IMRA Weekly Commentary: Ambassador Shapiro Insults Israel

Dr. Aaron Lerner - February 26, 2014

It is the hallmark of American officials that when they talk that they typically string together a collection of well-honed phrases that have been vetted.

So when US Ambassador Dan Shapiro repeatedly explains that the reason Jonathan Pollard is rotting in an American prison because President Obama is following the law he isn't pitching his own off-the-cuff response. He is expressing an argument cleared at the very highest level.

And that's profoundly disturbing.

Because, as the MKs who confronted Ambassador Shapiro yesterday noted, his explanation goes far beyond being a lie.

It's a lie because the very law that President Obama swore to uphold provides him with the power to send Pollard home to Israel with literally the stroke of his pen.

Again: Mr. Obama can "follow the law" and free Pollard this minute.

But it's not just the lie that is disturbing.

After all, Ambassador Shapiro is well aware of the powers of the president. His second well-honed phrase explains that President Obama, as a matter of policy, has pardoned considerably fewer people than previous presidents.

But this vetted talking point is even more insulting to Israelis than the lie about the law.

It is insulting because it asserts that President Obama's distaste for pardoning Jonathan Pollard is somehow more legitimate than our disgust over releasing terrorist murderers.

The very idea that the White House has apparently vetted this argument speaks volumes of a serious problem in our relationship.

A problem that can only be truly addressed by sending Jonathan Pollard home.

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