Hil Passes Over Great Injustice of Pollard Case

NY Daily News - April 20, 2000 - Sidney Zion

Why is this spy different from all other spies?

Jonathan Pollard, who spent his 15th Passover in prison last night for spying for Israel, still has no answer from President Clinton, the U.S. intelligence community, the judicial system and the wanna-be senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

No other agent for a friendly government has received more than a 10-year sentence, and most got no more than a four-spot. One naval officer

[Lt. Cmdr. Michael Schwartz, a non-Jew]

who delivered military secrets to Saudi Arabia between 1992 and 1994 was set free with nothing more than a "less than dishonorable discharge." Pollard pleaded guilty, cooperated fully with the government, was promised no more than 10 years — and got life.

And on this Passover, the only exodus in sight has to do with Bill Clinton's possible "sweetener" to Israel to lock in the peace process with Yasser Arafat — and Hillary's Senate fight with Rudy Giuliani.

Hillary first, because despite her recent lead in the polls, she remains in trouble with the Jewish vote, owing to her long support for the Palestinians and, of course, her infamous kiss after Arafat's wife accused Israel of poisoning the waters on the West Bank.

It was widely expected that Hillary would whisper in Bill's ear and get him to release Pollard — send him to Tel Aviv. After all, Rudy has for years argued that Pollard deserves to go free; as a great prosecutor, he understood completely that the government had denied Pollard due process.

This was not necessarily political on Giuliani's part. He has always had terrific backing from the Jews. His support for Pollard can hurt him upstate, and even in certain segments of the Jewish community in the city, those who worry about the "dual loyalty" issue.

I believe he means what he says about Pollard, and I applaud him for it. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, remains shtum, Yiddish for quiet.

At a closed-door hearing last month with New York State legislators, Hillary allowed as how Pollard was punished far more severely than anyone else for the same or similar crime. And she added that of course, no one would knowingly accept a plea bargain for the maximum sentence — he would opt instead for a trial.

But when push came to shove, Hillary refused to back Pollard's plea for freedom because, she said, "Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Jew, is against his release."

Lieberman (D-Conn.) is an Orthodox Jew. Last year, he signed on with 61 senators in a petition to the President to bury Pollard in jail forever. When pushed to give his reasons, he relied on rhetoric — Pollard betrayed his country, and that's that.

I called him yesterday, and his press agent said that it was a "terrifically difficult decision for the senator, but he made it after a classified briefing with intelligence sources." Whatever that means.

When I responded that Hillary Clinton was hiding behind Lieberman in refusing to take a position on Pollard, he said that Lieberman understood and agreed that Hillary had the right to make that conclusion.

He said this after checking with Lieberman. Hillary's people were not available for comment.

It's an ugly business, made worse by Bill Clinton's history — and apparent future — in this case.

Last week, the Israeli press had a story that Ehud Barak and Clinton had agreed to release Pollard once the peace process was on the goal line.

Jonathan Pollard has heard this song before. And on Passover, alone without his family, with no Seder, he asks, "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

See Also:
  • Schwartz Page
  • Lieberman Page
  • Senate Race Page
  • Sources: Deal Made For Pollard Release [& Links on Page]