Monday, July 16, 2012

Pollard and Parole

With all the angst over Jonathan Pollard’s long incarceration I wonder why it is that he has never asked for parole.  According to an article in Arutz Sheva (re-posted at Joseph deGenova (who was  the prosecutor in that case and personally opposes his release) said if he does that and supporters like former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger and former CIA director, James Woolsey testify at his parole hearings, that would auger very well for his prospects.

He could have applied for a parole hearing as early as 10 years after he began serving his sentence – and yet he never did?  What has he gained by not doing so, other than over 15 additional years in prison – and still counting?

There has been a worldwide attempt, mostly by the Orthodox Jewish community to gain a pardon, clemency, or commutation of sentence for Pollard. Wouldn’t parole serve virtually the same purpose – to get him released from prison? Why are we spending so much effort and political capital if he could do it all by himself?

There is something very funny about this case. And I don’t mean funny - 'ha ha'.


  1. I think that for a long time, they were refusing to even ask for a commutation, and only campaigned for a full pardon. See my post on this from 2010:

    1. The question is... Why? I know a pardon would have been nicer. but that was not likely. He has gained nothing by insisting on it.

    2. I think the real reason is that in order to get a commutation he would have to admit he did something wrong and admit remorse. Pollard (or at least his fan club) would like to pain him and a hero and not someone who commited a very serious felony

    3. What a terrible waste of a life!

  2. Anyone interested in the Pollard case should read this long article by Edwin Black published in the Forward on June 28, 2002.

    Pollard knowingly broke the law and admitted it, he had competent counsel, and he received due process of law. Commutation of sentence on humanitarian grounds is one thing, but capitulation (or the appearance of it) to claims that his sentence was a miscarriage of justice or discriminatory is something else entirely.

    Although some claim that "dual loyalty" is an antisemitic canard, it is a genuine problem. Pollard and some of his supporters seem to believe that, as a Jew, he was justified in revealing to Israel information concerning Israel's security that the US government had chosen to withhold. I don't know the halakhah, but I believe there is Jewish justification for violating one's legal duties to a non-Jewish government in order to save fellow Jews. On the other side, American Jews (and non-Jews, like Caspar Weinberger, who might be taken for Jews) fear that if Jews who allow their "Jewish conscience" to override their obligations to their country are not severely punished, Jews will not be trusted in positions of public responsibility.

    The truth, as usual, probably does not fit neatly into one box. It may be that to squelch "dual loyalty" concerns some had an incentive to "throw the book" at Pollard. On the other hand, as the Black article recounts, Pollard asked to have the book thrown at him. Furthermore, Pollard was not exactly a poster-child for selfless ahavat Yisrael, as he took money for his betrayal.

    Although it would have been unrealistic to expect Israel to have refused the proffered information, it might have recognized the downside of accepting it. Israeli politicians, including PM Netanyahu, have appeared oddly politically tone-deaf regarding the impact on American public opinion of their asking for the release of an American Jew who betrayed his oath to America for the sake of Israel.

    Because relatively few Jews are convicted of serious crimes, probably few Jews other than those directly involved with the criminal justice system understand how harsh American criminal penalties can be, and how many offenders are condemned to life in prison for offenses that would not appear to warrant such punishment. Unlike many if not most non-Jews serving life sentences, Pollard received excellent legal representation and his actual guilt was beyond question. Pressure from the Jewish community on his behalf reinforces the opinion of non-Jews that Jews care about "their own" rather than justice for all.

    So if Pollard admits not only guilt but shame for having violated his oath to his country, by all means let him out. It's been enough punishment. If he insists on walking out with his head held high, as a "martyr" for the Jewish people or a victim of anti-semitism, it hasn't been enough, and he can stay in prison.

  3. The Black article is still the best summary of the history of this case; it is ten years old but little has changed during that time.

    I have been bringing up the issue of Pollard's non-application for parole for years. There has never been a satisfactory explanation.

    In any case, he is scheduled for automatic parole on November 21, 2015 -- thirty years after his arrest.

  4. Please see
    Why Pollard Doesn't Apply for Parole

  5. Alamanderer says
    Many of my posts have been misunderstood.

  6. alamanderer
    Since I cant get on to your main site AT All even with being moderated I will say it here.
    Almost all my posts about chabad have been misunderstood.
    I was not referring to Dayan Raskin but to the rov of Chigwell as another poster pointed out.

  7. alamanderer
    I never mentioned YU were am haarazim. Which most likely upset you the most. I never even mentioned YU at all.
    I was about to ask the united synagogue gabai about his mikva policy which is non existent. What is the use of all their learning if they dont have hardly any mikvaot for the whole of London. The present CR and his wife have done nothing about it unlike the previous one.
    Read my other link about that the CR never speaks in the house of Lords and his opinion of him.
    I am sure that some talmidai chachomim come out of chabad. But their main objective is to create shluchim and not to create talmidai chachomim. Shluchim bring in money.
    You are following R Slifkin by not allowing chareidi posters. For the same reason.
    Your posters feel guilty and have never been able to answer me so they prefer to have me banned.
    I challenge you to put me to the vote.

  8. Alamandarer
    In a sense you are doing that already, by counting how many 'likes' you get for banning me.
    So I guess the best thing is for me to post here and if you like my post to transfer it to your other site or ban me here as well.
    Most of my posts do get a lot of replies and debate. The main problem is that many of your posters most likely BTs have really no idea of yidishkeit at all. I never blame them and its good that they can come on here and find out more about it which they wont be able to do without my posts. They also most likely have never met anyone chareidi before and only know what they read on FM. No wonder all my posts sound so bizarre to them. And the ones who are a bit orthodox cant take it that I dont accept them. It's your blog and as you rightly say I am your only RW chareidi poster and your blog will be very 'dull' without one.

  9. Ilford is near Chigwell where there was indeed a major embarassment surrounding the Chabad Rabbi. To extrapoloate from this incident to all Chabad Rabbi is surely absurd and slanderous. (Are there not scoundrels and criminals from all sectors of the community?)
    For major embarrassment read 'aishes ish'. Can it get worse than that, or would you also only consider it to be only an 'embarrassment' with the prefix major.
    My point was that this 'incident' was from someone a rabbi of the main chabad older families from Russia. True lubavich chasidim.
    The reason it happened in their head office is because of the intermingling of the sexes there, calling by first names, which is done by the whole family. I must stress the younger members who learnt in the chabad yeshivot not the older ones, under the name of chassidus. R Rapaport is also from Salford where his father was dayan with the minchas yitschok for many years and not chabad.