Prisoner of Zion – American Injustice

In the 1970’s, there was a concerted effort by American Jews to protest the “Prisoners of Zion,” the Soviet Refusniks who were not allowed to leave the Soviet Union and immigrate to Israel.  As soon as they applied to the Soviet government for exit visas, they lost their jobs, and in some cases, like Anatoly Sharansky, thrown into prison.  Their only crime was that they were Jews and they wanted to immigrate to Israel.  As an American Jew, with our great freedoms, it shocked and offended me that my brethren in the Soviet Union, whose only crime was being a Jew who wanted to return to our homeland were not free to do so.  I signed petitions and protested along with many other Jews.  Eventually the day came when Anatoly Sharansky was freed and allowed to immigrate to Israel, where he lives today and serves as a politician.

As an American Jew, I feel I owe an apology to the now defunct Soviet Union, because our government’s handling of the Jonathan Pollard case is unfair, embarrassing, and anti-Semitic.  Jonathan Pollard was guilty of spying for Israel, our ally.  He passed information to the Israeli government that was not harmful to the United States, but he was framed by US State department officials for passing harmful information that put US agents at risk.  The fact is, that information, which was harmful, was passed by other US spies to the Soviets who served four to six years in prison.  Pollard, who passed innocuous information to our ally, was given a life sentence.  He has been in prison since 1985.  Appeals have been made repeatedly over the years.  He was not allowed out of prison to attend his mothers and fathers funerals.  His health is failing.  Despite repeated requests for his release by the State of Israel, his family, Jewish and Christian religious leaders, and countless petitions, the Government of the United States of America refuses to release him.

President Clinton promised to release him but reneged on his promise.  President Bush did not release him.  In the last 24 months, many top US former state department personnel have come forward to admit he was railroaded and should be released.  Humanitarian organizations have requested his release.  The Prime Minister of Israel has formally requested he be released.  Yet for some reason, President Obama refuses to release him.

The problem is that President Obama sees this issue as an Israeli issue, not a human rights issue, and perhaps sees Pollard as a bargaining chip for his political meddling in the Middle East.  I wonder why he can’t see it as an issue of justice.  When people with far greater infractions against our country were given much lighter sentences and released, and a man who spied for our ally was given a sentence usually reserved for mass murderers, it makes you wonder about what kind of justice we really have in this country.

According to a July 15th article in the World Tribune, Lobbyists addressed this issue to Obama.

“The lobbyists said the White House as well as Obama himself have received direct appeals for Pollard’s release.
On July 13, an Israeli political analyst, Aaron Lerner, reported a brief conversation between an unnamed Jewish contributor to the Democrats and Obama. The exchange took place at a recent kosher fund-raising dinner for Obama’s re-election campaign, which required donations of at least $20,000.
Lerner said the Jewish contributor asked Obama whether he would release Pollard. The contributor said he solicited money from Jews for the dinner on condition that he raise Pollard’s case with the president.
“Are they bugging you, too?” Obama asked the Democratic activist.
“Yes, the Jewish community is bugging me,” the contributor replied.
“The Israelis are bugging me too,” Obama said.
The Democratic contributor told the president that Pollard marked “an important issue in the Jewish community today. We all feel it’s time for him to be released.”
Obama, Lerner reported, did not reply.”
It makes me wonder why he is still being held.  Why is Obama doing nothing about this. I was raised to believe America is the land of Liberty and Justice for ALL.   I’m beginning to think we may have to amend our pledge of allegiance to say “with liberty and justice for all EXCEPT for Jonathan Pollard.”
The actions of a nation bring either honor or disgrace upon their people.  In this matter, it is truly a disgrace.  In the name of justice, fairness, and humanity, please call or write the White House and request the President to pardon Jonathan Pollard.

6 thoughts on “Prisoner of Zion – American Injustice

  1. Wow, interesting story. Is he an American? The international spy museum in DC tells a lot of these stories.

    It seems like if spies get caught they get locked up for an undetermined amount of time.

    I’m wondering what happens if a persons citizenship is one country and they are a spy for another. Sounds like a potentially messy picture with who would take lead in advocating for him.

    • He is an American who also has Israeli citizenship. It is our responsibility to advocate for justice. there was no justice here. He was spying for our ally not our enemy. His sentence was far worse than many us spies who spied for our enemies. This is not a question of messy.. its a question of right and wrong. In this case, our government is clearly wrong and without justice.

      Google Jonathan Pollard and read the facts for yourself.

  2. I smell a little “holier than thou” here, on the part of our government. I also suspect we (sic) are keeping him in prison because he is a US citizen who spied for a foreign nation, in particular those nasty Jews who are such a problem and you can’t trust them, etc….. If we (sic) find him that distasteful, why not deport him to Israel?

  3. One more thing. If I were in the position of deciding to spy for one nation against the other, which would I choose? ISRAEL.

  4. Pingback: How The World’s Been Shaped By Defiance - History In Progress

  5. Pingback: Will To Live | Atlas of Mind

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