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March 13, 1987 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-03-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 1;

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20 Friday, March 13, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

OPINION

FOR THE
STARS

Pollard And U.S. Jews:
Pulled In 2 Directions

DAVID HOLZEL

T

he embarassed silence
of American Jews has
hovered over the sad
case of Jonathan Jay Pollard
since the story first broke with
his arrest in November 1985.
Our community is well known
for its lively debates on issues
we deem of interest or crucial
to our well being, survival or
identity as Jews. Even such
ticklish affairs as the Wall
Street insider trading scandal
in which Jews like Ivan Boesky
were prominent, prompted dis-
cussion on Judaism's inherent
morality and its erosion in
capitalist America. Despite
concern over what the non-
Jewish world might think,
American Jewry utilized the
Wall Street affair to assess its
strengths and shore up its
weaknesses.
Not so with Pollard, the
former civilian Navy intelli-
gence analyst who was sen-
tenced March 4 to life in prison
for selling U.S. military secrets
to Israel. American Jewish
reaction is unfortunate,
though not surprising. For un-
like the Wall Street scandal,
the Pollard affair forces every
American Jew to examine the
very ground he walks on.
Boesky, although a Jew, was
not acting as a Jew; Pollard
was.
And so we must confront
that specter of dual loyalty,
which we deny even as we
argue that one can be a good
American and a good Zionist at
the same time. Pollard was the
test case. He pushed that equa-
tion to its logical conclusion.
He saw that America was
withholding vital information
from Israel and, although he
broke U.S. law, by aiding the
security of an American ally he
was also enhancing America's
security. For this he got a life
sentence.
Of course we cannot condone
a law breaker. But can we con-
demn a man who gives his life
for Israel? Hence the yawning
silence of American Jewry, of
the Zionists, of the Americans
for a Safe Israel. It is the si-
lence of an abyss which always
existed, between what we say
we believe, and what we are
actually prepared to do. An
abyss which grew when each of
us asked ourselves: 'Would I
have chosen Israel over
America? Would I have put my
neck on the line to guarantee
the safety of the Jewish State?"
The answer, I suspect, is "No. I
don't care about Israel that
much."
According to correspondent

David Holzel is staff writer
for The Jewish News

Wolf Blitzer, Pollard provided
Israel with more than 1,000
classified documents withheld
from Israel by the U.S. Those
documents allowed for Israel's
air strike on the PLO head-
quarters in Tunis in October
1985. He provided Israel with
intelligence on Iraqi and Sy-
rian warfareproduction
capabilities, including the lay-
out of eight Iraqi chemical war-
fare factories; on Soviet arms
shipments to Syria and other
Arab states; and on Pakistan's
program to build an atom
bomb.
"His help was clearly in-
valuable to the security of the
State of Israel," Blitzer quotes
Leon Charney, a lawyer who
briefly represented Pollard
and is close to senior Israeli of-
ficials.
ThiSls not the place to ques-
tion why the U.S. withheld this
information from Israel, nor is
it the place to discuss the Israel
government's responsibility in
this mess, or the belated reac-
tion Pollard's sentencing is
causing there.
Of course, not all the details
of the case are known. It is un-
clear just when Pollard began
to accept money from his Is-
raeli handlers, transforming
him from a volunteer to a
mercenary.
Still, if Pollard initially
acted on the dictates of his con-
science, then American Jews
have another Prisoner of Zion
to campaign for and to re-
member.
Judaism teaches, demands
justice. Pollard is guilty of a
crime and must be punished.
But our tradition also warns
that strict justice, if unre-
strained, is a source of evil and
destruction. Strict justice has
been meted out to Jonathan
Jay Pollard. His judge evi-
dently forgot the quality of
mercy, without which the
world cannot survive.
Now that justice has been
assured, American Jewry must
see to it that mercy is served as
well. Pollard acted on behalf of
a friend of America, not an
enemy, such as the Soviet
Union. Nor is he the first to
pass on "secrets" because he
could not stand by, in good con-
science, and see an ally
threatened because of govern-
ment policy.
We must work for the release
of Jonathan Jay Pollard and
his wife, Ann Henderson-
Pollard, who was sentenced to
two concurrent five-year
prison terms for her role in the
case. We must push for the Pol-
lards' deportation to Israel.
Aliyah was Pollard's eventual
goal. Let them go there now
and live out their days there,
free from the conflicts which
plague American Jews.

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