Pollard Release Seems Justified

(TIME) Dennis Ross - In every negotiation in which I participated, Jonathan Pollard was raised by Israeli prime ministers from Rabin through Netanyahu. We may view him as a spy; Israelis view him differently. He has taken on the aura of being a soldier who was left in the field, and the ethos in Israel is that soldiers are never left behind. As someone who is Jewish and who also worked in the Pentagon in the 1980s, I had no sympathy for Pollard. He stole top-secret documents; he betrayed his country and the trust put in him; he was caught and it was appropriate that he pay a price for what he had done. I felt strongly about that. At the time, I was contending with a prejudice that lingered in the national security bureaucracy that in not so subtle ways suggested that anyone who was Jewish could not work on Middle Eastern issues because they would serve Israeli as opposed to American interests - a view typically held by those who also defined U.S. and Israeli interests as being at odds. So I had good reasons for believing that Pollard should be punished. But what constitutes sufficient punishment? Whether one accepts the argument that Pollard's sentence seems more severe than that handed out to other spies, it surely makes little sense to say that someone who has spent nearly 30 years in jail has not paid a severe price. The writer, a fellow and counselor at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served under presidents George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama.

2014-04-02 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive