America has been spying on Israel. So why the big deal about Pollard? let him go…
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud Beytenu) assailed Washington for “hypocrisy,” saying that “this is a severe case and I hope this is the iceberg rather than the tip of the iceberg. Otherwise, this case is liable to do damage to our relations with the US.”
“For 28 years, the US administration has been preaching to Israel about the danger and the lack of trust that results from spying on allies and today it turns out the shoe is on the other foot,” the speaker said. “There is no other way to characterize it other than hypocrisy.”
Edelstein wasn’t the only senior Israeli politician to take a swipe at the United States.
“The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said on Sunday. “The US is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?”“Pollard was arrested for much less,” Katz said. “I plan on proposing in today’s cabinet meeting that Israel demand an American statement vowing to put an end to the surveillance and to immediately release Pollard in light of the most recent revelations.”
Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, who heads the parliamentary lobby devoted to advancing the cause of Pollard’s release, said on Sunday that “the most recent revelations about spying and surveillance by the US against its ally needs to light a red light of morality for any logical person.”
“There needs to be reciprocity in any relationship between countries,” Shaked said. “It is inconceivable that while Pollard has been rotting in an American prison for decades for spying, which was considered an unforgivable crime by the American government, we are now informed that the US has been spying against Israel, and this is just swept under the rug.”
And it wasn’t just coalition MK’s who spoke out.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog told Israel Radio that he hopes Snowden’s revelations will lead to new thinking by the Israeli government about how to bring about Pollard’s release in an effective manner.
“There needs to be new thinking because the time has come,” Herzog said.
Labor MK Nachman Shai, who heads the Knesset Caucus on US-Israel Relations, called for a special meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to discuss the American espionage.
He said that Israel has not spied on the US since Pollard was caught in 1985.
“The silence of Israeli officials following these reports is disappointing and shameful,” Shai said.
“We cannot let such revelations pass quietly. Like Germany and Brazil, we should ask the US for clarification, or at least confirmation that such spying has stopped.”
And in case you’ve forgotten why Pollard’s sentence is so ridiculous:
Pollard has already spent 28 years of the life sentence in a federal prison for passing classified information to an ally. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense, whose median time served is two to four years. It’s time to free Pollard.