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Jontahan Pollard is no hero
By Ray Hanania — He was an American Navy analyst who sold American government and military secrets for personal gain and profit. The information he collected and used to obtain vacations, cash, and jewelry placed the lives of thousands of Americans serving overseas and in the defense of the United States in jeopardy. No one knows how many Americans may have lost their lives because of what Jonathan Pollard did. But, unlike other spies, Pollard was not selling the secrets to an enemy. He was selling it to a so-called friend, Israel.
And because of that fact, Pollard is held up above all of the other traitors and scoundrels who have stabbed this nation in the back, portrayed as a victim of double-standards and now as the hope for peace in the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has urged President Barack Obama to release Pollard from prison, where he has sat since his conviction in 1986. Netanyahu believes that Pollard’s release can give him the will to do the right thing and extend a freeze on settlements.
It is amazing how the simple notion of not expanding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories would be difficult to do in exchange for peace. Taking land, clearly, is more important than achieving peace to Netanyahu and many Israelis, pulling off the veil of claims that Israel’s government is dedicated to peace.
Neither is it any different in the United States where once again members of the U.S. Congress are trying to use support for Israel to counter their domestic election troubles. Democrats are facing a tough re-election because of their weak-kneed support for measures proposed by President Obama to give all Americans healthcare.
Never mind that Israel has a far better government sponsored healthcare plan for all Jews in the country than the United States offers to its own citizens.
Four Congressional Democrats are circulating a letter for signatures from other members of congress urging Obama to release Pollard. The letter will be presented in mid-October, two weeks before Americans will flock to the election polls and cast their ballots.
It’s amazing how low politicians will go to get a vote.
Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said that releasing Pollard would demonstrate “the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people.”
Never mind that American taxpayers, who are strapped by one of the nation’s worst economic crisis, have been giving Israel many billions of dollars every year to help that country deal with its own economic challenges, making it easier for Israelis to enjoy their lives while millions of Americans are left on the street without jobs, healthcare or even food.
It just goes to show you that politics is more important than the needs of the American people.
Jonathan Pollard acted in collusion with his wife to grab whatever secret documents they could steal and sell them to the highest bidder. Later they would pretend that what they did was to protect the Jewish people, but the bulk of the data they stole had to do with espionage and American communication’s secrets around the world and not involving the Middle East.
When caught, Pollard made the decision to plead guilty in an effort to protect his wife and reduce her punishment. Anne Pollard was convicted and sentenced to only five years in prison because of that plea deal – she was released early because of Pollard’s plea. She could have been sentenced along with her husband to life in prison, or worse. Some spies during wartime conflict have been shot.
After the passage of more than 24 years, Pollard and his wife have transformed their treachery into a phony campaign claiming they did it for Israel, something that goes over very well in Israel, especially among the far right. They don’t care about the United States.
And nearly quarter century later, it is almost believable that their goal was to protect Israel, until one revisits the sordid tales of Pollard’s actions. Money for a lavish lifestyle. Jewels and diamonds and rubies for his wife. Vacations and luxury resort trips.
Their goal was greed and their claims of championing Israel are another phony self-serving ruse. The Pollards are about themselves.
And American congressmen who stand up now and call for Pollard’s release are also only thinking about themselves, and the benefits that defending a treacherous spy might bring to help them at their own time of election need.
(Ray Hanania is a columnist with Creators Syndicate and a Chicago Radio Talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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