Happy Thanksgiving: Jonathan Pollard Then, Jews on Campus Now, and My Grandchildren

Last week, after Jonathan Pollard was freed, my son-in-law got a bit obsessive in researching the history of the Pollard case. He spent countless hours reading articles from 20, 25, 30 years ago. In the end he drew two conclusions: 1) The primary driving force behind the US government’s treatment of Jonathan Pollard was Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. 2) Weinberger’s motivation was to scare the hell out of the Jews of America.

Being the know-it-all father-in-law that I am, I told him that he had hit the bull’s-eye on both points, that if he would have just asked me I could have saved him a lot of time and effort, and most importantly that he needed to know that Weinberger was 100% successful. Essentially what Weinberger (and the US government) said to the Jews of America was this: “Look Jews, we know that when push comes to shove, your loyalty is first to Israel and then to America. We also know that you are scared to death of being publicly accused of dual loyalty. Well, we just want you to know that if you raise your voice about Pollard, then we will raise our voice about where your true loyalty lays, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue Americans aren’t going to be happy about that.” Weinberger wanted to put the Jews, particularly Jewish organizational leaders in their place, and he succeeded. Jews learned that in supporting Israel there was a limit to how far they could go.

Fast-forward thirty years.

Today, on campuses across America, and particularly on those campuses that will produce a significant percentage of tomorrow’s thought leaders, Jews are once again being put on notice, and put in their place.

Back in the good old days of Casper Weinberger, Jews were told that there was a limit to how far they could go in supporting Israel. Today, young Jews across America are being told that not only can they not support Israel at all, but that support for Israel equals support for racism, injustice, apartheid, inhumane brutality, the murder of innocents, Nazism, bigotry, the crushing of human rights—and oh yeah—the most heinous crime of the twenty-first century, OCCUPATION.

Do what my son-in-law did

But don’t take my word for it, do what my son-in-law did. This Thanksgiving weekend spend some time educating yourself about what is taking place across Campus Green, Ivory Tower, Ivy League America today. I know you’re busy, but you’ve got some extra time, so why not invest some of it in learning about what young Jews across America will have to deal with when they return from Thanksgiving at home, to today’s epicenter of anti-Semitism, the US college campus.

Below are links to three videos that will give you a feel for what’s going on. To go deeper, just Google “anti Israel campus” or “anti Semitism campus” and see what you find. As a matter of fact, if you don’t do a little homework, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the fear I am about to express.



Thirty years from now

Thirty Thanksgivings from now, it’s quite possible that my granddaughter will say to my son-in-law, “Abba, when you were younger, did America like us?” Or even, “Abba, when you were younger, did the Jews in America like us?”

Thirty Thanksgivings from now (If, God willing, I’m still around), I hope that I will be able to say to all our grandchildren, “Children, the reason I’m eating turkey tonight is because I grew up in a country that was great to Safta and me, great to our parents and grandparents, and has been a strong ally to Israel for as long as I can remember. And this turkey is our way of saying thank you.” But honestly, I won’t be at all surprised if I have to say, with a heavy heart, “Children, America was once a wonderful place to live as a Jew, and it was also Israel’s staunchest ally—but all that seems like a long, long time ago.”

About the Author
Shimon Apisdorf has authored ten books that have sold over a quarter million copies and have won two Benjamin Franklin awards. His family moved to Israel in the summer of 2012. You can learn more about him at his Website.