Now, after completing virtually his entire 30 year sentence, convicted spy Jonathan Pollard is expected to be released from prison. With his parole, there will be a collective sigh of relief from both the U.S. and the Israeli camps.
For far too long, Pollard’s continued incarceration has been a lightning rod for American Jews and Israelis, many of whom have claimed that his sentence was unnecessarily harsh, owing perhaps, to anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic antagonism.
On the other hand, there are many in the U.S. who strongly believe that American citizens who spy for other nations are traitors deserving of extreme punishment. It makes no difference whether the nation or which they spied is friend or foe.
So let’s be clear about a few matters:
Jonathan Pollard will not be released as any part of the Iran deal. His sentence simply will have been served. It is neither political nor compassionate.
Through the American justice system, Jonathan Pollard was found guilty of gross disloyalty to the country to which he owed his allegiance. He did become an Israeli citizen while in prison. To the best of my knowledge, he has not renounced his U.S. citizenship.
Jonathan Pollard, despite his purported sympathy for Israel, committed espionage for financial gain including monthly cash payments, jewelry for his wife, and expensive vacations. There was nothing noble about what he did.
Furthermore, nobody pressured him to be a spy. It was his choice.
The intelligence arm of Israel’s government committed a huge blunder by enlisting Pollard. His espionage has been a long-festering embarrassment to Israel and also a source of great discomfort to American Jews who are intensely loyal to our great country. Many of us thank God every single day for the countless blessings of living in this land of freedom. As much as we may love and support Israel, Pollard’s duplicity is anathema to us. He sold us out as well.
Yes, it is time for him to be paroled. However, his release is not an event to be celebrated. He should leave prison quietly and without fanfare both here and in Israel. Most definitely, he should not be received as a returning hero. Any such events would only compound the damage he has done.
Let us hope that Israel’s leaders will exercise self restraint, avoiding the appearance of welcoming home a patriot or warrior, because Jonathan Pollard clearly is neither.