Obama Administration Reportedly Near Deal To Free Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard In Exchange For Israel Negotiating For Peace

200px-Jonathan_Pollard660px-flag_of_israelsvgThe Obama Administration is reportedly close to an extraordinary deal to get Israel back to the negotiations table: it is going to release Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard. One could question why Israel needs any inducement to negotiate with the Palestinians for its own peace and more importantly why the U.S. is willing to free spies to get two other governments to negotiate. Notably, for years, Israel denied that Pollard was their spy — considered by many as compounding the dishonesty of spying on your closest ally. It was not until 1999 – over ten years later — that Israel admitted to the U.S. that he was their spy and that, while the U.S. was giving (and continued to give) billions in aid to Israel, it was maintaining spies in our government. Pollard’s release is rumored to be part of a release of prisoners from Israeli prisons to jump start a new round of negotiations.


220px-Pollard_videoframePollard was recruited by Israeli Air Force officer Aviem Sella, who was ordered to develop him as a spy by the Air Force Chief of Staff himself. The Israelis paid him $10,000 cash and expensive jewelry to betray his country. They also paid him some $1,500 per month for further espionage. He also alleged obtained information for South Africa and attempted to sell information to Pakistan. He was even tied to stealing information related to China for his wife to use in her business dealings. He was captured on videotape stealing classified information.

AlanDershowitz2In interviews that may have backfired at the sentencing, Pollard and his wife Anne publicly admitted to spying for Israel in seeking to gain support from the American Jewish community. In a 60 Minutes interview, Anne said, “I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that.” That argument has resonated with some and there has been a strong movement to free Pollard within the American Jewish community. Many argue that he agreed to a plea bargain but was given no benefit of the plea by the sentencing judge. Many have also argued for years that the sentence is unduly harsh. Alan Dershowitz has been one of the oct vocal in writing :

[E]veryone seems frightened to speak up on behalf of a convicted spy. This has been especially true of the Jewish leadership in America. The Pollards are Jewish. … The Pollards are also Zionists, who—out of a sense of misguided “racial imperative” (to quote Jonathan Pollard)—seem to place their commitment to Israeli survival over the laws of their own country. … American Jewish leaders, always sensitive to the canard of dual loyalty, are keeping a low profile in the Pollard matter. Many American Jews at the grass roots are outraged at what they perceive to be an overreaction to the Pollards’ crimes and the unusually long sentence imposed on Jonathan Pollard.

228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenFor those who see Pollard as a craven traitor, his release to get Israel to negotiate in its own interest may seem a bit curious. It would suggest that you can betray your country but still walk if you spy for a powerful ally. There remains an uncertain line on how our government treats spies and traitors. There are members of Congress who are calling for Edward Snowden to be tried as a traitor and executed or put into jail for life. They insist that by informing the public of abusive surveillance Snowden must rot in jail. Yet, there is not a peep of opposition from Congress over this release. If the act of espionage can be excused when carried out for the right country or with the right motivation, many would expect a pardon for Snowden who appears to have acted without financial payment or inducement by a foreign power.

Secretary of State John Kerry is quoted as saying “It is difficult, it is emotional, it requires huge decisions, some of them with great political difficulty … We are continuing, even now … to find the best way forward.” Of course, many would question why other criminals are not given this “get of jail” card due to their connection to Israel. We recently discussed the equally (though distinguishable case) of the Sheinbein case. The trade of Pollard for Peace raises the question whether Aldrich Ames or Jim Nicholson should now be traded to get Russia to the negotiating table with the Ukraine.

220px-Bradley_Manning_US_ArmyAn act of clemency based on some mistake or injustice in the sentencing would be understandable, including a decision that espionage sentences should be shorter. (Indeed, for Pollard advocates it would have been far better to argue those points than to tie the release to the peace talks. That nexus might play well in Israel but not quite as well in the U.S.) However, the sell the release as an exchange for — or facilitating — negotiations is difficult to square with other cases. Indeed, it goes against the trend of cases brought by the Justice Department which now invariably pushes for the equivalent of life in cases in a variety of national security cases involving material support allegations against Arab defendants and others. Consider the case of Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning) who was 35 years for leaking information in the Wikileaks publications. Manning was acting in what he considered the public interest as did Snowden but there is no groundswell of sympathy in Congress.

The deal also raises serious question about the true commitment of Israel to a negotiation when it has to be induced with such a gift just to sit down at the table. Peace is in Israel’s own interest, right?

What do you think about such a quid pro quo?

Source: CNN

83 thoughts on “Obama Administration Reportedly Near Deal To Free Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard In Exchange For Israel Negotiating For Peace

  1. As a military parent I am not deceived by faux concern for my daughter and her fellow sailors and Marines. It’s pretty low to misrepresent other’s words and motivations.

  2. I thank every person in uniform I see. I must have thanked 25 Chief Petty Officers @ Petco Park on Tuesday. It was their day @ the ballpark. I bought 2 a beer.I have thanked many veterans here for their service. It’s documented. I have spoken here and elsewhere about the death of my childhood friend, Chuck Manarel, in Viet Nam. I spoke about the profound effect it had on me as a 15 year old kid. It’s documented. I have spoken here about my dear deceased cousin coming home from NAM a heroin addict. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT TO ME. My commitment is documented. What is your take on Waldo’s International Law, Annie? I’m not the issue, Waldo’s scoffing @ the death of soldiers is. Or, are you going to go w/ the morally bankrupt philosophy, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy. It only feels good for a while, Annie. Last chance, Annie. Don’t talk to me. Talk to Waldo, he’s the person mocking “patriots” and your daughter. No matter your hatred for me, talk to Waldo. He’s the military hater. It’s gut check time, Annie.

  3. Wow, it never ends. Again with the distortion and misrepresentation of other’s (Waldo being just one) comments and motivations. To reply to such commenters is beneath my contempt.

  4. Thanks. I’ve bookmarked this along w/ the abortion “flush down the toilet.” That is not uncivil so don’t whine, it’s merely a statement of fact. I have this exchange @ easy access next time you bring up the military. By the way, Waldo is all yours. Here’s something just as appalling, all these barristers here and no one would like to give Waldo a simple lesson in criminal law. Now, NO ONE has come to the defense of Waldo Justice, but their silence is tacit approval. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

  5. annie – I taught at a school where they taught both the teachers and students TM. It never took on the students but it was great for the teachers.🙂 Could I suggest that to you instead of Serenity Now?

  6. Paul, It is basic criminal law that anyone w/ even cursory knowledge knows. If someone dies as the result of a felonious act, that is homicide. If 2 guys go into a bank and one of the shitbirds get killed by a bystander or cop, the other shitbird is on the hook for homicide. All the attorneys here know this.

    • annie – I thought I would fall asleep too, but you don’t and you are very rested and relaxed when you finish. Just an offer.😉

  7. I never heard of “Serenity Now”, until commenting here on this blog. As for TM, I’d fall asleep. But thanks for the concern. I find that a cup of my favorite coffee with cream and a chocolate raspberry scone is relaxing and makes me feel quite happy.

  8. […] The Obama Administration is reportedly close to an extraordinary deal to get Israel back to the negotiations table: it is going to release Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard. One could question why Israel needs any inducement to negotiate with the Palestinians for its own peace and more importantly why the U.S. is willing to free spies to get two other governments to negotiate. Notably, for years, Israel denied that Pollard was their spy — considered by many as compounding the dishonesty of spying on your closest ally. It was not until 1999 – over ten years later — that Israel admitted …read more […]

  9. Free Pollard 5 minutes after kicking the chair out from under him.
    America, throw off the YOKE of Israel.
    America is like MASTER-BLASTER in “Thunderdome”. The dwarf Israel controlling the retarded giant:
    “christian-zionism” is today’s JUDAS ISCARIOT .
    America & Christians have been YOKED by those who crucified Our Lord.
    In the bible the Jews BRAG about how they parasitically controlled Egypt AND Babylon. The bible clearly tells how Abraham twice “pimped” his own wife for monetary gain from Kings of GOOD character. Then ignorant people say one is wrong to talk about Jews controlling things. TRY READING THE BIBLE, the jews BRAG about it, insinuating themselves into positions of power is part of their culture.
    The Jews want to rebuild their “temple” so they can return to ANIMAL/BLOOD sacrifices, where they smear the blood of the animal all over (the bible describes in detail how they should rub blood all over themselves) and burn the corpse for a “PLEASING ODOR onto “their” lord”. The first 9 chapters of Leviticus involve detailed instructions for sacrificing live animals to their god. The Jews worship a WAR god. The CRUCIFIXTION of JESUS CHRIST was the FINAL sacrifice. Or don’t any of you EVER read the Bible?
    Isreal worships a WAR god. Christians have no business supporting or associating with WAR god worshipers. The only Jews Christians should embrace are those Jews who see the LIGHT and convert. WAR god followers do not embrace PEACE.
    “Judeo-Christian” is an OXYMORON. WAR-God vs PEACE-God. The Old Testament followers worship a WAR GOD and spend their lives hating, reliving every imagined slight, and dreaming of VENGENCE ….. “NEVER FORGIVE and NEVER FORGET” …. they still go on about Egypt and Babylon after MILLENIA. New Testament followers (are supposed to) worship a loving, forgiving God, and to CLOSE the Old Testament, as it has been FULLFILLED by the Crucifixion of Jesus. If you are following the OLD Testament you ARE NOT and CANNOT be a CHRISTian.
    “ANTI-Christ” does not get any greater then to CRUCIFY HIM. There is a MYTH that attempts to shift blame for the crucifixion onto Rome but the Priests sending SAUL of TARSUS and others to HUNT His followers right after the crucifixion PROVES that that is a lie. The Priests also instigated POGROMS against the early Christians. Judaism IS the ANTI-CHRIST.
    “christian-zionism” is the modern day JUDAS ISCARIOT, attacking CHRISTianity while feigning to BE Christian. Kissing Christ on the cheek for the Temple Priests.
    Jews, even to this day, refuse to set aside 2,000 years of venomous hatred for Our Savior. Judaism is a HATE group.
    “Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is the spirit of Antichrist. He is the spirit of Antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.” — (I John 2:22; 4:3)

    “My opinion of Christian Zionists? They’re scum. But don’t tell them that. We need all the useful idiots we can get right now.” — Benyamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister
    “Once we squeeze all we can out of the United States, it can dry up and blow away.” — A comment made by Benjamin Netanyahu to Jonathan Pollard (convicted traitor and spy) upon exiting Pollard’s jail cell.
    On the day of the 9-11 attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attacks would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: “It’s very good…….Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)”

  10. Annie,

    During the course if a crime… Regardless if it’s a felony or misdemeanor…. A person is killed….. It’s called felony murder….. If I recall some states are divided whether it pertains to one of the perpetrators…. I think I’m correct…. Remember serenity now….

  11. How soon after we start releasing traitors, will we sart rewarding them?
    If we don’t already have special metal for them , we should get one made quick.

  12. To all folks on here who commented. Note my earlier remarks about the only socially acceptable form of bigotry, and see the comment just left.
    Where are the outraged replies?
    Had those comments been made about any other group, I can assure the responses would have been present.

    To reiterate to ALL to the point of Prof. Turley’s post.
    The Pollard offer had NOTHING TO DO with getting Israel to keep talking.

    The very idea that it is Israel that needs inducement is a lie, and it is my belief that it comes from what is known as the modern antisemitism, anti Israel sentiment.

    It is the Arabs who have refused to continue talking, and worse, made not a single concession, not even simply saying “We recognize that you are a country”.

    The Pollard offer was a way to try and get the Israelis, specifically the Netanyahu government to NOT BE THROWN OUT by releasing more Arab murderers of Israeli citizens.

    Next, Pollard was convicted of relatively minor (if one can describe ANY espionage as minor) espionage crimes.

    There was a plea bargain in place.

    Warren Christopher wrote a last minute affadavit to the judge which has remained secret, but whose contents were leaked by various aides of his, which was so violently antisemitic and condemnatory of Pollard, Israel, and Jewish Americans that the judge THREW OUT THE PLEA BARGAIN.

    This is in itself is exceptionally rare. That is why he is serving life.

    Since the sentencing, virtually all the CIA directors who have been asked, as well as other top officials from Secs of State, etc, have all said he should have been released years ago.

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