As the storm over Jonathan Pollard swirls about nervous Israeli and
American Jewish heads and both look warily over their shoulders, the
Israelis watching for Weinbergers and the American Jews for less famous
though far more numerous, hostile types, the time has come for normal
Jews to spread a normal view of the affair.
The time has come to put to an end both that acute manifestation of
Jewish "AIDS" - guilt - and the despicable calling for Pollard's head by
American Jewish leaders, whose fear of anti-Semitism makes them hope to
deflect Jew-hatred by being more patriotic than the patriots, more
American than all the rest. Let us get certain things clear:
- I am convinced that high military and political circles in Israel
knew of the affair and I wish that the Israeli government would stop
treating both the Jews and Americans as if they were imbeciles. No such
matters would ever be handled by lower echelon levels without
consultation with top Israeli officials. Certainly, a disciplined
military man like Aviem Sella would never have decided to run a "rogue"
conspiracy. There is no one who believes the absurd protestation of the
Israeli government, any more than Americans believe the initial nonsense
spouted by the President and Administration officials in Washington over
the Iranian affair.
- Having said that, and calling on the Israelis to be frank and open,
the more important point is that there is nothing for the Israelis to
feel guilty about except an enormous, horrendous stupidity. All the
guilt and hand-wringing and investigation and charges and counter
charges are absolute madness. All countries spy and all countries spy
against any country from which they feel it would be in their interest
to get information. There have been a number of instances in which U.S.
diplomatic personnel have been caught spying in Israel and the pity is
that Israel, through fear of offending America (sic) - fear of the
shtetl Baron - simply closed the book on the incident, quietly. Had
Israel made the proper fuss and noise, the Pollard affair would have
assumed a very different character.
And so, while Israel's action falls not one whit from those of other
countries, what is different about the affair is the incredible
stupidity of the Israeli decision to spy on a country that is, at the
moment, its closest interest. (I make haste to point out the use of the
word "interest," because in the real world of realpolitik there are
neither real "allies" nor "friends.') What in the world could Israel
have gotten through Pollard that was worth jeopardizing the present
relationship between her and the U.S.? If there would be a tribunal of
judgment for Israel, the Jewish state would be guilty, not of all the
wild charges made by less-than-friendly American types, but of the most
basic and most amazing form of crude stupidity.
But that is a form of political disease that the Americans, certainly at
this particular stage of world affairs, would be well-advised not to
raise. People who live in stupid glass houses of their own should
certainly not throw rocks of the same inane, gross weight.
- The overwhelming difference between Pollard and the whole host of
recent spy revelations in the United States lies in the basic and
fundamentally important fact that, while all the others spied for
nations essentially hostile to America - states that are essentially
enemies of the United States - Pollard spied for a country that is close
to America, shares basically the same interests and that would never
harm the U.S. in any substantial manner. In a word, the other spies that
have been apprehended over the years were spying for the enemy and
against the U.S.; Jonathan Pollard would never have dreamed of spying
against America - his sole purpose was to aid Israel, a country he saw
and sees as her ally.
- Because of that, the life sentence and the orgy of vicious attacks on
Pollard are outrageous. Of course, Pollard should have been given a jail
sentence, and a harsh one. He is an American citizen and revealed his
country's secrets to Israel. That is a crime in America and one that
should be punished. But life imprisonment? For a man who never gave
secrets to an enemy state? Who never intended to harm America? Whose
primary motive was concern for Israel's security? Should those things
not have been taken into consideration? And had they been, would Pollard
have ever received the horrendous sentence that he did? Of course not.
- And that leads, inevitably, to the next point. The entire Pollard
affair is pregnant with hostility to Israel and with anti-Semitism. The
news media comprising so many cultural anti-Semites of the Fifth Estate
(whose aberration stems from a deep, seething jealousy of the number of
Jews who are in the journalistic and literary world) saw in the Pollard
affair - as in the Lebanon war - an opportunity to safely give vent to
their hatred. There was not even a modicum of the same venom against
those like the Walker family and others who spied for the Soviet Union
and China. The reason is all too obvious.
- Aviem Sella was given the job, ordered to work with Pollard. He is a
soldier and a good one, who carried out the orders of his government.
There is no conceivable way that his career should be ruined and he made
scapegoat for the crudity and stupidity of the Israeli government. It
is up to the Israeli government to admit to its mistake, to its
stupidity; to regret that the action was ever taken and to regret that
it was discovered. And then?
And then, promote Sella, who is a good and brilliant soldier. America
will be upset? Perhaps. But by the same token, Sella was never as
dangerous to America as Weinberger is to Israel, and I have yet to hear
Israel express its dismay at Weinberger's continued promotion.
- And, finally, Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel and revealed American
secrets. For that he should be punished, fairly and without malice. But
he acted for Israel and on its behalf and out of support for the Jewish
state. For that, Israel owes him something. That something is called
loyalty. A state does not throw over and turn its back on someone who
sought to help it and who, indeed, was guided and directed by it. Israel
should have helped Pollard before this and it should not throw him to
the sharks now, no matter how upset this may make American non-Jews or
Jews of the Establishment persuasion. I happen to think that while
Pollard behaved as a bad American - and for this he should be punished
fairly - he acted out of motivations of a good Jew, no matter how
Indeed, I think he is a much better Jew than the impossible executive
director of the impossible organization known as the American Jewish
Congress. That gentleman, by the name of Henry Siegman, exploded in wild
attacks on American Jews who seek to explain Pollard's side of the
affair and, thus, mitigate the circumstances. Siegman (who,
incidentally, is a yarmulke wearer, Heaven help us) said, concerning
this, that he was "disturbed." I could not have put it better.