Monday, April 25, 2005

Caroline Glick Takes on Jonathan Pollard

Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post decided to interview one of the mostpolarizing figures of our times, Jonathan Pollard. The former Navel intelligence analyst has already served 20 years of his life sentence for transferring classified US intelligence materials relating to Arab ballistic missile and nonconventional weapons programs to Israel from May 1984 until his arrest in November 1985.

For his contribution to Israel's security and for his long suffering in prison, Israelis consider Pollard a national hero. He is commonly considered the source of Israel's preparedness for the Iraqi missile attacks during the Gulf War. Israelis across the right-left and religious-secular divide are basically unified in their hope to greet Pollard in Israel as a free man.

In the meantime, he is far from free.

"I will give you an impressionistic description of my life. It involves constant noise, constant violence; profanity every conceivable type of profanity. There is no place to be quiet or to find quiet to read. You really have to be disciplined not to be provoked. You need to be disciplined to see when a situation is getting out of hand and to get away as quickly as possible. I have to be ready if my door opens at 2 in the morning.

One of the more profound exchanges occurred when Glick asked Pollard what it was like for him watching 9/11 on the TV:

"I felt sick to my stomach. The worst thing for me was that a lot of the Muslim inmates here greeted the attacks by saying Alla Akhbar and cheering."

But why would it bother you to see the US under attack? After all, you betrayed this country.

To this, Jonathan gave me a look of profound sadness and said, "I fell in love with two women Israel and the US. It doesn't work in private life, and it doesn't work in politics. My reaction to September 11 was as an American. As an American, I believe that this country is guarding the gates of Western civilization from the barbarians."

Also interesting is when Pollard describes the turning point for him, when he found out information and was trying to figure out what to do about it:

He claims also that "there was an incident during Operation Peace for the Galilee that provided me with my introduction to the US-Israel 'special relationship.' I saw the incredible cynicism with which the US views Israel. It flew in the face of everything that I thought was the point of the relationship. The way I viewed the world was destroyed. I had never before thought that my loyalties towards the US and Israel were in contradiction. But then I understood."

What did you understand?

"I understood that we are alone."

Pollard argues that his decision to spy for Israel, and thus betray the US, stemmed from his conviction that he "was preventing a second Holocaust."

When caught, Israel under Shimon Peres tried to deny any connection to Pollard.

Binyamin Netanyahu was the only prime minister to have made a serious effort to get Pollard released. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has abjectly refused to take any action on Pollard's behalf.

The intricacies of the case are very complicated and Glick does a very good job of laying it out all out -- the duplicity on the part of his handlers in Israel, etc. Read the rest here.


At 9:47 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

I have mixed feelings about Pollard. The fact of the matter is that he gave away secret American technology to another country. I am happy that Israel has a greater defense, but I can never accept anybody selling American secrets to another country.

By the way, I liked your Chechnya comment a lot. A great point. And you are right about the holiday importance. That was a rushed update on my part and was not accurate.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I read the Glick article with fascination, as there was much I didn't know about the Pollard affair. Gindy takes the words right out of my mouth when he says he has "mixed feelings" about it. As an American, I am also deeply troubled by the notion that an American stole secrets from us and passed them on to another country -- even if that country is Israel. Pollard may have served Israel, but he did so at the expense of millions of American Jews who had always been suspected of a "dual loyalty" even before Pollard was caught. It is also awful to read of how he was treated by Israel. Your thoughts on this, Esther?

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Tom Carter said...

I have to join the "mixed feelings" group, Esther. When Pollard was entrusted with sensitive information, he took on a very serious responsibility, and he was fully informed on the penalties for the kind of thing he did. I can admire him for his convictions and agree with his sentiments, but I can't accept what he did.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Esther said...

thanks Gindy, on all counts.

I'm with you, Gindy and Tom on this Jonathan. Lots of mixed feelings but I did appreciate Glick discussing it cause I really didn't know that much prior. I do wish he had made a different decision about how to handle the info he'd learned. That said, I thought this paragraph of hers summed up my thoughts nicely as well:

In shirking its responsibility for Pollard, Israel paved the way for the entire story being blown out of all proportion by opportunistic enemies of Israel and American Jewry for two decades now. If Israel
had resolutely stood by Pollard, then the aspersions cast on Washington's Jews would be far more circumspect than they are today and the US would have seen that Israel is an ally to be reckoned with, not a doormat to be stepped on at will.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

As long as his punishment is consistant with other who betray America, I have no problem with it. Of course, I come from a different perspective.

Anytime Israel lobbies the President to pardon him, the entire Intelligence Community rises up together to oppose it. They see any betrayal as a threat to lives, which it is. Trust me, it is not just a bunch of maniac Muslims aligned against him. I think he will serve out his term.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"I have mixed feelings about Pollard."
Same here.
Among other things that you guys mentioned he also very seriously weakened the Israeli position/perception among many Americans.
The American government also looked silly.
Not a very good PR at all.

“Anytime Israel lobbies the President to pardon him,”
I don’t think the Israeli government has ever attempted to do so, but of course there are very strong independent lobbying groups, which are trying to free him.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

Clinton almost pardoned him at the Wye Plantation accords as part of a Peace deal and at the request of Netanyahu. The Intel Community went ballistic. I remember it.
Tommy Lapid also asked Ashcroft (who had no power to pardon anyone) for a pardon for Pollard. There have been other occasions as well, but I can't remember details at the moment.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"at the request of Netanyahu. "

I must've missed that.
Thanks Tran Sient for pointing it out.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

Felis: From the signing ceremony speech by Clinton Oct 23, 1998:

"With respect to Mr. Pollard, I have agreed to review this matter seriously, at the Prime Minister's request. I have made no commitment as to the outcome of the review. "

Now either Clinton was lying, which would not exactly be a shocker, or it was requested. I can't imagine Clinton just came up with it on his own.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"I can't imagine Clinton just came up with it on his own."

No he wouldn't.

Thanks again.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Van Helsing said...

I can't share the mix feelings. Israel is our ally, but it's not for guys like Pollard to determine what secrets to give them. Treason is treason.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Esther said...

ts, what's your other perspective? I love hearing about other perspectives.

van helsing -- thanks for visiting and commenting!! yeah, that part disturbs me but if he felt/knew that the US was letting down Israel....well, that's why I'm torn.


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