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February 25, 2014 1:28 pm

Why It’s Not the Right Time to Call for Pollard’s Release

avatar by Daniel Pipes

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A free Pollard sign.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit).

I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

This article was originally published by National Review Online.

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  • zadimel

    I see no equating of the price paid by Israel – the release of murderers, many of whom returned to their killing ways,- and a future release by President Obama. I have a great deal more respect for the Obama administration, which has supplied Israel with the largest amount of American military aid in US history, than any prior administration.In addition, the Obama administration’s diplomatic support for Israel is unparalleled: President Obama forcefully opposed the Palestinian’s attempt to unilaterally declare a state; mobilized the world against a nuclear armed Iran; voted with Israel 100% of the time at the UN – a first in modern history; vocally protested efforts to isolate Israel at the UN and other international bodies; and asserted Israel’s right to self-defense,including the Gaza flotilla.