Tuesday, June 02, 2009

No Tears for Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard stole United States intelligence information, reputedly including some of our most secret intelligence gathering methods, to Israel, in return for jewelry, cash, and a large monthly stipend. Details of what he stole are still secret, but it was important enough that seven former Secretaries of Defense have signed petitions to keep him locked up.

Students of the case have alleged that Israel was not his only customer, that he may have stolen and transferred as many as a million documents, and that Israel subsequently traded some of this information to the Soviet Union, resulting in the exposure and deaths of American agents. Whether these claims are true or not, we do know that Israel has lied, denied, concealed, and refused to cooperate at every step of our attempted investigation - see, e.g., the Wikipedia article that I linked to above.

All those petitions from Defense Secretaries were needed because Israel and the Israel lobby have waged a long and vigorous campaign to free Pollard. Which brings me back to the subject of my last post. The rabbi in question invoked Hillel's principle and Deuteronomy to construct a remarkably disingenuous argument for freeing Pollard, the linchpin of which was that some other American who had spied for Israel had gotten a much lighter sentence - I muttered "shoot them both."

The justification was that Pollard had only given an ally (Israel) information that it needed for its own defense, and that no harm had come of it. I don't for a minute believe either of these statements, but even if they were true, remember that this was the identical argument Rosenberg's supporters used to justify his giving the Russians (our ally during WW II) the nuclear weapon secrets.

The American Jewish community of the late nineteenth century was deeply suspicious of the Zionist movement, mainly because they feared that it would result in American Jews becoming, or seeming to have become, a fifth column at odds with the rest of America. This fear has particular urgency now with Israel ruled by an extremist regime deeply at odds with American policy. It may seem that the fears of these far seeing individuals were hardly exaggerated. American Jews might have to decide sometime where their chief loyalty lies. It should be mentioned that many other Americans have faced similar tests: German Americans in WWI and WWII, Japanese Americans in WW II, and others, and nearly all chose the US.