The sword is worse than death, famine is harder than the sword, captivity is worst of all...(Talmud, Bava Batra 8b)
In the early 1980s, Jonathan Pollard was a civilian analyst in the U.S. Navy. He was deeply troubled that the U.S. government did not seem to appreciate the threat to American interests posed by Saddam Hussein. He also tried desperately to hold the U.S. to its commitment to warn Israel of Iraq's lethal plans for the Jewish State.
In his efforts to get this information legally released to Israel, Pollard appealed all the way up the chain of command in the Pentagon. To no avail. In desperation, Pollard finally gave the information to Israel himself.
Essentially, Jonathan Pollard warned Israel that Saddam Hussein was planning to scorch the Jewish State with weapons of mass destruction. What is perhaps most shocking of all, though, is the fact that this vital information was being purposely withheld from Israel by the U.S., Israel's closest ally.
In warning Israel, Jonathan broke the law. He deserved to be punished. But the punishment has to fit the crime. The usual sentence for spying for an ally is 2-4 years. Jonathan has been imprisoned since 1985, completing a life sentence, with virtually no possibility of parole.
Jonathan Pollard did not spy against the United States. He was never indicted for intent to harm the United States, nor for treason, though he has been falsely accused of both. He received his life sentence without benefit of trial, but as the result of a plea bargain which Jonathan honored and the U.S. violated.
Jonathan received a sentence far harsher than most of those who spied for an enemy nation. Only Jonathan Pollard, a Jew who spied for the Jewish State, remains in prison with no end in sight.
The facts of the case show that none of the information provided by Pollard resulted in the loss of lives or the utility of any agents, the need to replace or relocate intelligence equipment, the loss of sources of information, or the compromising of technology. And while sentences in espionage cases are traditionally proportional to the damage caused, Pollard's sentence is in gross violation of this principle. Jonathan Pollard's sentence does not fit his crime.
Pollard's greatest "sin" was giving Israel vital security information which permitted the Jewish state to act in its own defense. For decades, Washington has sought to assure Israel of a qualitative military and strategic advantage against its Arab neighbors. Pollard's actions were, if anything, consistent with this goal.
In spite of the passage of time which has exposed government allegations against Jonathan Pollard as either gross exaggerations or outright lies, and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, America continues to punish Jonathan Pollard as if he had committed a far more serious crime and as if Israel were an enemy state.
The Dreyfus Affair which ensued caused a deep rift between intellectuals not only in France but in all of Europe and the United States. It unleashed racial violence and led to the publication of history's most famous call for justice 'J'accuse' addressed to the President of France by Emile Zola, who was to become in the words of Anatole France "the conscience of mankind".
The Dreyfus Affair also led to an increase in anti-Semitism in France. This development helped convince Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl that Jews could never find a home in non-Jewish societies. As a result, he organized a worldwide Zionist movement, which inspired the founding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the Land of Israel.
The key to securing Pollard's release might be in the hands of the American Jewish community. Until when are you planning to ignore this major injustice? We call upon all American Jews to use all legal means at your disposal to expose the truth and to work on behalf of justice for Jonathan Pollard to allow him to obtain the freedom he so justly deserves.
By releasing Jonathan Pollard, America will demonstrate her renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and reaffirm her relationship to Israel as a valued ally and faithful partner.
For further information on the Pollard Affair, visit the
Justice For Jonathan Pollard website.