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January 21, 1994 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-01-21

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

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-

Setbacks
For Pollard

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

D

ecember was not a good
month for Jonathan Pol-
lard. While President
Clinton was reportedly
weighing whether he should
commute Mr. Pollard's life sen-
tence, the sky seemed to be
falling down all around the con-
victed spy:
1. Several major newspapers
around the country editorial-
ized against leniency for the
man who passed U.S. military
secrets to Israel. Among them,
the New York Times, which
called Mr. Pollard's sentence
"just" and scolded that the U.S.
government's "responsibility" is
to "put limits on its intelligence-
sharing to protect the nation's
wider interests. Individuals like
Mr. Pollard, whatever their mo-
tivation, cannot be allowed
to...take matters into their own
hands...[Leniency] would mud-
dy that lesson and perversely
encourage other spies who see
themselves as well-intentioned."
For the Times to voice such
anti-leniency sentiment may be
especially telling since media
critic Jude Wanniski has called
the paper "clearly the principal
voice of the national Democra-
tic establishment."
2. Conservative columnist
James. J. Kilpatrick demanded
that Mr. Pollard "rot" in prison:
Any clemency "will have more
to do with politics than with jus-
tice. In Pollard's case...justice
has been quite well served."
3. The New York Jewish
Week reported that Mr. Pollard
had disavowed a key section of
a letter he wrote to President
Clinton last March expressing
moral repugnance at his espi-
onage. The paper also quoted
Philip Baum, the American
Jewish Congress' assistant ex-
ecutive director, who portrayed
Pollard advocates as "terrible
people" who had called him and
other Jewish leaders "traitors
to the Jewish people."
4. The Times printed a letter
from Alan V. Stone, president
of the anti-Zionist American
Council for Judaism, who as-
serted that Mr. Pollard had
"cost our country billions of dol-
lars and possibly the lives of in-
formants...There is no basis for
claims that._ [he] is a 'political
prisoner' or was mistreated by
the judicial system."
Mr. Stone also addressed the
possibility of U.S. Jews' double-
loyalty that has been high-
lighted by the Pollard case:
"Judaism is a religion of uni-
versal values, not a nationality.
American Jews are Americans,

WPw''W110/111.11110
,

Les Aspin:
Against commutation.
no different from Americans of
other faiths. Israel, it must be
clear, is a foreign country."
5. The Times reported from
a source deep inside the Penta-
gon that defense secretary Les
Aspin recommended that the
president not commute Mr. Pol-
lard's sentence since he had
tried to slip classified informa-
tion into 14 letters from prison.
One of the few bright spots in
Mr. Pollard's crummy month
came on the Baltimore Sun and
the New York Times' op ed
pages. In the Sun, Kenneth
Lasson, a University of Balti-
more law professor, argued that
government lawyers had re-
neged on a promise not to seek
the maximum sentence for Mr.
Pollard, and that, "in contrast
to many other spies convicted
of more serious crimes, Pollard
was never accused of intending
to harm the United States. Nor
was he ever charged with trea-
son — except by former secre-
tary of defense, Casper
Weinberger. Now even Mr.
Weinberger, perhaps rendered
contrite by his own recent par-
don, says he wouldn't oppose re-
ducing Pollard's life term."
In the Times, Akiva Eldar,
Washington bureau chief of the
Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz,
proposed that President Clin-
ton commute Mr. Pollard's sen-
tence and Israel commute the
18-year term given Mordechai
Vanunu, the Israeli who gave
the British what he said were
secrets about Israel's nuclear
weapons program.
Both men, wrote Mr. Eldar,
were "naive" and believed they
were "serving a noble cause."
Mercy "would be seen every-
where as a willingness to let by-
gones be bygones in favor of
giving a timely catalyst to ef-
forts to create a new order in the
Middle East."

.

-

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