McCain, Pollard and the Confederate Flag - Editorial

New Jersey Jewish News - February 4, 2000

You can't blame American politicians for noting the lack of resolve in the Jewish community regarding efforts to secure Jonathan Pollard's release from federal prison. A couple of weeks ago, "straight-talking" John McCain a man courageous enough to tell Republican Jewish activists and donors why he backs campaign finance reform told the Conference of Presidents that he thought Pollard should never get out because "he betrayed our nation and his obligations to our government."

There is also abundantly clear evidence that when it suits his purposes, McCain knows how to dissemble. While Pollard's "betrayal" merits prison unto death, South Carolinians' desire to fly the Confederate flag above their statehouse is a local matter, not grist for the mill of the national political discourse. Of course, the fate of McCain's run for the Republican presidential nomination will be sealed, or given new life, not by this week's New Hampshire primary but in the Feb. 19 South Carolina primary. That explains why his early denunciation of the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism mellowed into a more accommodating view of the flag as a symbol of "Southern heritage."

The Confederate flag not only represents a racist heritage of oppression, slavery, and denial of basic rights to blacks, it also celebrates the greatest act of treason an armed uprising against the United States of America.

Now, we're all for flexibility. After all, if we insist that the Confederate flag be hauled down on the above-cited grounds, we weaken our argument for granting Pollard clemency. But let it be said while McCain is still in the race that we appreciated neither his hard line on Pollard nor his waffle on the South Carolina flag issue.

Justice4JP Note:

Jewish "leaders" have yet to publicly challenge McCain's position on Pollard. Privately however, a number of Jewish "leaders" have correctly noted that McCain accuses Pollard of crimes for which Pollard was never accused or indicted. McCain's failure to relate to the grossly disproportionate sentence Pollard received is another issue Jewish "leaders" grumble about - to themselves.