Good Advice from Professor Paul Eidelberg
J4JP Statement - Special to IMRA - June 25, 2004
A recent editorial in the Jewish Press [NY] (06/16/04) noted the grave injustice that Jonathan Pollard has suffered; noted he has spent an agonizing 19 years in prison; noted the egregious miscarriage of justice that resulted in his grossly disproportionate sentence; also noted a new court ruling in the case that permits Jonathan's attorneys to do yet another appeal for the right to appeal, and then drew a shocking and morally offensive conclusion.
In light of all of the above, the Jewish Press called on President Bush to tell the court to do what the court does anyway: to look at the case, and to "let the chips fall where they may."
This was the best the Jewish press could do to respond to a gross miscarriage of justice that has spanned nearly two decades? This is their response to the plight of Jonathan Pollard,ill and worn out,languishing in prison for 19 years for an offense that has a median sentence of 2 to 4 years?
Professor Paul Eidelberg, a long-time columnist of the Jewish Press[NY] wrote to the editors of the paper in an astute and moral protest:
"... After referring to the injustice that has been done to Mr. Pollard by the U.S. Justice Department, your editorial then proceeds to trample on morality and even ordinary common sense by flippantly concluding, "President Bush can set this all straight by instructing the Justice Department not to oppose Pollard`s bid for a court hearing and let the chips finally fall where they may. [sic]
This flippant remark makes The Jewish Press complicit in the grave injustice committed by the Justice Department against Mr. Pollard. Moreover the flippant remark obscures the culpability of Israel`s government - its failure to free its agent.
I urge The Jewish Press, in the name of justice, not only to demand - repeatedly - the release of Jonathan Pollard, but also to interview Esther Pollard, the one person who can best provide an accurate and revealing account of what is involved in the Pollard case.
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Eidelberg's letter should have been welcomed and its advice embraced by the Jewish Press. Instead, this week the Jewish Press castigated Eidelberg by printing another editorial entitled, "For Shame Professor Eidelberg" (06/23/04) and defending their indefensible and repugnant editorial position calling on the President to do nothing but support the court's decision.
Their "defense"? The Jewish Press claimed that this is their way of supporting Jonathan Pollard's attorneys and his legal case. Incredible!
Justice4JP would like to thank Paul Eidelberg for taking the time and trouble to try to set the Jewish Press straight, and to point out, that he is absolutely right: the only response to 19 years of agonizing injustice is to call for Jonathan's immediate release.
Professor Eidelberg is correct that Jonathan's court case lends support, strong support to a call for his release, but it should not be relied on as the only means to bring it about. The judicial process is by no means certain, and it will take years for it to play itself out.
Moreover, Eidelberg's advice that interviewing Esther Pollard to get the low down on the legal case and Jonathan's situation is also excellent. However, this is not always possible because of time considerations and availability of Mrs. Pollard. A solution? The IMRA interviews of Esther Pollard by Dr. Aaron Lerner! These interviews contain the most timely information and all the updates. They also contain information not found in any other news source. They are all available on the new IMRA Page of the J4JP web site, and Dr. Lerner has graciously agreed to allow reprinting with attribution.
Here is an excerpt of a recent IMRA Interview about Jonathan's court case. Had the Jewish Press Editorial Board looked at the copy J4JP sent them by email and by fax when it was first printed, we feel certain that their editorial position might have been a little more in line with reality:
IMRA: What about the new US Appellate Court ruling on Jonathan's legal case?
Esther Pollard: It is a wonderful development. Truly a victory. And a clear sign that eventually the truth will prevail.
IMRA: Was it expected?
Esther Pollard: Not at all. The American government's subversion of the judicial process in this case had succeeded in all but killing any chance that Jonathan's case would ever be heard. Thankfully his attorneys, Lauer and Semmelman, persevered. They filed an outstanding, and compelling brief with the appellate court asking it to reverse the lower court's refusal to grant Jonathan a certificate of appealability. The appellate court did more than that; the court order invited the attorneys to present the merits of Jonathan's case to a special panel of judges. This is the first time that the merits of the case will be addressed, rather than just procedural issues.
IMRA: Are you hopeful that the American legal case will do it for Jonathan this time?
Esther Pollard: Let me answer firstly as a Pollard advocate and secondly as Jonathan's wife.
As a Pollard advocate, I am always hopeful that by taking the case up the chain within the judicial system we will eventually reach a level that has not been tainted by its predecessors. When we took the case back to court a decade after Jonathan's last try, we certainly hoped that this would be true. Unfortunately that was not the case, and we have seen once again how the merits of the case have been buried on technicalities. Nevertheless, Jonathan has a very strong case, and as we go to appeal once again, we again hope for the best. (See Court Case Page.)
As Jonathan's wife, I must answer a little differently. The American judicial system has failed Jonathan repeatedly for nearly two decades, and we are out of time. Jonathan is now in his 19th year of a life sentence. He has already served many more times as long as anyone else in the US convicted of a similar offense. The establishment's vested interests in keeping Jonathan in prison, even after so many years, keeps tainting the judicial process for us. This is a case where the system appears to be either unwilling or incapable of correcting itself. Moreover, the process of appeal will take a very long time - time that we simply do not have. It is precisely for cases like this, that the President is granted the powers of executive clemency. His direct intervention is now essential not only to grant Jonathan relief from an unjust and excessive sentence, but also to restore the integrity of the American justice system which has been badly tainted by its handling of this case.
IMRA: Is it a good time to ask the President to release Jonathan, right before a Presidential election?
Esther Pollard: It is the best time. After the elections, there will be no need for a new president to be responsive to the Jewish community's appeal for equal justice. Freeing Jonathan Pollard is the best way to reassure Jewish voters that the system works for all Americans, and now is the right time to do it.
In conclusion, Justice4JP offers sincere thanks to Paul Eidelberg for his advice and recommends it to all media.
J4JP calls on the Jewish Press to rethink their position in light of the above, to do their homework and editorialize responsibly about Jonathan Pollard. Reprinting the most recent IMRA interview with Esther Pollard (as excerpted above) would go a long way to addressing and correcting any distorted impressions readers may have gotten from the previous editorials.
- NEW! IMRA Page: A compendium of Pollard-related material including all IMRA Interviews with Esther Pollard, over all years.