Jonathan Pollard is no hero

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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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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

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, he 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. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com