Pollard and Israel's Second Homeland Complex

Eliyakam Haetzni - Yediot Achronot - July 7, 2003 - [Translated from Hebrew by J4JP]

"Because we are so addicted to America we have become blind to U.S. Pro-Arab foreign policy and we have forgotten Jonathan Pollard."

Columnist Emunah Alon, in her column "Hostages" (Yediot Achronot July 2, 2002) postulated that the way Jonathan Pollard has been treated by the U.S. stems from the very fact of Israel's audacity in running him as a spy.

This explanation is simply inadequate. It also does not explain the silence of the Jews - both in the U.S. and Israel - in the face of the terrible injustice that has been done to this man. What is missing is the Anti-Semitism at the core of this issue, which both the perpetrators and the victims would prefer to hide.

Why did the American prosecution leak false information to the court behind the scenes claiming that Pollard was responsible for the capture and deaths of 40 American agents in the Soviet Union? Why has U.S. cruelty towards Pollard continued even long after it is known that these agents were betrayed by Soviet spies Aldrich Ames and Rick Hansen? Why has this ill-treatment continued even after it is finally known that the information which Pollard transferred to Israel was about Arab States and terrorist organizations which posed a threat to the very existence of Israel. Information which the U.S. withheld from Israel in spite of a commitment between the two nations to share such vital information. And still it is not enough that Pollard has already served 18 years in prison (even though in other similar cases of spying for an ally without intent to harm the U.S., the median sentence is no more than 4 or 5 years)?

Clinton - who handed out pardons left and right - promised Netanyahu he would free Pollard in return for massive Israeli concessions at Wye, but reneged in the end for fear of being accused of buckling under to "Jewish influence". The American Jewish leadership abandoned Pollard - they certainly supported him a whole lot less than the Ukrainian American community supported [the Nazi mass murderer] Demanjuk - in order to protect the illusion of their "great influence". In fact, to this day, they are on thin ice. And perhaps this is as good as it will ever get for them?

The State of the Jews has learned from the Pollard case that just as the place of a Jew within the State is insecure, so too is the Jewish State not very secure in its place among the nations. We never dare to ask publicly why it is that the Americans violated the plea agreement with Pollard, or why they broke their commitment not to use against him the material that was returned to them - or why it is that they do not equate their spying against us - which is quite substantial - with our spying against them, so that in the end it is all equal? More to the point: we are freeing terrorists not in the interests of peace, but rather because it serves American interests to do so. This being the case, how is it that that we do not insist quid pro quo for the thousands of security prisoners that America wants us to release, that America release just one man, the one that we want released, Pollard? Perhaps it is because we "understand" just how difficult it is to release a Jew who spied for the Jews?

And why is public opinion in Israel so silent? Simply put: because the Nation of Israel has developed a dangerous psychological dependence on America. Ben Gurion fought valiantly against the MAPAM party which saw the Soviet Union as a "second homeland". And in the meantime, America quietly crept in and stole our hearts as the "second homeland", without us even realizing it. That is why Israelis are so stunned to be informed that now they will be forced to obtain a visa to visit the U.S. just like any other foreign national.

Because we are so addicted to America we have become blind to U.S. Pro-Arab foreign policy which buys favor from the Arabs with our blood. This complex has Israeli politicians willingly betraying the Israeli right wing to the Americans, because they see the Americans as "one of us."

The bitter fate of Pollard shows that there is no greater error than this. The Jew and his Jewish State are alone in this world. This is the way has been and the way it remains for the last 2000 years. There is great danger in avoiding facing this reality. American Jews deceive themselves by thinking that laws of the Diaspora do not apply to them and Israeli Jews have only recently been weaned off of the illusion that Zionism transformed into a State will forever abolish the blight of Anti-Semitism. Our history is replete with instances where we chose to keep our eyes closed. In every such case, all of these episodes ended in disaster.

The author is an Israeli attorney and a former Member of Knesset.