US Elections - Special OpEd - November 10, 2000 - May be reprinted


by Charley J. Levine

The Invisible Man in America's Presidential brouhaha is none other than William Jefferson Clinton. He has two months left in office. He's meeting Prime Minister Ehud Barak this weekend, and it's time for him to figure out that he has an outstanding win-win opportunity at hand.

Now is the time for him to free Jonathan Pollard.

Only two groups remember this long-suffering prisoner, much less care about his fate: the intelligence community, with its visceral hatred of this prisoner; and the Jews, both in the US and in Israel.

Until now, every appeal to President Clinton has fallen on deaf ears. Until now, the espionage crowd has managed to quash any lobby pressure on the Chief Executive to release Pollard.

Suddenly, timing is everything. We may not know who the next President will be, but the sitting lame duck has a chance to make lots of people very happy at the precise time he is easing away from the spy crowd's cloying grip.

Freeing Pollard would accomplish all of the following:

  • Provide


    with a significant "present" and confidence-building achievement with which to return home from this otherwise grim summit;

  • Rarely is there anything one can give Israel, which does not anger

    Yasser Arafat

    , but this is one of the few. Arafat had no objections to Pollard's release when broached back at the Wye Conference, and he still could not care less about this matter.

  • Hillary

    owes her election to massive Jewish support in New York, and her indirect involvement in this breakthrough would send a clear, reassuring signal to these important constituents: "I'm really going to make things work between us for the coming six years."

  • Clinton genuinely likes

    American Jews

    , as well as Israel. They have supported him unflaggingly since 1992, and here is one small gesture to repay them for that loyalty. They want Pollard out, and Clinton is the only guy who can make it happen.

    Finally and foremost,

    Jonathan Pollard

    has paid and paid again for his transgressionmuch more than any other citizen in US history charged with his crime.

It's time for justice to be done. It's time for Pollard to come home

CHARLEY J. LEVINE is a writer and public affairs consultant based in Jerusalem.