Bret Stephens is the foreign policy opinion columnist at the Wall Street Journal. I tend to agree with him on a myriad of topics. On this subject, I wholeheartedly agree and for the exact reasons he states in his article.
But even on a more personal note: my father was a Reagan administration official with a high security clearance. He was able to help and support the Jewish people through his involvement in Operation Moses (among other programs throughout his life) and he was able to help and support his country the USA on any number of occasions. In fact to this day we still do not know how much my father risked his life for his country, the USA. When a few years ago, he requested his FBI file from the government it was sent so redacted that all that was left on the page were prepositions. We were told that what he had done during his tenure is considered still so dangerous that everything is still highly classified. My father was a true American patriot. My father was a true lover of the Jewish people. He was able to conjoin these two ideals with honor and dignity. My father and not Pollard is a hero of the Jewish people and the USA. The Jews buried in military cemeteries in the USA are heroes and not Pollard. Israelis buried in the military cemeteries in Jerusalem are heroes and not Pollard. Read here for more of my father’s story.
I can understand how some Israelis would see him as a hero. I think they too are misguided for the exact reasons that Stephens writes. But moreover, shame on those Jewish-Americans who have lost sight of what Pollard actually did and how he betrayed not only the USA but every Jew on Earth.
UPDATE: Bret Stephens answers his critics from his first article HERE.
Again Stephens is right when it comes to Pollard. Those who see antisemitic conspiracies in Pollard’s sentencing need to turn their attention to the growth of real Nazi-like-antisemitism worldwide and the rise of Islamo-fascism throughout the Middle East. These are the threats to the Jewish people and Israel. In fact these movements threaten the survival of the entire western-democratic-liberal world. In the real world all political capital is limited. It is time to concentrate on saving those that have actually earned the right to be saved.
There are a few things I’d like to hear Barack Obama say on his trip this week to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
I’d like to hear him go beyond the bromides about “having Israel’s back” and “not bluffing” about Iran’s nuclear ambitions to spell out a U.S. timetable and a U.S. red line. I’d especially like to hear the president say the U.S. is not interested in a diplomatic settlement that solves the immediate nuclear crisis but allows Iran to retain and expand its nuclear-industrial base.
Keeping Iran from sprinting to a single bomb now so that it can amble toward 50 bombs once Mr. Obama is out of office is not a policy worthy of any American presidency.
I’d also like to hear the president tell Palestinians during his visit to Bethlehem that what really stands between them and a state isn’t Israel or its settlements. Israel dismantled its settlements in Sinai for the sake of peace with Egypt, and dismantled them again in Gaza in the interests of disengaging from the restive coastal strip. Most Israelis would gladly do so again for the sake of a real peace with the Palestinians.No, you shouldn’t.
But Israelis can have no confidence in such a peace so long as Palestinians elect Hamas to power, cheer the rocketing of Israeli cities, insist on a “right of return” to Tel Aviv and Haifa, play charades at the U.N., refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, and raise their children on a diet of anti-Semitic slurs. In his 2009 speech in Cairo, Mr. Obama spoke the truth about the Arab world’s Holocaust denial. He shouldn’t deprive his Palestinian audience of a similar dose of truth-telling, least of all in Bethlehem.
Finally, I’d like to hear Mr. Obama tell Jordan’s King Abdullah that the U.S. will back the Hashemite kingdom to the hilt.
Right now, the king is dealing with a long-running financial crisis, the influx of more than 300,000 refugees from Syria, diminishing political support from tribal sheiks, and an assertive Muslim Brotherhood that smells political blood. If the king falls, the U.S. loses an ally, the Arab world loses a moderate, Israel loses a secure border, and a contest for power erupts in which all the outcomes are bad. U.S. assistance to Jordan came to $736 million last year. It’s cheap at five times the price.
But here’s something I don’t want to hear from Mr. Obama, especially not when he’s in Israel: that he has agreed to release former Navy intelligence analyst and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.
Not that such a gesture wouldn’t go down well in Israel and with much of the U.S. Jewish community. As of this week, 175,000 Israelis have signed a petition calling for Pollard’s release. Israeli President Shimon Peres intends to raise the subject personally with Mr. Obama; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a formal request for the spy’s freedom two years ago.
Also true is that there is a humanitarian case to be made for Pollard’s release. He has now served 28 years of a life sentence, which comes to nearly half his life, and he is said to be in failing health. Compare that with the seven years served by Robert Kim, another Navy analyst who spied for another friendly country, in his case South Korea.
Yet whatever the humanitarian interest in freeing Pollard, it must be weighed against other interests, American as well as Israeli.