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Obama’s Dangerous Double Standard on Spying, Pollard

December 26, 2013 3:24 pm 29 comments

Jonathan Pollard. Photo: PD.

I live in a world where countries blame Israel for all their ills, equate Israel’s right to defend herself with the terrorist acts perpetrated by her enemies, and promote boycotts of the only consistent and lasting democracy in the Middle East. It is no secret that since the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, a dangerous double standard has provided fuel for biased UN resolutions and astonishing EU sanctions against Israel.

In the U.S., the tone was significantly different for many years. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush fought against any effort to delegitimize the State of Israel, and made a point of highlighting, and strengthening, the natural and necessary bond that the two countries share. Therefore, it pains me that a different reality is slowly setting in.

Since 2008, both Democrats and Republicans have been critical of President Obama for giving a cold shoulder to Israel, for implementing dangerous Middle East policies, and for his blatant disregard for diplomatic norms, especially vis-à-vis Israel.

The revelations of Obama’s actions over the past several months cut at the heart of the world’s obsession with applying a double standard to Israel and to the Jewish people.

Several months ago, the Obama Administration strong-armed Israel into releasing terrorists to meet Palestinian preconditions for peace talks. Israel gave in to the pressure, compromised the safety of its citizens, and legitimized the ludicrous idea that releasing 109 murderers, in four stages, would give the Palestinian Authority confidence to sit at the negotiating table.

The third stage of the terrorist release will likely occur next week. Among those who have already been released are Abdel al-Said Uda Yussuf and Massoud Issa Rajib Amer, two terrorists who, in April 1993, slaughtered Ian Feinberg, a young Jewish lawyer who was meeting with local officials to organize economic programs for Palestinians. Within minutes, they dug a knife into his throat, hacked him into pieces with an ax, and then shot him.

The second revelation: The NSA spied on Israel and various Israeli leaders over a period of several years. The Obama Administration, who at first denied allegations of spying, now admits that the United States had monitored the leaders of dozens of countries, including those of some of its closest allies. Though spying is commonplace and is to be expected within the realm of foreign relations, the United States’ spying on the State of Israel is an extra touchy subject.

Why are these two revelations of such consequence? The answer: Jonathan Pollard.

For those not familiar with Mr. Pollard, he was jailed in the 1980’s for passing classified U.S. documents to Israel while working for the U.S. Naval Intelligence Command. Twenty-eight years into his sentence, Pollard continues to sit, alone, behind the dimly lit halls of the Butner Correctional Complex just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. The disproportionate life sentence that Pollard faces is the harshest punishment ever assessed to an accused spy who passed information to an ally of the United States. Precedent dictates that Pollard’s crime warrants a maximum of six years in a Federal prison. He has now served almost five times that, a term that included seven years in solitary confinement.

When, in August, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked President Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence as part of the release of more than 100 cold-blooded killers, Obama refused. Reports have also surfaced that President Obama sees no connection between the NSA spying scandal and the case of Jonathan Pollard.

The sheer amount of high profile officials who are now urging Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence is staggering. Even those who called for his incarceration almost 30 years ago are now urging our Commander in Chief to release Jonathan Pollard. They include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former FBI director William Webster, men who now accept that Pollard needs to be home with his wife, both as a matter of justice and as a result of his declining health.

Former Director of the CIA James Woolsey, who was originally opposed to releasing Pollard, recently urged Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence. He asserted that if the ex-spy were a Filipino-American or South Korean-American, he would no longer be in prison.

As uncomfortable as it is to consider Mr. Woolsey’s comments, he is right. The double standard that the world applies to any person connected to the State of Israel and to the Jewish people, is the same double standard that is responsible for Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration. We must bring Jonathan home.

Isi Stein, a New York native, is a recent graduate of the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelors of Business Administration. He can be contacted at isi@steink.com.

29 Comments

  • When Pollard offered to spy against his country the Israelis should have warned the US that they had given a position of trust to an unreliable person. Pollard would have been sacked but would have been free to go to Israel. Israel would have acted like an ally. Pollard is serving a sentence he earned. Weinberger was Pollard’s boss and was the logical person to present an assessment of the damage that Pollard had done. Pollard betrayed his country. Pollard has not applied for parole. If he got parole he would have to stay in the country he betrayed. If he were pardoned he could go to the foreign he served, and they could make him out to be a hero. He isn’t. He is sleaze.

    • So why have all those Americans who spied for Russia already been released? Things he was accused of doing were at the hands of Adams. And what about the plea bargain. His sentence and everything surrounding it is pure anti semitism. The information that he provided, not only saved Jewish lives (how many have you saved?)
      but American soldiers in Desert Storm.

  • Obama knows he will be granted any wish to release Pollard. His first and only wish is to empty the prisons of jihadist terrorists.

    Very telling indeed.

  • Dear God, let him go! If Mr. Obama sees no relation in the two, he is not fit to decide, but we already know that. O has already betrayed Israel as well as America!

    • Let’s hope they’re not playing with his emotions just for a laugh! I’m worried that he’ll be rearrested! Even if he isn’t, the whole 5 years in America thing is an OUTRAGE!

  • James Nicholas

    To Israel: The Country that Believed Obama and then Released 109 murderers. Here’s your sign, have some more Kool-Aid

  • Mr. Stein, very well thought out argument and well written. I believe you make a strong point for the release of Pollard and the anti-Israel stance of the present administration. I’m happy to see that you are speaking out and I encourage you to continue with this quest. I’m looking forward to your next article. A job well done!

  • Put like that, it does seem vindictive. Turn him loose & deport him.

  • ב

    Here’ the double edge sword, slippery slope, classic. One can argue, superficially, that due the double-standard or bicameral thinking or lastly, of course, our own self-induced, right or wrong “paranoia” that ‘yep, Mr. Pollard is being given a bad deal because he’s Jewish’ – there is the Jewish paranoia. Since it’s nearly impossible to prove a negative, let us look as “objectively” as possible at the facts. There aren’t too many, so this will be fairly painless.

    Mr. Pollard took an oath of allegiance to protect the ‘classified’ information entrusted to him confidential. That was an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the US, which reminds me, when will Israel draft a Constitution. It’s going on 50 years of existence, maybe the ‘no time’ excuse is getting lame, but I digress. Mr Pollard was not forced in any way to take this oath of allegiance, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the US. As consideration for him receiving his Security Clearance, he provided his word that he will protect that information, commensurate with its level of classification. As you can see, there are certain ‘trusts’ granted by democratic nations, or in this case, republic, that are afforded to those deemed trustworthy and qualifying for a ‘security clearance’. Now comes the interesting part.
    Mr. Pollard, at his own choosing, made some ‘bad’ decisions, relative to the trust placed in him. He personally decided that classified information needs to be seen by a party not stipulated in any part of his allegiance, and totally out of scope. See a problem? Essentially, Mr. Pollard, on his own , went, shall we say rogue, and did not keep his end of the bargain. Little known iis that the extent of his ‘rogue ness’ extended not just to Israel, but other nation-states as well. So, back to the story. Mr. Pollard took classified information out of classified areas, which is bad move number one. Then he decided that he would accept payment for turning these documents over – as a means, of course, to let say, increase his gross earned income. That’s, by the way where this differs with Mr. Snowden, who took no money, but felt an altruistic righteous obligation, to let the public know about what they already news, but in a way larger than life. Sorry, digressed again. Back to Mr. Pollard.

    I hope by now, some new facts are brought to light. Further, Mr. Pollard then , when being pursued for arrest, went to the Israeli embassy, who, get this, would not let him in and instead let him be captured by the FBI and other law enforcement. Let me repeat that, he drove to the Israeli embassy in Washington and they refused him entrance, let alone protection, even temporary. Another twist in the plot.

    There is more to this story, and some would argue the unbalanced and unfair punishment, the double-dealing of Secretary Weinburger and the judge (can’t recall the name).

    Fallout,: Other Jewish Federal employees were looked at more scrupulously, and allegiance to Israel became a question asked during the clearance process. It hurt us and caused a bit of paranoia to every other Jewish Fed with a clearance. He hurt and blemished more innocent people and impacted additional scrutiny to those Jewish employees entrusted with classified information.

    So the. Question is not really whether “Jonathan” has been mistreated, over-punished, and unfairly. The question is, was a crime committed? Was an oath of allegiance violated? Did the recipients of said information do the right thing by cutting him loose? By now it should be clear that all is not as simple as it seems.

    As they say “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”.

    Mr. Pollard violated the trust placed in him by his government. That’s big. When it comes to security, especially National Security, it’s clear – there is reciprocity and it is all about trust. Claiming to have passed classified information to an ally is not really relevant. Also, remember, it wasn’t only to Israel.

    Subjective morality is the slippery slope. As Jews we need to lead by action. Our actions need to be beyond reproach, even more so.

    Mr. Pollard chose his destiny by not adhering to the rules of the game. His ticket was his security clearance and that gave him access to information he shared in violation of the trust that accompanies the granting of the security clearance. The real question is, why did the embassy not let him in? That was their chance. To come back 28 years later and “demand” his freedom ihas a certain audacity. To compare “scandals” as a basis for arguing release is somewhat disingenuous and arrogant. “Everyone else is spying so let our spy go”.

    Look at this objectively. Research the facts. Ask what you would do under similar circumstances. I’m not sure the resulting outcome would be the same.

    Less a tragedy, more of some bad decisions, trying to be justified and righted after the fact.

    Shabbat Shalom.

    • Nobody is disputing that he violated the laws of the United States. That is clear. Nobody is disputing that Israel threw him under the bus. That too is clear.
      But the reason he should have been released years ago is supported by your logic. He committed a crime and did his time–5 years the time.

      The only “arrogance” here involves your ego and that of some of the American officials involved. Just because you don’t like what he did does not mean that he deserves to sit in jail for the rest of his life. If we were speaking about a Muslim or an African American, there is no chance that he would still be in jail.

  • “He asserted that if the ex-spy were a Filipino-American or South Korean-American, he would no longer be in prison.”
    Add to this list 10 Rissian spys which were sent home without any charges. Unfortunaly our president befreinds with all filths of the world and Israel is not one of them…

  • In actuality, Mr.Pollard was double-crossed by the US legal system. Specifically,according to his plea agreement with the prosecution; he would not receive a sentence which was tantamount to draconian. Unfortunately, at the time of his sentencing — the government negated the previously agreed upon plea agreement and saddled him with the maximum prison sentence. These facts make one wonder: What is the real reason Mr. Pollard is still languishing
    in the gulag after so many years?

  • Please be aware that the US government quit speaking for the American people yrs. ago. It is now an entity unto itself with it’s own agenda, that is not even benign to it’s own populace.

  • Always remember that this President listened to the Rev. Wright spew his anti-Semitism for many Sunday services in Chicago. They had their effect.
    He also has quietly been a supporter of the vicious, hate-filled, Louis Farrakhan of Chicago. Now consider those in his inner circle: Valerie Jarret, Susan Rice, etc., all part of his private Chicago insider group.

    Not much chance that this President would look at the Pollard case and conclude, enough is enough.

  • Obama is an anti-Semite. Virtually all of his actions attest to that, including the travesty of an agreement with Iran. He is really making no effort to disguise his Jew hatred and Islamist worshiping. He will never release Pollard.

    Obama’s actions have been blatantly one-sided, and he ignores all criticism. I have come to believe that he is hoping for the triumph of terrorism over Israel and the US, the country for which he is sworn to protect. He is far more likely to genuflect to Khameini than to ever end the long-term injustice of the incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.

  • Israel betrayed Pollard. They wouldn’t admit that he worked for them for several years. Israel finally told the truth and has been supporting him ever since. Or seems to be. America betrayed him. The Government made an agreement with him for a lighter sentnce in return for information, then said nothing when the judge ignored the agreement. Caspar Weinberger, Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, went before the judge and asked for an exceptional sentence for reasons that we weren’t told. Before he died, Weinberger admitted Pollards sins were “minor,” but never asked for Pollard’s release.

    It’s possible Pollard knows something that’s still harmful to Israel or America that the government wants kept quiet. Or he’s the example to other Jews who might think it’s okay to help Israel.

    • The US is afraid to release Pollard.
      If he is released, and sent to Israel, he will reveal the truth about how the US spied on Israel. How the USS Liberty was spying on Israel during the Yom Kippur war, and sent messages to Egypt, which could have really damaged Israel, and more young Israeli soldiers would have died.
      US condemned the IAF for bombing the Liberty, in which some sailors died. That tragey must be blamed on the US govenment

      So many US Chrsitians have written letters condemning Israel for the USS Liberty.

      But they do not know, or want to know the truth.
      POLLARD KNOWS THE TRUTH. SO, keep him locked up, so that he cannot tell the world how the US tried to destroy Israel.

  • Israel needs to arrest a couple of American spies, then trade them for Pollard. Even Obana will understand that.

  • Pollard is a Jewish hero, plain and simple, and his lengthy incarceration is the direct result of pervasive hatred of Jews found in various sectors of the government. Not only was the information he passed vital to potentially saving Jewish lives, its revelation did NOTHING to harm U.S. security. However, “Kapo” Caspar Weinberger–because he loathed his crypto-Jewish bloodlines and wished to demonstrate what a good Episcopalian he was–did his utmost to crucify Pollard. The Pollard affair demonstrates not only that, as Jews, we have few true friends…but that some of our most virulent enemies are those who will go to any length to expunge even the last vestiges of Jewish identity.

    • Marshall E. Schwartz

      Buck in correct to lay the blame at the feet of Cap the Knife (AKA Casper Weinberger), who loathed his Jewish heritage. However, I strongly question whether Pollard is/was a hero. He did get paid, after all…

  • Pollard is been in prison for so many years and it is about time he is released . he deserves to be free ,The Obama administration has double standards

    • No, the Obama Administration has NO standards. How could it? It is led by a Muslim (or dhimmi) slave who, like all his fellow Muslim boys, was indoctrinated to hate Jews and loathe their presence in the Middle East. He is also angry that he was not permitted to become a walking human bomb when he met with Jewish leaders in Israel, the dream of every Muslim child so brainwashed. By 2014, the Muslim Brotherhood will control Washington, if Obama has anything to say about it. He would nuke Cairo if his masters would let him. And no, neither the American electorate nor the Democratic Party are his master. Pollard might know. Snowden surely knows.

  • Pollard’s release should come before any more killers’ of Jews are released from Israel jails. Double standards do not prevail.

  • A strong argument … very well put

  • Very well put

  • Isi, I am proud to know you and proud of all that you stand for, not least of all this article !

  • Isi your observations are uncannily astute. I would certainly go so far as to say that the trust he has placed on foreign and corrupt leaders is a clear demonstration of his inability to recognize the facts for what they are. The support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the blind faith in the new Iranian regime are shockingly concerning.

  • The injustustice is astonishing. Pollard should be released as soon as possible.

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