Knesset speaker blasts US hypocrisy for refusing to release Pollard

December 22, 2013

America has been spying on Israel. So why the big deal about Pollard? let him go…

(Carl) Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, a former prisoner of conscience in the Soviet Union, has blasted the United States government for its hypocrisy in refusing to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. 

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.


Yacimovich 1st woman since Golda to lead Labor party

September 22, 2011
Peretz – Yacimovich’s former mentor – defeated by nine percent in run-off race for party’s chairmanship; Yacimovich’s election comes after contentious election rife with personal attacks.

The Labor party elected its first female leader since Golda Meir on Wednesday when MK Shelly Yacimovich bested her former mentor, MK Amir Peretz, in a run-off race for the party’s chairmanship.

Yacimovich was expected to give a victory speech at the party’s headquarters at Beit Berl Teachers’ College in Kfar Saba, in which she would call upon Peretz to remain in the party and lead it together with her. She explained that a number of party members had called to congratulate her, including Peretz, MK Isaac Herzog and Amram Mitzna.

“We’ve won,” she told supporters at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on hearing news of the victory. “I promise that we will work together to bring about change. This is just the beginning of a new start for Israeli society.”

Yacimovich won handily by nine percentage points over Peretz. Although not all the votes were tallied, not enough ballots remained for Peretz to make up the differences.

Yacimovich’s victory came after a contentious election which saw the candidates launching personal attacks and claims of impropriety against one another.

On Wednesday, election observers representing Peretz refused to remain at four polling stations while votes were counted, but Labor’s election committee did not disqualify the votes there.

Late Wednesday morning, a Peretz supporter named Dov Shemesh was punched by a Yacimovich supporter outside her headquarters and had to be hospitalized. Yacimovich was present and video of the incident indicates that she must have seen it, but she said she was unaware of what happened, because she was giving interviews. Yacimovich called Shemesh and condemned the incident, but when she said she didn’t see it, he called her a liar.

Peretz said Shemesh “had no connection to violence,” and was “truly the salt of the earth.” He called on all Labor Party members to prevent further violence. “The day after the election,” he said, “we’ll need to unify against the Likud.”

Yacimovich filed complaints with the Labor elections committee against a Peretz organizer who she said set up a table inside a Haifa polling station, and against Peretz’s sister and brother-in-law, Flora and Sammy Shoshan, for allegedly threatening voters at a polling station in Mitzpe Ramon, where Flora Shoshan is mayor.

Earlier, Yacimovich complained that polls at several Kibbutzim and large cities were prevented from opening on time Wednesday morning due to the delayed arrival of Peretz’s election observers. She noted that Peretz’s observers only came late to polling stations in sectors where she had an advantage.

Neutral observers urged Peretz and Yacimovich to do everything possible to keep the party united following the primary. MK Isaac Herzog, who finished a strong third in the first round of voting last Monday said he was concerned that Labor could split again as it did when Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four allies left the party on January 17.

“The party is not the personal property of anyone,” said former Labor candidate Erel Margalit, who like Herzog did not endorse anyone in the run-off race. “We all must unite behind our leader. From today, there are no adversaries in this house.”
(h/t Docs Talk)
GIL HOFFMAN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
09/22/2011