Jonathan Pollard’s appeal rejected under Trump administration
U.S. Court rejection of appeal to ease Jonathan Pollard’s harsh parole conditions underscores the contradictory nature of the Presidential trip to Israel.
It was a cold and dark night in Jerusalem, at a rally for Jonathan Pollard’s freedom, occurring, most likely, during the darker days of former President Obama’s continuing the incarceration of Jonathan Pollard and the administration’s malign policies towards Israel. One of the speakers aptly remarked to the Israeli crowd. “If this is how they treat one Jew, imagine what this government would do, if it could, to an entire nation.”
Today, in the aftermath of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Manhattan, decision to accept the Department of Justice’s arguments, calling for rejection of Pollard’s appeal to alleviate his draconian parole conditions, the warning on that gloomy Jerusalem night acquires a new, present day validity. If the Trump Administration treats one Jew this way imagine what this government is capable of doing, G-d forbid, in relation to the entire country of Israel.
During the period of time President Trump, has been in office, he has demonstrated no interest in the plight of Jonathan Pollard, who, after 30 years of imprisonment, and in poor health, leads a life heavily burdened by his parole. Now, with the announcement on May 24 of the court’s decision, the Trump Administration’s status, as an integral participant in the never ending, sad saga, of the Pollard Affair ,is established. This view is corroborated by the opinion of the National Council of Young Israel executive vice president emeritus Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Pollard’s rabbi and confidant, who said, recently how the court deals with the case will speak volumes about whether or not there has been a fundamental change in Washington,since the Trump administration took office.
Sadly, but undeniably so, this casts an ominous shadow on the sunny optimism in which many in the Jewish public have viewed President Donald Trump. This is particularly so, in relation to the positive Jewish response received by the President, to his recent visit to Israel.
Rabbi Nachman teaches, “When a Jew is in captivity, the “Schinah”, the divine presence, is indeed in exile.” When one performs the ultimate ‘”Zeddakah”(righteous aid), of the redeeming of a prisoner, it is as if the” Schinah” is released from its exile.
Jonathan Pollard is in a new kind of captivity. So too, is the divine presence. He, and his wife Esther, a long time resident of Jerusalem ,are in exile. A surprise and inpromptu New York City street meeting of Israeli Television’s Channel One, a short time before last Rosh Hashanah, and the Pollard couple, revealed well, what Jonathan Pollard was enduring then, and continues to endure today. The Israeli correspondent reported that he encountered “a frightened man”, “a harassed man” under constant surveillance. When Pollard saw the television crew, “his jaw dropped”, the correspondent noted.
He must report to the local police station twice a day. His cumbersome and degrading, large electronic tracker, bound to his wrist ,was clearly noticeable. Every word to the media endangers him, his wife pointed out. Esther Pollard turned to the camera and appealed in Hebrew. “Really pray for us, so that we can come home, really soon. It is very, very difficult in exile…We want to come home.”
President Trump is, most probably, aware of Jonathan Pollard’s plight. He certainly has access to the security assessments of people like Professor Angelo Codevilla, a former Senate Intelligence Committee member. Codevilla denied that Pollard had harmed American security or,had ever been a security risk. “That is something I can be absolutely certain about. Because I know what the classification system …in U.S. intelligence allowed Jonathan Pollard to see, to have and to give…. He was after all merely an analyst, and analysts do not have access to methods and sources of intelligence.” (Light a Candle For Jonathan Too, Barouch Levy, Israel National News, December 22, 2014 )
Jewish support for the Trump Administration, particularly that part which is so enthusiastic about his recent trip to Israel, is premature. These supporters, indeed, give significant credibility to President Trump’s strident and at times, lofty expressions of commitment to Jewish welfare, like those that were recently articulated here. Surely one would think, that it is to be expected by these people, and deemed imperative, that President Trump act in Jonathan Pollard’s favor. But this is not the case and it is strangely, not viewed as incongruous or disingenuous, that while the endless Pollard Affair continues to fester in President Trump’s own jurisdictional backyard of New York City, instead of exercising his Constitutionally given power to grant clemency and bring this tragedy to a swift end, the President is off to Israel, to express his solemn concern for other crucial Jewish matters
In a politically calculated assessment, President Trump has assumed that the crass and now transparent American government-perpetrated anti-Semitism, now perpetuated by the Trump Administration, will go relatively unheeded by the American Jewish public and the Jewish world, in general. The Jews, it is assumed, do not seem particularly concerned.
This can, and must change. The parole conditions, now just recently reinstituted at the behest of the Department of Justice, serving under the Trump Administration, create a publically, palpable sense of captivity and exile, not only in regard to Jonathan Pollard, the parolee, but in relation to all Jews. This is the intention of American anti-Semites both within and without the government.
Thus, for Jews in the United States, Israel or anywhere else, to view President Donald Trump’s rhetorical cuddling of Israel and the Jews as sincere and genuine, is pure folly. Remember the words said on that bleak winter night in Jerusalem. Understand what the Trump Administration is doing to one Jewish man, today, with passive indifference, or implied approval and understand what this portends for the State of Israel and the entire Jewish People.. If this understanding is acquired, the end of the captivity and exile of the Pollards, and the redemption of the whole House of Israel, will have moved ,with G-d’s help, a great deal closer.