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April 26, 1996 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-04-26

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

MYRON UNRAN

JOHN PINEDA

Pollard People

Jacob
Seidenberg
and Margot
Michelman:
Fixated on
the case.

D ETR O IT J EW ISH NE WS

dozens of volunteers inti-
mately; she often stays at
their homes as she lobbies
around the country.
"They know the name of
my dog; I know the name of their cat,"
Carol said. "I have a gift for remember-
ing people's idiosyncracies. I like to get
personal."
Carol's personal style deeply touched
Boca Raton resident Margot Michelman,
who has since become Florida coordina-
tor for the Pollard movement. She in-
vited Carol to visit Florida in 1989 after
hearing about her brother at a Jewish
federation meeting.
The two women discovered that Ms.
Michelman's uncle and Carol's mother
went to their senior prom together in
Pittsfield, Mass. The bond was instant.
"Carol needed people in every state,"
Ms. Michelman said. "I wasn't going to
let her down."
Since that meeting, Ms. Michelman,
a speech pathologist and real estate bro-
ker, has become the information cen-
= ter for the movement's South Florida
wing. She distributes data from Carol
Pollard to dozens of Florida supporters,
spending 10 to 15 hours a week reading,

50

faxing, filing and phoning legal updates,
news clippings and fact sheets. She said
her Pollard-related phone calls total
about $150 a month.
Ms. Michelman also brings hundreds
of Pollard leaflets to South Florida Jew-
ish events and calls talk-radio shows
about Jewish issues regularly under a
pseudonym.
"I was self-absorbed growing up, and
the Pollard case has brought out a facet
of my personality that had to develop,"
Ms. Michelman said. "I've become much
more outspoken and cynical about gov-
ernment. Jonathan Pollard is taking a
bum rap because he's a Jew."
Many Pollard supporters have grown
increasingly suspicious of government
and organized American Jewry as their
involvement has increased in the case.
For many, their commitment has
reached the point that they have little
time or interest in any other cause.
With amazing consistency and pas-
sion, they justify Pollard's actions, al-
though they concede Pollard violated the
law. A sampling of their quotations dur-
ing recent interviews:
Roberta Dzubow of Philadelphia: "By
breaking the law, Pollard upheld the law

of the United States. It's such a paradox,
and such an injustice."
Sidney Klein of Lake Worth: 'The man
did not commit such a serious crime. He
did not give information to an enemy."
Aaron Swirski of Oak Park, Mich.:
"For me, it's unbelievable every single
American isn't involved in this. There
are instances when your moral views are
such that you just can't go along."
Robert Rosichan of Miami Beach: "Pol-
lard technically broke the law, but he
corrected a treaty violation. It's a ques-
tion of, was he justified?"
Sy Frumkin of Beverly Hills, Calif.:
"I'm angry at the unfairness of it all, the
unfairness of the trial, that the govern-
ment prevented him from testifying. I
didn't think it could happen here."
The case also troubles observers out-
side the United States.
"If I were American, I would feel
uncomfortable because this is a prece-
dent," said Tzipi Mann, a mother of three
from Vancouver. "America is the coun-
try that liberated the concentration
camps, the country that aids Israel. It
doesn't fit my picture of American jus-
tice."
These supporters react angrily be-

Tzipi Mann:
cause the case confirms
"It doesn't fit
some of their most deeply my
picture of
held fears about life as a
American
justice."
Jew in the United States,
said Jerome Chanes, co-di-
rector for domestic concerns at the Na-
tional Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council.
"It's an unusually sensitive issue be-
cause a Jew being implicated in a nega-
tive way in the public-affairs arena is
such a unique occurrence," he said. "It
reinforces among those few Jews that
notwithstanding evidence to the con-
trary, America is still not a comfortable
place to be a Jew."
But some Pollard supporters react
with minimal emotion, taking a more in-
tellectual and detached view.
"Jonathan Pollard is not a sympa-
thetic figure," said Steve Berman, a com-
mercial real estate developer from
Atlanta who has worked to assemble
support in his state. "He betrayed the
United States and unwittingly endan-
gered the American Jewish community.
But sometimes causes aren't picture-per-
fect. I was shocked at how the American
Jewish community rejected him."
Mr. Berman sees his work for Pollard

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