What about Pollard, Mr. President?

American Hypocrisy: Israel releases prisoners - yes, Pollard - no (original Hebrew title)

Ben Caspit - The Jerusalem Post - July 23, 2013

Morality, American style: Obama and Kerry want us to free Palestinian murderers, even while denying Jonathan Pollard his freedom

The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and according to double standards. Such an occasion arose once again on Monday when Udi Segal of Channel 2 TV announced that the US had rejected Netanyahu's proposal that Jonathan Pollard also be released when Israel releases dozens of murderers who had been sentenced to life in prison.

The Americans are so savvy - but at our expense. They have no problem asking Israel to release savages who've slaughtered innocent civilians. This was a no-brainer for them. They urge Israel to make "gestures" toward Abu Mazen, to promote peace, to strengthen the moderates, to help calm things down and to urge the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

Everything is just fine and dandy. But then, when in return we ask for one basic humanitarian gesture - for Pollard to be released - the Americans are horrified. "We should release.Pollard? What are you talking about? Where did this come from?" Did Pollard kill someone? No. Was he responsible for someone's death? Absolutely not (despite the fact that they did try to pin this on him too).

Pollard passed on classified information to Israel. This offense usually comes with a relatively light sentence, and many people indicted for this in the US were sent home after serving just a few years.

Did the US court system let Pollard off the hook so easily? No. He's been sitting in jail for almost 30 years. Pollard has spent most of his life in prison. He has been deprived of a family and was not allowed to attend the funerals of his mother or his father.

I understand, my dear Americans, that you need to prove a point, to set a precedent for other American Jews who also feel a twinge of dual loyalty. But I think we got the point a long time ago. And now it is time for you to go back to being civilized and to make amends for your vindictiveness and recklessness by releasing Pollard.

It must be said - to Binyamin Netanyahu's credit - that of all of Israel's leaders, he has been the only to consistently fight for Pollard's release (not that it's done us or him any good.) At the Wye Plantation conference, President Bill Clinton promised Netanyahu that Pollard would be freed, but reneged on his promise at the last minute (due to pressure from the CIA.) Netanyahu tried again with George W. Bush and Barack Obama - and now once again with the latter.

But when it comes to its own prisoners, the US is much less flexible. When it concerns prisoners sitting in Israeli jails who've murdered innocent citizens and who still swear every morning to continue to fight until Israel is completely destroyed, they are flexible. Israel is expected to release these prisoners, many of whom will go on to carry out more terrorist attacks, while the Americans continue with their own style of cruelty by keeping Pollard locked up. This is the morality lesson, American style.

Translated by Hannah Hochner