Transcript: Razi Barkai interview with Esther Pollard on IDF Radio
Justice4JPnews - March 25, 2008
[Translated to English by Justice4JP]
Esther Pollard was interviewed in Hebrew by Razi Barkai on March 25, 2008 on the IDF Radio program, Yoman HaBoker (The Morning Journal).
Just prior to interviewing Esther Pollard, popular morning show host, Razi Barkai, interviews Rafi Eitan. When questioned about his statement the day before, that he expects Jonathan Pollard home soon, Eitan prevaricates. He admits that he has no solid information to back up his "supposition" that Pollard's release is at hand. Nevertheless Eitan insists that this was nothing more than "a poor choice of words" on his part. He offers that perhaps he should have said "I hope" Pollard will be here soon, instead of giving the impression that he fully expects Pollard's release momentarily. Eitan then repeats that he "hopes" that Bush will release Pollard some time, perhaps now for Israel's 60th anniversary, or perhaps when he leaves office. Eitan's interview ends with his declaration that he is doing everything he can to keep Jonathan's issue on the national agenda. Barkai then turns to Esther Pollard.
Razi Barkai: Waiting on the line is Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard. Esther Pollard, good morning to you!
Esther Pollard: Good morning Razi!
Razi Barkai: When did you speak with him lately?
Esther Pollard: With Jonathan?
Razi Barkai: Yes.
Esther Pollard: Yesterday.
Razi Barkai: By telephone?
Esther Pollard: Yes.
Razi Barkai: Are there times written when you can speak?
(J4JP: Barkai's last words are unclear to Esther)
Esther Pollard: Are talking about Rafi Eitan's statement?
Razi Barkai: No! No! We'll talk about that later. I am talking about contact between you and your husband! Is there a certain hour of the day when you are able to speak?
Esther Pollard: Okay. Sorry. I misunderstood. I am so focused on the devious and untrue statements that Minister Eitan made
Razi Barkai: (cuts her off). I will give you a chance later to react to Eitan's statement, but first, let's talk about your contact with Jonathan.
Esther Pollard: Certainly!
Razi Barkai: Do you speak every day?
Esther Pollard: Yes. We pay an absolute fortune for every minute, because only he can dial out from prison and the calls are outrageously expensive. And as you know we are not getting a cent, not a red cent from the Government of Israel. In 23 years we have never gotten any support from the government.
Razi Barkai: Wait a minute! You pay for the phone calls?!
Esther Pollard: Yes! We pay for everything! Everything! Everything! Everything!
Razi Barkai: How long does such a phone call last?
Esther Pollard: A few minutes every day. Because he is very limited. He has a monthly budget, a monthly allocation of minutes. It is very, very difficult. And as I have mentioned to you in the past, when we spoke, we receive no support whatsoever from the Government of Israel. I live in financial dire straits; and Jonathan is completely dependent on me and a few friends for everything -even for money to buy crackers, for food, or for phone calls, and for all of his basic needs in prison.
Razi Barkai: Tell me, Esther
Esther Pollard: (continues) And why am I telling you all of this, Razi? Because this is not the way a Government behaves if it intends to bring her agent home home!
Razi Barkai: Okay.
Esther Pollard: And [the Government] also lies about it!
Razi Barkai: Let's continue the discussion. What about his day to day life in prison?
Are there people still coming to visit him? What about the American Jewish Community? Perhaps representatives..?
Esther Pollard: No, no, no. Everyone follows Israel's lead. As long as Israel turns its back on him, the American Jewish community shows no interest in Jonathan Pollard. Every one has abandoned him, following the example set by Israel. They all know that Israel is responsible for him, and as long as Israel is not taking any initiative to free him, no one else will either.
Razi Barkai: It's strange, and I really must tell you, every time I interview you, you say that Israel abandoned him. There have been prime ministers here, its now more than 20 years, thank G-d there have been a number prime ministers here in that time, who claim that in practically every meeting with the American President or with the Secretary of State or with the Secretary of Defense, they brought up the subject[of Pollard].
Esther Pollard: Tell me Razi, you are an adult, and you have been in the media for many years, and you still cannot differentiate between public relations and a serious, official request? To this very day there has never been an official request on the part of the Government of Israel to free Jonathan. And all this foolish talk, that maybe Bush will free Pollard, without Israel ever asking, is just ludicrous! There is no official request from Israel for Jonathan's release, so why should Bush antagonize his political enemies by making a gesture which Israel doesn't want!
And I repeat what I said previously: the way that the Government of Israel behaves towards me and towards Jonathan, the mercilessness and lack of compassion the Government demonstrates towards us, testifies better than a thousand witnesses, to the Government's lack of intent to bring Jonathan home.
Razi Barkai: If there were an official request from Israel, how would the American Government respond?
Esther Pollard: All of the senior officials in the US - including former head of the CIA James Woolsey, and including Senator Dennis DeConcini, the former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the time of Jonathan's arrest - all of them have been on record for some time stating openly that the time has come to free Pollard. There is no doubt that the minute that Olmert wants Pollard, he will be here!
And all of the nonsense from Rafi Eitan, that he "hopes" - he just "hopes" but he doesn't do anything! He just sabotages! It makes me sick to my stomach!
Razi Barkai: Now explain to me, please, and to our listeners, what interest does the Government of Israel have in Jonathan continuing to rot in prison?
Esther Pollard: The Government of Israel has no NATIONAL interest in having Pollard rot in prison but there are PERSONAL interests, on the part of those individuals who were fully involved in Jonathan's operation, who to this very day still do not take responsibility for their participation in the affair. People like Ehud Barak who signed all of Jonathan's tasking orders. People like Rafi Eitan, who was his handler. It's simply not comfortable for them to have Pollard home in Israel where his very presence may reflect negatively upon their PERSONAL reputations. In the meantime, Rafi Eitan now has the media image of a kindly grandfather. But to those who know him up close, he is no grandfather; he is a murderer! He is simply a murderer!
Razi Barkai: Let me strike that from the record.
Now let me ask you about Bibi Netanyahu who was not involved in the operation, or about Ehud Olmert who was not involved. Yitzhak Shamir
Esther Pollard: Who says Olmert was not involved?
Razi Barkai: He was involved?
Esther Pollard: Have a look at the Abba Even Commission Report on the subject! And nevertheless, he is now very involved, in that he sabotages every opportunity to secure my husband's release.
Razi Barkai: There are also people who are afraid to have him home for fear he will open his mouth.
Esther Pollard: No! Why?! What can he say that the People [of Israel] don't already know? People don't know that these leaders were involved? People don't know that Shimon Peres lies? People don't know that Ehud Barak was the head of AMAN (Israeli Military Intelligence) and he signed all of Jonathan's tasking orders? People know! But that they still prefer to have him die in prison is just too much! There is no reason for it!
People have to understand, and you also have to understand, that this is the same self-centered egotism that drives these people in all they do. It is not just about Pollard. This is they way they behave towards everyone. This nothing new!
Razi Barkai: Esther Pollard, I thank you very much for these words.
Esther Pollard: Thank you!