Shame on PM Netanyahu - Ignoring Dramatic Changes In Pollard Saga

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA - November 7, 2010

"The Prime Minister has brought up Pollard's case several times in discussions with the U.S. government..."
[6 November 2010 Statement by the Prime Minister's Office]

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is certainly a very busy man.

He has to deal with a mind boggling collection of threats, pressures and concerns. Many of them are literally existential.

So it might have been possible that when news first broke about the Korb letter and other recent dramatic developments relating to the Pollard case that he simply wasn't aware of them in the immediate hours that followed. And in the absence of his knowledge, his team continue in "auto pilot" mode in dealing with the story.

But the Korb letter story came out almost a month ago. And it has been followed by a series of headline makers driving home the point that the release of Jonathan Pollard is a matter of justice and not just a humanitarian issue.

It has gone far beyond the headlines.

Even Mr. Netanyahu's own brother in law has joined in the campaign to press the prime minister to call on President Obama to do justice in this case.

There is no question about it.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows that the argument for Pollard's release has conclusively shifted from a "humanitarian" appeal to a call for "justice".

And yet, despite this, his office remains on auto pilot.

"The Prime Minister has brought up Pollard's case several times in discussions with the U.S. government..."

When "several times"?

When the appeal was on "humanitarian grounds".

How do we know this?

"Consecutive Israeli governments over more than two decades, including the current one, have raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard's release with the American authorities for humanitarian reasons, and that is our obligation," is what a senior member of the PM's team told Gil Hoffman of The Jerusalem Post back on 13 October.

"Humanitarian reasons."


Yes, Mr. Netanyahu has a lot on his plate.

But a full plate is hardly an excuse for setting aside the pursuit of justice.

Ironically, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's reluctance to raise the issue with Washington may be seen there as a sign of weakness to be exploited.

And at this critical stage on so many fronts, the last thing that we need is for the Obama team to consider our prime minister to be lacking in fortitude and determination.