Thursday, July 15, 2010

Release Jonathan Pollard - Not for me !

I want to clarify something. I do not consider myself an Israel supporter. This is why I do not support calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard, the former US Naval Intelligence officer who was convicted of spying for Israel. I am a supporter of the Irish soccer team and the Dublin GAA team. When Dublin or Ireland are playing I always think the other side are cheating and I always believe the referee is being unfair us. If you support Israel (or Palestinian for that matter) in a similar fashion then you will not be objective. I accept the right of an Arab, Israeli, Jew or Muslim to let their objectivity slip when emotion and passion is running high. However, as an Irish person who has never been directly affected by the conflict I think it is wrong to be anything other than a fair and balanced supporter of the peace process. It is usually the legions of fanatical leftists who are guilty in this respect as they jockey to out do each other and even the Palestinians in their anti Israeli rantings. However they are not the only ones guilty of this.

Right wing Israelis compare the imprisonment of Pollard to the terrorist kidnappings of Hezbollah and Hamas.

I admire Israel. I admire its culture, democratic institutions and how the civilian authorities have always maintained control over the military despite six decades of war. I respects its right to defend itself, aggressively if necessary. I recognise that it is up against extreme fanaticism and that its survival is vital for the future of the democratic world. But I do not believe it is a saintly country. I do not believe it can do no wrong (like the Irish soccer team). Many Pro Israeli people read Gubu World. I am glad that they do and hope that they continue to do so. But I will not support their renewed calls to have Pollard released that has taken the form of a mass call/email campaign to the Israeli embassy in Dublin. Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel, South Africa and Pakistan. In 1997 the Israelis finally admitted that he was an Israeli agent. It is not for me to call Pollard a traitor as I am not an American, but if I were, I would. America shares many of its military secrets with Israel, but they do not share everything. This is why the US has many problems with Israeli spies. Israel would have collapsed long ago had it not been for US support so I think to undermine American security through such espionage is ungrateful to put it extremely mildly. I would advise even the most right wing Israeli hawk to back down on this one and to admit that you have no case. But for me, an Irish man, a defender of Israel and supporter of the peace process I say no way, Keep him locked up.


thesystemworks said...

There are some important facts we simply cannot overlook when mentioning the Pollard case.

Firstly, Israel was legally entitled to the security information Pollard came upon according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.

Secondly, Pollard's sentence is far, far harsher than others indicted for similar offences. Wendy Prager, who passed FBI secrets to Hezbollah a couple of years ago served no time at all. Xiaodong Sheldon Meng served only two years for spying for China, which the court declared undoubtedly harmed national security. Aldrich Ames who spied for an enemy nation, the Soviet Union, was found responsible for the deaths of at least 11 American agents. He received the same sentence as Jonathan Pollard, in much better conditions.

Pollard has apologised to every US President for not finding a legal means to help Israel. Israel has pledged to be responsible for its agent and has fully and repeatedly expressed remorse. This is despite the fact Pollard's lawyers were blocked from examining evidence and from seeing parts of the docket potentially helpful to his case in a courty of law.

Gary said...

I am an American and I wrote a blog not long ago entitled "It is too bad we no longer hang traitors". Pollard is a traitor. It is just that simple. Any loyalty he may have felt to Israel, or anyone else, was secondary to the oath he took and the trust he was given and betrayed.

I believe that Israel, and all nations for that matter, have a right to engage in espionage in the protection of their interests. This does not, it can not, provide excuse for betraying your country.

Sorry, no sympathy here for this guy....

Ted Leddy said...


Israel may have been legally entitled to the information but that does not give them the right to steel it from an ally.

Pollard's sentence is more harsh than the other examples you mentioned. I am not familiar with the Wendy Prager case. Xiaodong Sheldon Meng may have spied for a potentially hostile nation but he stole from his employer. He was not a Naval Intelligence officer who had access to highly sensitive material.

Pollard was caught red handed. I really don't see the point in playing the victim here. The Middle East conflict has created many injustices. For me, this does not register as one. I would suggest that Israel's supporters focus on other more just causes such as the release of Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity.

Ted Leddy said...


I agree. I also respect the right of Americans to feel particularly upset in this case when you consider all the US does for Israel.

thesystemworks said...

I don't condone the crime he committed. I'm embarassed over it.

We should remember the words of Jeremiah directed towards all Jews in exile: '' the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper''.

That said, I do see a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions regarding Pollard's case as seen against others. I'd be happy if he were released and came to Israel. If the Americans took away his citizenship, I'd understand. I can uderstand decent Americans who want to see spies fry. But I'd like him to come to Israel and begin life anew, leaving a life of espionage and treason behind him.

Gary said...

It is interesting to note that just today Walter Kendall Myers was sentenced to life in prison for having been a spy for Cuba. His wife got 5 years for assisting him. Myers is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell and had been working for the US government for about 30 years.