[Freemanlist2] Kenneth Lasson - PASSOVER AND JONATHAN POLLARD
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
bernards at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 6 10:01:18 CDT 2007
FREEMANLIST PROBLEM FIXED!
FREEMAN CENTER BROADCAST-April 6, 2007
FREEMAN CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
P.O. Box 35661 * Houston, Texas 77235-5661
Phone or Fax: 713-723-6016 * E-mail: bernards at sbcglobal.net
OUR WEB SITE (URL): http://www.freeman.org
THE MACCABEAN ONLINE: URL:http://www.freeman.org/online.htm
Freeman Center Blog http://www.freeman.org/serendipity/
The Freeman Center has been that unrelenting source of knowledge and truth for over 15 years. This Passover, why not make a special donation to show your support for our important educational work. Details on making a contribution are below:
To Make a tax deductible contribution to the Freeman Center's important educational work, mail check to address above or go to our website to pay by credit card of just click on URL below.
Ignorance Is Weakness - Know The Truth
Self-Inflicted Ignorance Is Suicide
The Freeman Center Is A Defense Against Ignorance
PASSOVER AND JONATHAN POLLARD
By Kenneth Lasson
Perhaps the most symbolic of all Jewish holidays, Passover above
all celebrates redemption. This is the time to remember deliverance from
Egypt, to appreciate the renewal of spring, to contemplate the meaning of
For Jonathan Pollard, the American found guilty over two decades
ago of passing classified information to Israel, Passover is even more
poignant. For the past twenty-two years he has been confined to a federal
penitentiary, having been sentenced to life in prison with a recommendation
that he never be paroled.
No one, not even Pollard himself, argues his innocence - only
about the severity and disparity of his punishment. The average term given
to those convicted of spying for hostile foreign countries is 12 years; for
given secret data to friendly nations as Jonathan did, four.
Fifteen years ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia rejected Pollard's petition to have his term reduced.
The two judges in the majority ruled against him wholly through an analysis
of procedural technicalities that even law professors found hard to fathom.
"The issue before us," they added, "is not whether a life sentence was
appropriate punishment for Pollard's crime, still less whether we ourselves
would have imposed such a sentence. Unfortunately for Pollard, their cold
dissection of legalistic niceties simply missed the forest for the trees.
Not so their brother, Judge Stephen Williams, who perceived with
crystal clarity the plain injustice of Pollard's plight. His sharply was
that the government reneged on each of the explicit promises it had made to
Pollard in return for his co-operation - in particular, that the
prosecutors broke their promise to ask the court for something less than the
maximum sentence. The government engaged in "a flagrant violation of the
agreement's spirit" when it presented highly prejudicial and inflammatory
memoranda from then-Secretary of Caspar Weinberger - documents that
Pollard's attorneys have never been permitted to challenge.
As in the Book of Exodus (part of which is read during this
week's holiday), the biases and fallibility of human judges are bound up in
dramatic paradoxes. It is ironic that the two majority judges (Ruth Bader
Ginsburg and Charles Silverman) were Jewish and that Williams was not, and
that Pollard's appeal was heard on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
It is no less incongruous that Israel, the prime beneficiary of
Pollard's classified data about Iraq's chemical and nuclear capability,
refused him the asylum of its embassy - nor, for that matter, that the
Jewish people, whose latest incarnation as a state can be dated to the
liberation of Buchenwald some 60 years ago, are still seeking a secure place
in the community of nations some 3,000 years after their deliverance from
Who wants to hear anything more about passing over Jonathan
Not the government of the United States, or its criminal justice
system, which is based on Judeo-Christian principles of fairness but is not
always able to correct its errors.
Not the government of Israel, whose prime ministers have had
numerous opportunities to raise their voices in Washington on behalf of its
acknowledged agent, but not one of whom - with the notable (and failed)
exception of Binyamin Netanyahu - has ever done so.
Not the American Jewish establishment, which early on in the
Pollard saga saw fit to muffle itself - out of both high embarrassment and
fear that to protest Pollard's mistreatment would subject it to the
traditional anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty.
Not the average American, who is (perhaps understandably)
preoccupied with the excesses of and plummeting confidence in the Bush
Administration - its conduct of the war in Iraq, its failed immigration
policies, its political high-handedness.
No, the only people who seem to care about Pollard nowadays are
those who always have, but with virtually no power to do anything for his
release: his wife, a few scattered activists - and the rank- and-file of
American and Israeli Jews.
Many law professors and libertarians have also taken up the
cudgels for Pollard because they truly believe that American justice
requires them to make things right when the system goes wrong. They agree
with the assessment of Judge Williams, who characterized his plight as "a
gross miscarriage of justice." That Pollard is Jewish and his goal was to
help Israel are beside the point: anyone subjected to the same unfair
treatment deserves redress.
Why is Pollard still in prison?
Few Americans, Jewish or otherwise, would liken Pollard to
Macbeth, but Judge Williams did. The case reminded him "of Macbeth's curse
against the witches whose promises - and their sophisticated interpretations
of them - led him to doom: "And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd /
That palter with us in a double sense: / That keep the word of promise to
our ear, / And break it to our hope."
The sadder, more demonstrable irony is that Jonathan Pollard
must celebrate this season of hope still gazing out upon the flowers of
spring through the iron bars of a sweltering prison cell - just as he has
for the past 22 years of his life.
Kenneth Lasson is a law professor at the University of Baltimore.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Freemanlist2