Donald Trump and Jonathan Pollard

Gil Hoffman’s Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post of November 11, 2016, “Trump victory could give new hope to Jonathan Pollard” informs us of discussions between advisors to US President-elect Donald Trump and “figures close to Jonathan Pollard”. Obviously, the topic is a presidential commutation to time served to facilitate Pollard his dream of living in the Jewish state.

Hoffman correctly recognizes that what is requested would never come from Obama but could conceivably be archived though Trump whom he suggests has never been asked publicly about Pollard. However, Stephan Bannon, Trump’s newly appointed Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, is a close friend of Trump and the executive chairman of Breitbart News. From all accounts, Bannon exerts considerable influence on Donald Trump. On May 11, 2016, Breitbart News published an Op-Ed by Aaron Klein entitled, “Analysis: Jonathan Pollard’s Strict Parole Conditions Make No Sense” reflecting full support to Pollard’s current mission.

The introduction suggests that it will be difficult for the US government to justify the draconian nonsensical parole conditions under which Pollard is presently living in New York City. It then expands on these conditions explaining that they force Pollard to violate the Sabbath and impede his ability to be gainfully employed , while not in any way advancing national security, the supposed goal of the unusual measures.

The article focuses on the favorable actions taken by the Obama administration relative to numerous individuals previously incarcerated in various prisons in the US, who indeed represent threats to the nation as against the nonsensical liability in Pollard gaining his freedom. Consider the release, without any US supervision many dangerous Islamic terrorists from the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, including the infamous Taliban Five, jihadists deemed “high risk” who were recommended for continued detention and yet were freed in exchange for United States Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

One of the numerous deficiencies pertaining to the Iran nuclear deal occurred in January when the US pardoned or dropped the charges against seven Iranians, some of whom were accused of stealing US technology and helping to launch Iran’s nuclear program in addition to being engaged in the project to launch Iran’s first-ever satellite into space. These individuals were to be engaged in a prisoner swap for the release of four American citizens held in Iran.

A few more examples of Obama’s sense of justice:

[a] Release unconditionally, three Cuban spies, members of the so-called Cuban Five who were dispatched by Fidel Castro to form a vast espionage ring in South Florida.

[b] Yet another member o the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, was given a reprieve without supervision from a 2011 sentence to return to Cuba for his father’s funeral on condition that he returned to the US to complete his sentence. This has to be compared with the refusal to allow Jonathan Pollard, even under heavy security, to bury his parents despite intense lobbying efforts by Israeli diplomats and members of Congress. Too boot, once in Havana, Gonzalez renounced his US citizenship, declaring “I am a soldier for the Cuban revolution”, while refusing to return in order to complete his prison sentence!

[c] In 2014 alone, Obama administration policies resulted in the release of more than 3, 700 “Threat Level 1” criminal illegal aliens, including murderers, rapists, kidnappers and drug dealers. These criminals were released onto the streets of the US as opposed to them being deported, as they should have been.

[d] As documented by the House Judiciary Committee, criminal illegal aliens released by the Obama administration between 2009 and 2011 went on to be charged with 19 murders, 3 attempted murders and 142 sex crimes.

Aaron Klein very correctly states that here is much disinformation about the Pollard case. At no time was Pollard charged with or convicted of treason. When one examines the entire span of events from Jonathon Pollard’s engagement as a US Navy intelligence analyst, to being indicted in 1985 on one count of passing classified information to an ally, to where he is today, it is incredible to come to terms with having confidence in democracy. To begin with how does the indictment manifest itself in life imprisonment, particularly given a plea agreement to spare him the former.

In pursuing the history of Pollards travails one finds just how different has been his experience when compared to other accused spies. Whereas the median sentence for the given crime is 2 to 4 years, Pollard is the only individual in US history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally.

Klein’s piece discusses the Weinberger Memorandum and makes the point that the US government has never released the full Pollard files to the public and even sentencing judges need to largely rely on general government representations of what is in the documents. Those with multiple security clearances have stated that the is nothing which they were able to read which justified Pollard’s unprecedented life sentence.

An unprecedented sentence was largely thought to have been due to a last minute secret memorandum from Weinberger in which he accused Pollard of treason, a crime for which, as previously indicated, he was never indicted, claiming Pollard harmed America’s national security. Weinberger, curiously said in a 2004 interview that the Pollard issue was “a very minor matter, but made very important—-It was made far bigger than its actual importance.”

Dennis Prager, theologian, thinker and philosopher turned talk show host, is considered one of the most brilliant and compelling voices in America today . A brief evaluation of the issues at hand by this detractor/dissenter as regards both Pollard and Trump was thought to be useful, given the controversies which have arisen.

In the case of Jonathan Pollard, Prager says, “I am writing only to morally evaluate what he did in light of the suffering he has endured, and to compare his punishments with those given to other American spies and to violent criminals.” Of course, this has been done ad nausea by others but Prager has not been overly vocal on Pollard most of the years.

Prager [1997] reminds us that circumstances always determine the morality of an act. In as much as we mostly morally distinguish between spying on a democratically and an anti-democratic enemy in a defensive war, we should add our voices calling for justice in support of the attorneys for a successful outcome. This is especially where, as in the case of Israel, it is fighting for its existence. He makes the point that even the US spies on Israel and probably most of its other allies.

In the opinion of Prager, Pollard spied on behalf of America’s most loyal allies, and not on behalf of any of America’s enemies; he gave away secrets about Arab regimes devoted to Israel’s destruction and “not to the best of our knowledge about America. Unlike spies whose espionage cost the lives of American and pro-American foreign agents, “we know of no American and pro-American foreigner who lost his life because of Pollard. Yet, Jonathan Pollard was given a life sentence – more punishment than some Americans who have spied on behalf of America’s enemies, and certainly more punishment than nearly all the murderers in America.

As Rabbi Greenberg wrote he “was no one of those who expressed sympathy for him when he case first broke, “I have come to the conclusion that enough is enough. It is time to extend mercy to Jonathan Pollard—–[There has been a] relentless parade of parallel cases in which far more damaging and dangerous spies received milder sentences.”

Dennis Prager penned his ultimate position on Trump in an article published by National Review, “Say No to Willful Delusion” on November 8, 2016. Within the body of the piece, he quotes the highly credible historian, Victor Davis Hanson; “On the Supreme Court, Obama care, the debt, rebuilding the military, the Second Amendment, school choice, abortion, reforming the tax code, reexamining regulation, energy exploration and production, illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and a host of other issues, the Republican ticket is the antithesis of Clinton/Kaine – and is recognized as such by nearly all progressives.”

Prager is unwilling to turn America over to 4 more years of leftism. Firstly, he views the damage the Left will do, if not permanent, will almost certainly last a generation. In fact, he happens to think that it could conceivably be permanent. He posits a thoughtful question by asking if one can name a country, outside of some formerly Communist country [which had communism forced on them], that chose to go Left and has fully recovered from a generation of Leftism?

He opines that Compared with America at any time in its history, except for the Civil War years, the country we are living in is indeed a wreck – and getting worse each day, and in every way. Another 4 years of a Democrat in the White House, the country called the United States will still be here, but America as envisioned since its founding – as the world’s beacon of individual liberty, Lincoln’s “Last Best Hope of Earth” – won’t.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.