Recognizing "A Higher Law For Schindler, But Not Pollard"

Jacob Seidenberg - Washington Jewish Week [Letters] - December 16, 1993

That Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave the medal to Mrs. Schindler at Holocaust Museum ceremonies was considerably more ironic than Washington Jewish Week reporter, Caren Benjamin, noted.

"What the Schindlers did disserved the German law then in force," Ginsburg said. "Instead, the Schindlers served a higher law."

This is the same Judge Ginsburg who, hearing Pollard's appeal on Rosh Hashanah, denied on narrow technical grounds his bid for resentencing or a trial. Opposing this position the dissenting gentile judge, Stephen Williams, found "the government's breach of (its) plea agreement was a fundamental miscarriage of justice, requiring relief."

However heinous the law that Schindler "disserved," it nonetheless was the law of the land, and what Schindler did was undoubtedly treason. Here, thankfully, Judge Ginsburg was able to recognize a "higher law."

Jonathan Pollard likewise pursued a "higher law": when he refused to slavishly follow the orders of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who was himself in defiance of the law of the land in withholding vital intelligence material from Israel. Whether Pollard prevented another Holocaust, we cannot be certain, any more than we would know what had been averted if Hitler's plans had been aborted.

Pollard's motives have been questioned because of the $50,000 he received (for operational expenses). One answer can be found in the same answer Abraham Zuckerman, one of those saved by Schindler, gave to the charges of immorality and bribery against Schindler: "Who cares, who cares?"

Perhaps Pollard could convert and, like Schindler, be honored as a Righteous gentile. For the present, though, having served eight years, much more than any other spy for an ally, Pollard deserves our full support for his immediate freedom.