(Giulio Meotti ) via (Nobel Appease Prize) I stand ashamed that my friends betrayed Pollard” Bret Stephens is one of the best columnists the Wall Street Journal has ever had. He is also one of the most brave Jewish journalists in the United States and in general. I also consider him a friend. But Stephens’ latest column, titled “Don’t free Jonathan Pollard”, left me with no words, simply speechless. I stand ashamed that even my friends forsake and slander Pollard in this way. Bret Stephens’ attack on the Israeli spy, who for a good part of that time has been held in conditions worse than those in which Gilad Schalit was held, is based on two blood libels: that Pollard was a “wacko” and that he was a “mercenary” who betrayed the United States for money. Stephens also implies that Pollard’s character, not his deeds, are on trial. It is very hard to understand why so many US Jews work on themselves to hate Jonathan Pollard. The French essayst René Girard used to call it “the scapeagot”. Pollard reminds one of the Chinese dissidente who, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, were publicly indicted with a sign calling them “traitor”. Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker has been putting forward the idea that Pollard was a“cocaine addict” and an “alcoholic”, deep in debt and that is why he succumbed to the Israeli offer of money for passing along secret documents (I happen to know real drug-addicted journalists who don’t deserve to sit in the same jail as Jonathan Pollard). Bret Stephens embraced this version, while the truth is somewhere else entirely: Pollard sought out the Israelis and volunteered to give, not sell, secrets to Israel about nuclear, chemical and biological weapons under construction by Iraq and other Arab states for use against the Jewish people. Pollard worked for six months without receiving any payment from the Israelis, and never did ask for any money in exchange for his services. The lies against Pollard have been purposely disseminated to undermine his credibility, to demonize him, to defame him, as a witness to the undeclared Intelligence embargo instituted against Israel by Caspar Weinberger. Otherwise, Bret, how can you explain that Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin approved Pollard’s work? Pollard’s ideological bona fides have been proven many times. Even the sentencing judge, Aubrey Robinson, acknowledged that Pollard was an ideologue and not a mercenary. And yet, in spite of this, virtually all of the most influential Jewish voices in America remain silent. How long is the list of respected writers, opinion makers and journalists who routinely have a great deal to say about Jewish issues, but nothing about Jonathan Pollard, or worse, ask Barack Obama not to grant him clemency? It would be easier to list those who fought and wrote for Pollard’s liberation. They are very few. Incredibly, the Jewish spokesmen claim to be “pro-Israel”, but their actions and words betray their claim. Pollard is the latest of a long list of Jews and their helpers betrayed by the so called “Jewish establishment”, including the ghetto fighters, Yair Stern, the lost Yemenite children, the Lebanese Christians, Gush Katif’s pioneers. For years, only brave Arutz Sheva fought for the safety and liberation of Jonathan Pollard, while the Israeli media establishment demolished any chance of his liberation. Jonathan was put away for life not because he endangered the US, but because he irritated US Arab allies who felt that Israel had been too much strengthened; and second, because he made Israel impervious to American pressure. What Pollard endangered was the US administration’s pro-Arab political agenda, not the intelligence community. The recently released CIA documents clearly show that Pollard focused on “Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab weaponry, including chemical weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defences; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; and Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness”. Pollard passed Israel photos of the PLO headquarters in Tunis, secret information about Libya’s air defenses, Syrian chemical weapons, Egyptian ballistic missile capabilities, and the Pakistani atomic program. Is that a crime worthy of a life sentence, Bret? Not being allowed to attend your father’s funeral? Pollard obtained the most exact U.S.-gathered information about Iraqi chemical warfare capabilities, including satellite pictures and maps showing the location of factories and storage facilities. The United States did not want to make such specific information available to Israel, fearing a preemptive strike. Why did Israel stockpile several million gas masks for the protection of the entire population in 1991 and 2003? Because of Pollard. And the United States, which didn’t bomb Auschwitz, is now letting Pollard die in jail. “It would have been an outright betrayal of my heritage, my personal integrity and an entire family lost in the ovens of the Holocaust if I had simply taken the safe route and closed my eyes to what had to be done”, once declared Pollard. Is this the “wacko Jew” whom many wealthy, “in” US Jews desperately want to keep behind bars? I stand ashamed that even my friends betrayed Pollard, who should be not only freed but also rehabilitated as a savior of the Israeli people. If they don’t consider his liberation a cause worth of fighting for, it means that all the rambling speeches of these Jewish commentators, with their expensive houses in Chevy Chase and on Park Avenue, are good for nothing but wrapping fish in the market .
Or maybe it’s time to realize that Israel is on its own...
Wall Street Journal..
03 September ’12..
Maybe Martin Dempsey chose his words poorly.
Maybe the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t mean to imply Israel would be committing a crime when he told reporters last week that the U.S. would not be “complicit” with an Israeli attack on Iran. Maybe he hadn’t yet read the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, noting that Iran continued to enrich, continued to obstruct, continued to deceive. Maybe Gen. Dempsey wasn’t speaking for the president at all, just offering opinions above his pay grade.
Or maybe he was speaking directly for a president who, politics being what they are, can’t yet say such things himself.
Maybe it isn’t true, as the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported yesterday, that the U.S. has told Iran via European channels that it would not back an Israeli strike provided Iran did not retaliate against U.S. assets in the Persian Gulf. Maybe it’s a slur to suggest this administration would ever broach, much less cut, a deal with Tehran at the expense of Jerusalem.
Or maybe it would cut that deal in a heartbeat.
Maybe it’s no big deal that the U.S. is walking away from a joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise scheduled for October and cited last year by the State Department as evidence of the “new heights” to which Mr. Obama had carried America’s “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Maybe “slashing by more than two-thirds the number of American troops going to Israel and reducing both the number and potency of missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise,” as Time magazine reports, was merely the result of ordinary budgetary pressures.
Or maybe that’s another piece of Gen. Dempsey’s non-complicity policy.
Maybe the president is serious when he says he will prevent Iran from getting a bomb in the first place, rather than try to contain a nuclear Iran after the fact. Maybe the elaborate antimissile systems the U.S. is racing to set up in the region—so that, according to the New York Times, “even if [Iran] developed a nuclear weapon and mounted it atop its growing fleet of missiles, it could be countered by antimissile systems”—is not about containment at all.
Or maybe the administration thinks containment is a viable option after all, or at least a better one than military strikes, which is why it’s now spending its money on it.
Maybe the administration thinks that it can pursue an effective covert strategy against Iran while also telling the media that it is pursuing such a strategy. Maybe someone forgot to tell whoever is leaking the details of this strategy that “covert” is another word for “secret.”
Or maybe the Obama administration is happy to brag about its covert accomplishments, even when the bragging betrays Israel’s secrets as well.
Maybe the administration knows that diplomacy has run its course with a regime that has rejected one overture after another.
Or maybe the administration really thinks it can still tempt the mullahs with a grand bargain in which they give up their nukes in exchange for a U.S. embassy in Tehran (they loved the last one) along with spare parts for their airplanes.
Maybe President Obama is, as some senior Israeli decision makers claim, a sincere and fabulous friend of Israel.
Or maybe such statements are simply a matter of being polite about an administration that knows it has a problem with disenchanted Jewish voters and distrustful donors.
Maybe Mr. Obama has privately offered Israel realistic assurances that the U.S. is prepared to use force to stop Iran as soon as the election is behind him. Maybe the near-hysteria that has gripped the Israeli government is an ingenious head fake designed to make the Iranians think they can exploit the discord between the two Satans.
Or maybe the only head fake is the president’s attempt to woo skeptical voters that he really has Israel’s back.
Maybe, dear Western reader, you think the administration is right to stay Israel’s hand—because you’d rather have the U.S. do the job cleanly, after exhausting whatever other options remain, rather than risk having Israel do the job messily. Maybe you have a fair and defensible point.
Or maybe you think that the mullahs nuclear ambitions are their own business and they’ll leave us alone if only we leave them. Maybe you’re Ron Paul.
Maybe, dear Israeli reader, you think it oughtn’t be the responsibility of a small power to confront Iran alone, especially when Iran’s threat goes well beyond Israel alone. Maybe you, too, have a fair and defensible point.
Or maybe you think that, whatever the merits of that argument, Israel will not find its security on the strength of its debating points. Maybe you think, too, that Israel puts its sovereignty and security at risk when it allows any other nation to seek a veto over its actions.
Maybe the risks of Israeli inaction—not least to its reputation and deterrent power—are greater than the risks of action, real as they surely are. Maybe it’s true that those who dare, win. Maybe it’s time to stop letting the Iranians do all the daring.
A version of this article appeared September 4, 2012, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Maybe Obama Has Israel’s Back.