Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Pollard Fiasco

Based on what was said yesterday, that Jews must place their nation of birth before the State of Israel unless they decide to relocate to Israel, why then do so many American Jews ask for clemency for Jonathan Pollard, a convicted traitor against America?

There are many reasons, of course, and I won't restate all the arguments here, they are well stated on http://www.jonathanpollard.org/, but the reason arguing on behalf of his release does not go against what was said in this blog is because American Jews are, or should be asking for what is best for America. Yes, Israel would like Pollard released. But America should release Pollard because it is to our benefit to do so.

First let's analyze the danger that Pollard represents:

1) Pollard was never a true threat to America, he was acting to defend an ally of America.

2) If he did accidentally discover any classified data that could have harmed America in the wrong hands, after the first decade that data would have been outdated. It's already been 22 years!

In Sum) If Pollard ever was a real threat, he is not any longer.

Next, let's analyze the potential domestic political cost or benefit that releasing Pollard could represent:

1) As he has already been punished more than any Soviet spy ever was, the continued incarceration of Pollard it looks almost anti-Semitic, and is indeed characterized as that among many activists in America. Getting this out of the way by releasing him is actually a good thing.

2) His crime helped Israel to take out Saddam's Nuke reactor, thus protecting our interests in the Middle East. I'm not suggesting rewarding a traitor that albeit ended up helping us, we cannot encourage treason. But this end has won him a certain measure of support in America for looking past the means by which he achieved his aid to our interests. Perhaps this support is especially strongest by those families of surviving war veterans who are grateful that their children did not have to risk WMDs that would have been there. So releasing him would be if not outright supported, at least tolerated as an understandable thing to do by many Americans.

In Sum) There is no significant political downside to releasing him.

Now, let's analyze the overall benefit that releasing Pollard represents:

America would gain political clout with the right wing in Israel's government. A group that is more and more becoming disenfranchised with the Bush Administration's close working relationship with their incredibly unpopular current Prime Minister. As proof, the next government of Israel looks to be right wing and quite possibly run by Bibi Netanyahu who has linked Pollard's release as a key gesture that he expects from America. Giving up a now harmless Pollard does not seem too high of a price to pay to gain extra political clout with a key ally in a key region of the world at such a crucial point in history.

It's time to put this fiasco to rest. No more accusations against America which is only trying to uphold justice, no more accusations against Israel which was trying to prevent itself from being nuked by Saddam Hussein. Let's just finish this the right way, right away. President Bush should pardon Pollard immediately or at the very least "trade" him for Palestinian prisoners without blood on their hands. Failure to do so, however, would put the historical onus on the USA. It would be a self-indictment that we only know how to punish our friends, but not our enemies. Our policy on recent enemy Iraq? Rebuild it before we know if they will be our ally in ten years. Our policy towards our close ally Israel? Well, that's another story ... or is it?

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