With Friends like Seymour and The Conference...
J4JP Release - January 24, 2003
Responding to "Pardon Me" by James D. Besser: The Jewish Week [NY] - January 17, 2003 p3
by Esther Pollard
Jonathan Pollard can always count on Seymour Reich and his colleagues of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to make the Government's case to justify keeping Jonathan in prison.
Seymour Reich's comments in the Jewish Week ["Pardon Me" by J. D. Besser JW 01/17/03] are a case in point. Instead of sounding the alarm about the massive injustice of keeping Jonathan in prison one minute longer, or calling on the Jewish leadership to take action, Reich dismisses the issue by assuring readers that President Bush won't release Jonathan now, and not likely before the year 2008 so, it is implied, why bother doing anything for Pollard now? Reich also coyly shifts the responsibility for Jonathan exclusively to Israel.
The Pollard archives reveal that Reich and his ilk have made similar statements at various points in time - over and over again for the last 18 years - giving cover to 4 consecutive US administrations.
What's wrong with this picture? The answer is simple:
Six days after my husband, Jonathan Pollard, was sentenced to life in prison, in complete violation of a plea agreement which he honored and the government abrogated, the Conference of Presidents wrote a letter* promising the US government never to intervene on behalf of Jonathan. The Conference also promised to secure the cooperation of Israel in abandoning Jonathan.
Israeli leaders tell us that neither Reich nor the Conference has ever shown any concern or any willingness to support quiet efforts on behalf of Jonathan - which makes it more than a little disingenuous for Reich to invoke Israel at this point...
The Conference's promise never to act on behalf of Jonathan Pollard is the only promise on the Pollard case that the Conference has ever kept. In 18 years, Jonathan's name has never been on the OFFICIAL agenda of any of Conference's meetings with the White House to discuss "concerns of the Jewish community." Behind-the-scenes sources at the White House assure us that in the last 2 decades the Conference has NEVER privately lobbied for justice for Jonathan Pollard. Aside from empty declarations of support made exclusively in the Jewish media, there is absolutely no evidence of any public efforts - past or present - by the Conference or its leaders. Even after receiving an exhaustive briefing by Jonathan's US attorneys on his new legal case in 2001, the Conference has yet to undertake a single initiative to show support. Not even the simplest thing, like writing a letter to George Bush.
It does not trouble the Conference or its leaders that various elements within the American Administration continue to exploit Jonathan's case to call into question Israel's reliability as an ally and the loyalty of the American Jewish Community, as they have done for the last 18 years.
It does not trouble the Conference that Jonathan, who has spent the last 18 years in a violent, over-crowded, life-threatening prison environment, is seriously ill. Every day that he survives is a miracle.
For the love of G-d and in the interests of truth, would that the Jewish Week and others would inform themselves and stop giving a platform to Reich and those like him who posture publicly as if they were involved in the case, but privately conspire to keep Jonathan buried alive. G-d forgive them all. History will bear out my words. In the meantime, let no one else be deterred from right action by the cowardice and duplicity of the American Jewish leaders. At very least, pray for Yehonatan Ben Malka.
(Mrs. Jonathan Pollard)
P.S. For the record: the above is not criticism of the American Jewish leaders, but a wake up call to the Jewish Community. Jonathan and I no longer hold out any expectation of help from American Jewish leaders. Either by deliberate omission or calculated commission, these "leaders" have aided and abetted the US Government in keeping Jonathan incarcerated for the last 18 years, for an offense which has a median sentence of 2 to 4 years. If, in 18 years, these leaders have not been willing to do the right thing for Jonathan - even if only out of shame, or for their own self- respect - we no longer hold out any expectation that they ever will.
* A copy of this letter is available on the J4JP web site entitled:
FOIA DOC: Conference of Presidents Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Betraying Pollard