Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 5 June 2017

David Singer: Trump Should Move Pollard to Jerusalem

Close on the heels of retired British academic Brian Goldfarb's guest blog yesterday about the Six Day War comes the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer, regarding Jonathan Pollard.  The image at left shows street artist Solomon Souza's portrait of Pollard spray-painted at the Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem.

Writes David Singer:

President Trump's delay in moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem presents the President with a wonderful opportunity to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence – freeing Pollard to move from New York to Jerusalem.

Trump made his unequivocal Embassy pledge on 22 March 2016:
"We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem."
A White House statement on 1 June put this brave face on Trump 's decision delaying the Embassy move:
"While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President's strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance. President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when."
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have so far extended over a period of 23 years without any real success - so one can only wonder when the Embassy move is likely to occur.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's response was quite philosophical:
"Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump's friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future"
Trump's friendship would be confirmed were he to commute Pollard's life sentence and harsh parole conditions to enable Pollard's move to Jerusalem,

Pollard – an intelligence analyst with the US Government – received his life sentence for passing classified information to an American ally – Israel. No other American has received such a crushing sentence.

Pollard – released in 2015 after serving 30 years penal servitude – was placed on harsh parole conditions requiring him to wear an electronic tracking device, obey a curfew and allow his computers to be monitored. He must remain in the United States until November 2020.

Pollard's appeal to relax his parole conditions was recently rejected.

Pollard's treatment can be contrasted to that meted out to Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning  – who leaked more than 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 whilst serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq,

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in January – three days before vacating the White House – from 35 years to just over 7 years, the majority of which Manning had already served. Trump said Manning should never have been released from prison.

Manning was freed from federal custody on May 17th.

Israeli Prime Ministers from Yitzchak Rabin to Netanyahu had unsuccessfully lobbied successive Republican and Democratic Presidents for Pollard's release and permission to resettle in Israel.
Pollard is recently reported to have remarked:
“As much as Trump needs to be held to his promise to move the embassy, it is just as important that the prime minister keep his promise to bring an agent home"
President Obama's precedent in freeing Manning whilst resisting similar overtures for Pollard's release was reprehensible.

Commuting Pollard's sentence at this particular moment in Trump's presidency will help cement the blossoming post-Obama relationship between the United States and one of its staunchest allies – Israel.

Pollard's move to Jerusalem as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its liberation from 19 years of illegal occupation by Jordan would alleviate the disappointment of the Embassy not moving there.

That is what Trump-style deal-making is all about.

4 comments:

  1. The Israelis have never been thrilled with discussing Pollard or the possibility of him making aliyah. They don't want him and would rather this whole tawdry affair went away forever. For his part, Pollard I supposed would like to make aliyah if he could but more likely he just wants to be left alone. It really begs the question of what punishment really is. Like sex offenders who are kept in prison for life even though their sentences have expired or complaints about people like Karla Homolka that she can't do this job or that AFTER she's served her time.....

    Well that's the system we have. If all you want to do is execute everyone for everything or keep them in them in prison for life with no parole no exceptions no appeal ever, then do that.

    I am constantly reminded of the story of Chris Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee who while working at TRW on their spy satellite contract for the NRO, sold intelligence information to the Soviets for money to get their cocaine business off the ground. Both were arrested tried and convicted, Boyce given 40 year sentences, Lee given life. Boyce escaped from prison robbed 17 banks, was recaptured and given NO additional time. Lee for his part served his sentence, was released and was hired by Sean Penn as his personal assistant and who made the movie "The Falcon and The Snowman" about the pair. They both were released after 25 and neither is on parole today.

    But Pollard essentially rots away, a modern day man in the iron mask. Not in prison but not free. What is the nature of punishment in this sense. What else does the US government want? Will they allow Pollard to be buried in Israel? Will they allow him to be buried at all? Why not just waterboard him every day now for the rest of his life?

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  2. Empress Trudy:

    You state:
    "The Israelis have never been thrilled with discussing Pollard or the possibility of him making aliyah. They don't want him and would rather this whole tawdry affair went away forever."

    Your unsubstantiated statement is clearly contradicted by what Prime Minister Netanyahu said in the Knesset in January 2011 - which you can read at the following link:

    http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2011/Pages/PM_Netanyahu_addresses_Knesset_Jonathan_Pollard_4-Jan-2011.aspx

    I expect to see a retraction of your above statement posted within 24 hours.

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  3. The Israelis have never taken any concrete steps to effect his freedom. It was a decade before Israel acknowledged they had the least dealings albeit passive, with him at all. I believe Netanyahu's statements were cynically political knowing full well he would never be pushed to deliver. Else we have to conclude that the country willing to free a thousand murderers for one Shalit has nothing with which to barter with US? Preposterous.

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  4. Empress
    Unfounded conclusions not backed up by any facts.

    Have you even read Netanyahu's statement to the Knesset?

    ReplyDelete