The Pollard Criminal Suit Against Ha'aretz

Arutz7 Radio Journal Interview - February 3, 2000

Ron Meir:

Jonathan Pollard's attorneys filed a criminal suit in Jerusalem Magistrates Court today against Ha'aretz, its editor Hanoch Mamri, and writer Ronen Bergman. The suit comes in the wake of an article this week entitled "Pollard's War Against His Benefactors". Shalom to Esther Pollard!

Esther Pollard: Shalom Ron!

Ron Meir: Esther, you issued a rebuttal of the article. I would like to take examples of the kind of comments made by the article and ask you about them - whether or not they represent the facts- and in your opinion, why they do not. Let's take for example the claim that Jonathan Pollard is cut off from the whole world and that perhaps you are responsible for keeping him isolated.

Esther Pollard: It is bittersweet that that is the point that you should focus on because I just got an emergency phone call from the prison about 5 minutes ago, and our attorneys are now, as we speak, in communication with the prison dealing with retaliation against Jonathan, not only for our lawsuit in Supreme Court, but also for our most recent lawsuit.

Jonathan has a fair amount of access to the outside world, with certain restrictions. As everyone knows, he has had a number of official visits lately from all of the top New York Democrats . He is also in constant daily contact with his attorneys; he is in daily contact with our office, and he is in daily contact with people like Pesach Lerner and other American figures active in the fight for his release. However, now that we have filed this second lawsuit, the retaliation has begun against Jonathan, in the prison.

Ron Meir: Retaliation on whose part? Who is retaliating?

Esther Pollard: It starts in Jerusalem. The complaints go out from Jerusalem. The complaints go from Jerusalem to Washington. Then Washington starts breathing down the necks of prison officials. ...They are taking retaliatory measures against Jonathan because it appears that someone in Jerusalem feels that Jonathan Pollard has too much telephone access. So the request was made from Jerusalem to Washington to find a way to deprive him of telephone access. (The goal of keeping Jonathan away from the telephones is to try to prevent him from running his own case... and filing lawsuits!) There are many ways of accomplishing this goal...

Ron Meir: Are you suggesting physical beatings as well ?

Esther Pollard: No. I can't ...I can't go into details, and I can't say anything , because as I said our attorneys are currently dealing with it.

Ron, this is the first time in history that an agent has had to sue his own Government for abandonment - literal abandonment!

Ron Meir: You are referring of course to the Supreme Court suit against the Government, Ehud Barak, and his lack of initiative in the Pollard case?

Esther Pollard: Yes. And what went on in Ha'aretz is not unrelated.

Ron Meir: There is a question that I have, and most listeners have, when we talk about slander in the article, and another comment in it is that he is getting money from the Israeli Government.

Esther Pollard: Not a cent!

Ron Meir: Yes, and you went to great lengths to explain that, and it is a complete lie. What interest does Ha'aretz have in saying things that have no basis in reality? Give us some insight into that.

Esther Pollard: Ha'aretz has always been the mouth piece for those in Misrad Ha Bitachon (The Ministry of Defense) who want to shut Jonathan up. Always!

The only difference between this Ronen Bergman article and others written by him in the past, as well as others in Ha'aretz written by people like Dan Margalit and Yossi Mehlman - articles slamming and slandering and undermining Jonathan - is that in the past we have always been so overwhelmed trying to fight the main battle for Jonathan's freedom that we have not taken the time out to sue these people to stop them once and for all. This is the first time that we have said , "That's it! Enough! Ad Koh! From here on in you are going to be held responsible!"

And the thing that has really confused the Israeli press is that we haven't filed for monetary damages! Everyone (in the media) is in a tizzy because they can't understand : what are you going to court for if you are not asking for money damages? We have filed a criminal suit, holding them criminally responsible for outright slander and libel that is extremely damaging to Jonathan.

The reason for the criminal suit is that it is time for them to take responsibility for what they are doing. We are not in this for money. We don't have money. But that is not what this suit is about. This suit is about holding people responsible for the terrible damage they do to Jonathan. A further suit for monetary damages is always possible, but right now our issue is simply criminal responsibility. (Note: a criminal suit can result in prison and/or fines for those found guilty.)

Another thing: the libel is not coming just from Ha'aretz. Ha'aretz is lending itself as a vehicle for certain elements within the Defense - Intelligence establishment that would like to keep Jonathan in prison forever.

Ron Meir: One of the things I noticed about the article, and it is part of an effort to discredit you, and that is that the article refers to you by your maiden name, as if to suggest that you are operating as an independent agent, out for your own self-aggrandizement, or something to that effect. Is that how you took the reference to yourself in your maiden name?

Esther Pollard: You know what maiden name was one of the three things in the article that were accurate! Zeitz is my maiden name and I don't have a problem with it. The other thing in the article that was accurate was Larry's last name - Larry Dub- and he is our attorney.

Ron Meir: And that's it?

Esther Pollard: No, there was a third thing that was accurate and that is that Israel owes Jonathan a debt. But Ron, can you imagine what kind of debt... My husband warned Israel that Saddam Hussein was about to scorch the Jewish State and the thanks that he gets is the likes of Ronen Bergman and Ha'aretz making an outright threat against him in this article, saying to him, 'Pollard we are warning you, if you don't shut up, you will be left to rot in prison forever.' Well excuse me! It is 15 years later and we can't seem to tell difference between the threat and reality!

Ron Meir: Esther Pollard and the criminal suit against Ha'aretz. Thanks for joining us.

Esther Pollard: Thank you, Ron.

See Also:
Responding to "Pollard's War Against His Benefactors"