Jonathan Pollard, Gilad Shalit, and Israel

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In 1987, Jonathan Pollard, an NIS intelligence analyst, was convicted in a U.S. court for passing classified information to Israel and sentenced to life imprisonment. As Joseph Puder remarks in an article for FrontPage Magazine, Pollard received the same sentence as John Walker, Robert Hansson, and Aldrich Ames who sold “top U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union [which] claimed the lives of many U.S. agents.” The question of Pollard’s espionage is moot, since America had reneged on a Memorandum of Understanding ensuring that information pertaining to Israeli security would be transferred to Israel, a loyal and trusted ally. In a letter to Barack Obama, pleading for commutation of sentence, former assistant secretary of defense Lawrence Korb points out that “the average sentence for his offense is 2-4 years and today the maximum sentence is 10 years.”

In 2006, in clear violation of international law, twenty-year-old corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped on the Israeli side of the border by Hamas irregulars and has spent the last five years of his young life in captivity. In equal violation of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, Hamas has refused to allow Red Cross visits or contact with the boy’s parents. Its attitude is summed up in a statement made by Abu Marzuk, an official in the Hamas Political Ministry: “The subject no longer interests us. We are not interested in his well-being at all, and we are not giving him any special guard since he is as good as a cat or less.”

But unlike Pollard and Shalit, Israel is comparatively free to act if it so chooses. With respect to the United States, it has the vast majority of the public, almost the entire Republican Party, and even some scattered Democrats on its side. It also has the option of gradually reducing its dependence on American aid. It possesses the expertise to engineer a more autonomous military platform—as my own country, Canada, did in the 1950s when it developed the Arrow. This was the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world at the time, before Canada ill-advisedly trashed the entire project following the political calculations of a blinkered prime minister favoring the American Bomarc missile and the Lockheed U-2. Israel, however, need not emulate the Canadian example of misplaced deference.

Common sense and fair play should have led to Pollard’s release twenty years ago and more. Pollard was far more a victim than a malefactor. But is Israel as helpless as it appears to be in seeing belated justice done? It enjoys, as we’ve noted, broad support in the American heartland and in Congress. It contributes significantly to American R & D civilian and military technology. It returns most of the foreign aid it has received to the U.S. in the form of military purchases, creating American jobs rather than differentially profiting its own economy. And it is America’s most reliable ally—former secretary of state Alexander Haig described Israel as “the largest U.S. aircraft carrier…in a region which is critical to vital U.S. interests.” Although Israel has lobbied for Pollard’s release and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has striven to bring this about, there surely exist many pressure points and leverage opportunities that have not been accessed. It is unconscionable that Pollard has been left to rot in an American jail without his benefactors mobilizing every potential resource at their disposal.

With regard to Hamas, the niceties of diplomatic protocol and the complexities that hamper political and/or military maneuvers were never an excuse to avoid concrete action. I submit that if Hamas were credibly threatened through back-channels with the thorough and systematic destruction of its infrastructure, Gilad Shalit would have been released long ago. Moreover, Israel continues to provide electricity, fuel, material goods and medical care to Hamas, without which Gaza would find itself on the verge of implosion; if Israel were to completely shut off the supply tap, the terrorists would be compelled to reconsider. But such policies should have been enacted before Shalit was abducted, as soon as it had become clear that disengagement did not lead to peace, as had been foolishly hoped, but to the relentless bombardment of Israel soil.

Naturally, Israel would face mounting international pressure and condemnation if it pursued such measures. The “international community” can always be counted on to make common cause with the antagonists of the Jewish state. Hamas knows this and plays the global card to Israel’s continuing detriment. Nevertheless, it is obvious that no matter how Israel may comport itself in any conceivable political or military situation, it will be blamed and denounced anyway, a lesson it has not yet appeared to have learned. It is time, as the Israeli colloquial expression goes, to “change the CD.” Given the ‘damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t’ context, it may as well act to its advantage.

Indeed, there was never any reason that Israel should victual and otherwise prop up a dedicated enemy pledged to the country’s annihilation. What other nation in its right collective mind would feed, support and strengthen a regime that kidnaps its soldiers, targets its civilian centers, and is Charter-bent on genocide. This is, frankly, utter insanity. And there was never any reason Israel should have accepted even one rocket exploding in its villages without unleashing, not a tit-for-tat reprisal which clearly solves nothing, but a devastating counterattack eliminating the major part of the problem once and for all.

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  • Flipside

    Actually, this article is a good example of why “the vast majority of the public, almost the entire Republican Party, and even some scattered Democrats on its side” are NOT on the side of our fair weather “friend” and ever spying “ally” Israel. Look at how this man spells out doom for the USA while admitting the Israeli War Machine cannot give up our sweet stream of free money. There’s a part of the Clean Break strategy you forgot to make: the part where you actually make a clean break. Theodor Herzl turns in his grave.

    • Ghostwriter

      Why are you even here,Flipside? Why don't you go to the neo-Nazi websites,where you'd be more comfortable?

      • Flipside

        Because I don’t believe in Nazism. I’m not even German. I am here because about ten years ago David Horowitz wrote a hit piece comparing Hip Hop to KKK music. He had it out for certain artists in my community and it drove me to read more of what he was saying. Then I found out that he was bitter about being in the Black Panthers because his accountant got murdered and he split with Ramparts magazine to start a Hasbara from which he could attack purported enemies of Israel allegedly because they were either racists or Communists. I watched him try to attack the Black Studies department for running afoul of Jewish Suprematism. He would do a huge press release and then overbook an undersized room so that he could say he turned away seething college students as they listened to him through a loudspeaker. I am here because he is an Anders Breivik generator who makes Ronald Radosh look like a polite genius. I am here to prevent America from being turned into a Jewish Iran.

        • MixMChess

          Your obsession with "Jewish supremacism" and David Horowitz's Jewishness reveals your true antisemitic aims. While Mr. Horowitz is ardent supporter of Israel he is not a practicing Jew and certainly doesn't advocate any form of religious (let alone Jewish) law – as they have in Iran. In other words, get bent.

          • Flipside

            How does a Jew practice? Does it ever make perfect? It's not a problem that Horowitz is a Jew. It's a problem that in his failure to make the Black Panther Party a Trotskyist organization run from its accounting department, he has gone on to pit black people against white people and to attack music, culture, politics, art and not the least: PRODUCTIVE INDIVIDUALS IN MEDIA at large as a Zionist racist, cobbling together bits of racist ramble from this or that website and gluing it to Bob Avakian and taking it on a road show where he uses college money to attack colleges. Now terrorists are implementing his ravings into mass murder. If that supports Israel, then Israel needs to have some of its support removed.

        • johnnywoods

          George Soros is not German either but he is a Nazi so why don`t you join him?

          • Flipside

            Um, George Soros is Jewish.

    • MixMChess

      "…our fair weather "friend" and ever spying "ally" Israel."

      Nonsense, Israel has been an ardent ally and supporter of U.S. interests since her birth.

      "Look at how this man spells out doom for the USA while admitting the Israeli War Machine cannot give up our sweet stream of free money."

      Free money? Recall, the "aid" given to Israel are loans, over 75% of which must be spent in the U.S. The aid Israel receives is nothing compared to the aid we give to the Arab/Islamic world and other allies such as S. Korea and European states. Your focus on Israel alone reveals your antisemitic agenda.

      • Flipside

        We don't buy it. We just don't buy it. I bet if you say "Israel" to an American he will hold his breath and roll his eyes. "Ally" doesn't come to mind. I am sure another "A" word does. Always comparing Israel's stupidity to the stupidity of other countries in order to get a pass. It doesn't blend in. Only Israel gets to make the comparison. Only Israel gets to put itself next to North Korea and look better. Never next to Nazi Germany. Never next to South Africa. Never next to Venezuela.

        • Ghostwriter

          At least the Israelis don't scream "Death to America" every five minutes like they do in the Muslim countries. They actually seem to care about this country. But,your anti-semitic garbage is becoming tiresome. Please spew it elsewhere.

        • johnnywoods

          Hey Flipside, Why don`t you go to a public library and study a little history of Israel and the Middle East? It would help you overcome some of your seriously misinformed notions.

          • Flipside

            I have been alive for more than half of the “history of Israel.” It’s still current events.

  • Ronald Bushnell

    This bias statement loses credibility quickly; however rather than attacking an entity with such clear potential for direction in the establishment of world order, it may be better to redirect American resources to secular intelligence within Israel with an objective of redirecting capital to a united goal, simply by removing sanctuaries. Clearly it is time for capital potential to be removed from individual human control.

    • johnnywoods

      Huh? Did I miss something?

  • LindaRivera

    U.S. CRUELTY to Pollard shocked even the Europeans:


    September 16, 1993

    The European Parliament,

    1. noting that Jonathan Pollard, then of the US Navy, was convicted in 1985 of passing classified information to Israel concerning the military activities of Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations,

    2. noting also that the information dealt with the chemical, biological and nuclear arms build- up in these countries and that Pollard considered he had a moral duty to warn Israel of the developing massive threat to its security and to the lives of its people,

    3. whereas Pollard has expressed remorse for his action,

    4. whereas Pollard, who was not accused of treason, or of intending to harm the US, pleaded guilty under a plea bargain, and was thus convicted and sentenced, without a full trial, to life imprisonment, despite the Government's promise not to seek such a penalty,

    5. noting that the sentence imposed on Pollard was grossly disproportionate to those imposed on others by US courts for supplying information to a friendly power (normally from two to four years),

    6. shocked that most of Pollard's eight years in prison should have been spent in solitary confinement and underground,

    7. astonished that Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, described by one of his Under-Secretaries for Defense as having had 'an almost visceral dislike of Israel', should have sent a message to the trial judge, one hour before the sentencing hearing, asking for the stiffest possible sentence commensurate with Pollard's 'treasonous' (sic) behavior,

    8. noting however that Mr. Weinberger stated recently that he thought it was time that Mr. Pollard should be released; aware that Christian and Jewish organizations throughout the world have pleaded for the harsh sentence of life imprisonment to be commuted and that Judge Steve Williams wrote, in a dissenting opinion to an appellate court finding, that 'the government's conduct in this case resulted in a 'complete miscarriage of justice',

    1. Urges the US Administration to commute Pollard's sentence to one of time served and to release him immediately;

    2. Calls on EPC to intercede with the US government with this end in view;

    3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, EPC and the Government of the United States.

    Voted almost unanimously on 16th September 1993.
    See Also:

    * Euro-Parliament Adopts British MEP's Motion Urging Pollard Release
    * U.S. City and State Resolutions
    * The Calls for Pollard's Release Page

    • Flipside

      NICE LINK! At it clearly states that Clinton agreed to release Pollard to Rabin after a peace deal was fulfilled. Then Israel ASSASSINATED Rabin, blowing Pollard’s release. It’s nice of the United States to grant 501 c3 status to a website that supports espionage against the same.

      • ziontruth

        "Then Israel ASSASSINATED Rabin,…"

        There was one person acting of his own accord in the assassination, called Yigal Amir. Of course, if you believe it was a Mossad operation, then you're of the type that can believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories and other such stuff, so I'm not going to waste any more words on you.

        • Flipside

          It was Larry Silverstein, not I, who tried to cash in in 9/11 twice. That’s not my problem though. Yigal Amir is your basic Israeli right winger. And no, it was not Mossad, it was Shabak.

          • MixMChess

            Yigal Amir is not your typical Israeli right winger, he was a lunatic and was denounced by nearly everyone on Israeli's hard right. No Israeli government agency (Shabak, Mossad or the local mailman) was involved in the assassination. Time to wander back to stormfront or an Alex Jones seminar or whatever rock you crawled out from underneath.

          • ziontruth

            Precisely. He was Israel's Breivik.

          • Flipside

            He was the typical member of Kach Party, the typical Kahanist terrorist. Fortunately, all the prominent Kahanists in the United States are dead.

          • Omar

            The fanatical Kach Party is outlawed in Israel. Unlike Iran and other Islamist countries, Israel doesn't believe in religious intolerance.

  • LindaRivera

    FREE Political prisoner, Pollard. Punished for being a Jew. Punished for saving Israel.

    September 26, 2001
    Terror in the U.S. and the Jonathan Pollard case

    By Larry Dub
    © 2001

    "… thanks to Jonathan Pollard, Israel was ready with gas masks and sealed rooms when Iraq attacked her during the Gulf War…

    The usual sentence for spying for an ally is 2-4 years…

    Indeed, the Government's own Victim Impact Statement (VIS), which was submitted to the court prior to sentencing indicated that Pollard's greatest "sin" was that by giving Israel vital security information which permitted the Jewish state to act in its own defense, he had made Israel "too strong" and thus angered America's "moderate" Arab allies…"

  • mrbean

    Obviously someone in the last two administrations, probably in the State Department is actively preventiung his parole and release.

    • gerry

      As is always the case with Pollard supporters, your statement is demonstrably false. Pollard has REFUSED to seek parole. He has never once applied.

      Support for Pollard is merely the result of believing the hype from Esther Pollard and the Free Pollard campaign rather than doing some simple research. Pollard is NO hero, simply a thief who betrayed his country for personal financial gain.

  • LindaRivera

    Financed by the US/EU/UK, global jihadists, Murder Incorporated, Palestinian Authority call for the Murder of All Jews and the MURDER of Americans:

    Broadcast from Gaza mosque, Oct 13 2000, Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, on Palestinian Authority TV (transcribed by Memri): "Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them…"

    U.S. leaders must immediately explain to Americans and Jews, why the Palestinian Authority, whose goal is the murder of all Jews and the murder of Americans, are heavily financed, armed, and continually given advanced military training by the U.S. and inform Americans how many U.S. trained terrorists are now in America. The Muslim terrorists will surely use their American training on America.

    And explain why U.S. leaders demand that Muslim terrorists are given a terror state inside tiny, vulnerable Israel.

  • LindaRivera

    It is not only Israel, the Muslims plot to CONQUER.

    Supported by US/EU tax dollars, global jihadists, Palestinian Authority Seek Islamic CONQUEST of America, Britain and the world.

    Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, Palestinian Authority TV, May 13, 2005: "The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world."

    American and British leaders must immediately explain to Americans and Brits why they finance the PLO/PA terrorist organization whose declared goal is Islamic conquest of our countries.

  • Ace

    He spied for a foreign power whose interests are not identical to those of the U.S.

    That power, "untrammeled by considerations of protocol," connived in his espionage and sought information from the U.S. outside of any agreements on the sharing of information.

    He got a sentence that was permissible under the law.

  • Benjamin

    You can take a Jew out of the Shtetl, but you cannot take the shtetl out of the Jew.
    Netanyahu is symptomatic of the problem with Israel. Fat, obsequious, too clever by half, and blowhard living off past glory.

    • ziontruth

      "…but you cannot take the shtetl out of the Jew."

      We can, we must, and most of Israel's Jews have done it. You don't learn about the nation by reading its Mainstream Media sources, as they are in the entire free world owned and operated by the treasonous Marxist Left.

      "Netanyahu is symptomatic of the problem with Israel."

      Yes, he is: A member of the old guard of Jews who, as you say, care too much for the opinion of the world (as in the shtetl, where Jews had the good excuse of having no choice—not so for the fully armed Jewish State), clinging to power while Israel needs someone to rise to power out of the new guard of Jews who stand for Israel's interests no matter what the world says or does.

  • LindaRivera

    To Ace:

    Your character assassination of Pollard is disgusting.

    Pollard gave information to Israel that America in an agreement had agreed to give to Israel. America broke that promise.

    It is the American promise breakers who should have been prosecuted.

    • Flipside

      And to Pakistan.

  • LindaRivera

    To gerry:

    Your character assassination of Pollard is disgusting. Pollard did NOT take any money! What a wicked thing for you to claim!

    Pollard saved Israel! See above comment on:


    "noting also that the information dealt with the chemical, biological and nuclear arms build- up in these countries and that Pollard considered he had a moral duty to warn Israel of the developing massive threat to its security and to the lives of its people,"

    • TimN

      Actually he did take money. And he passed along information not relevant to Israels defense, but useful to trade.

    • gerry

      Linda, as I said before, the ignorance of Pollard supporters about this case is embarrassing. Jonathan Pollard HIMSELF, his lawyers, and the govt of Israel admit Pollard was PAID.

      He was paid $10,000 up front, given a $10,000 wedding ring for Ann Pollard, a monthly salary, and the topper: a free suite on the orient express for his honeymoon.

      Perhaps you need to research a little more about the real Jonathan Pollard and stop believing everything Esther Pollard says. She lies continuously about the case to free her husband. Understandable but propaganda nonetheless.

  • jannana

    If Israel is such a great ally why don't we have any military bases in Israel? Why don't the Israelis fight in Iraq or Afghanistan? And why does Israel constantly do things against U.S. interests? Like putting up settlements against long standing U.S. policy while taking 3 billion dollars a year America does not have? It is the corruption of AIPAC and Jews that care more about Israel than the U.S. that is leading to this gross imbalance. Israel has little strategic significance. No oil. Small standing army. No needed transporting routes for the U.S. AND Israel is totally dependent on the U.S. They have no other friends! Their has never been a crazy relationship like this in the history of the world!

    • SpiritOf1683

      Hmm. Another Jew-hating bigot who should never have been given their Jewish-invented vaccines and medicines.

    • ziontruth

      "Like putting up settlements…"

      There are, by definition, no Jewish settlements in any part of the Land of Israel. On the other hand, there are many Arab settlements, and they are all obstacles to peace. The Jews are the indigenous of Palestine; the Arabs, settler-colonist invaders and land-thieves.

      "…against long standing U.S. policy…"

      No nation needs permission from another nation to build on its own land. Your implied idea is an example of imperialistic overreach.

      "AND Israel is totally dependent on the U.S."

      Israel is not dependent on the U.S. The aid given to Israel is not really money given away, but loans on weapons development and export—loans that pay off for the U.S. in the long run, and cause a competitive disadvantage to Israel in the short run (when sales to other countries than the U.S. are considered).

      The relationship is not free. The aid is not really aid, but extortion under the hand of Israel-haters like you.

      "They have no other friends!"

      We have God. 'Twas always thus. "A nation that dwelleth alone, and is not considered among the [other] nations" as the Torah says.

    • MixMChess

      "If Israel is such a great ally why don't we have any military bases in Israel?"

      You answered your own question… Because Israel is such a great ally the US does not need to have military bases in Israel or deploy its own troops to ensure the stability of the region. In fact, U.S. military analysts estimate that the U.S. would have to spend the equivalent of $150 billion a year in the Middle East to maintain a force equivalent to Israel's.

      "Why don't the Israelis fight in Iraq or Afghanistan?"

      Israel actually advised the U.S. against invading both Iraq and Afghanistan and thus there is no need for Israeli troops to be involved in our wars. That stated, the U.S. has specifically asked Israel to stay out of Iraq and Afghanistan so as not to upset the push to win the "hearts and minds" of the Arab/Islamic world.

      "And why does Israel constantly do things against U.S. interests? Like putting up settlements against long standing U.S. policy while taking 3 billion dollars a year America does not have?"

      Settlements are not at all against long-standing U.S. policy. The 3 billion in aid are loans that must be paid back. Besides, they pale in comparison to the amount we spend on our other allies like S. Korea ($5 billion annually), Japan ($4 billion annually) and Europe ($30 billion in defense spending alone). How many trillions have we spent to build up Iraq? Remember, those were not loans, we'll never see that money back!

      "It is the corruption of AIPAC and Jews that care more about Israel than the U.S. that is leading to this gross imbalance."

      It is patently antisemitic to accuse American Jews of dual loyalty. Do you question Catholics loyalty to America because of their allegiance to the Vatican? Do you question Muslims loyalty because of their support for Shariah?

      "Israel has little strategic significance. No oil. Small standing army. No needed transporting routes for the U.S. AND Israel is totally dependent on the U.S. They have no other friends! Their has never been a crazy relationship like this in the history of the world!"

      Actually, Israel is a huge strategic ally of the U.S., serving as a force of stability in the region. Americans admire Israel precisely because it upholds American values of pioneering, democracy, freedom, human rights, absorbing immigrants and entrepreneurial spiritedness.

    • Flipside

      I think this statement represents the common view.

  • Troy Riser

    While a staunch American supporter of Israel, I equally strongly oppose Pollard's release. 'Far more victim than malefactor'? Please. Pollard was no victim. He was a traitor to his country and a spy for a foreign government, and I frankly don't care for whom he was spying and to what he gave his allegiance and loyalty: it wasn't us, the people, the country, and the government that trusted him to safeguard our secrets–secrets he took an oath to protect.

    In my view, Pollard should be hung–along with Hanssen and Aimes, et al. No leniency for any of them, ever.

  • LindaRivera

    To TimN:

    Taqiyya! Give EVIDENCE. Not LIES.

    • TimN

      Back at you. You sound pretty shrill, making wild accusation and accusing people of lying.

  • Larry

    Until Hamas frees Gilad Shalit Israel should cut off all contact with Gaza. Stop supplying Gaza with electricity, use of Israeli Medical centers, stop allowing Arab prisoners in Israeli jails the use of cell phones. Thanks to Hamas a state of war exists between Israel and Gaza. Start treating as so.

  • Andreas Moser

    Happy 25th birthday to Gilad Shalit, the only Israeli who "occupies" Gaza: