December 23, 2010 6:52 am at 6:52 am #593677
How come there isn’t a movement for people to call the white house to request Pollards release from his egregious, immoral imprisonment now that there is serious traction for the release efforts wiith the recent developments? The gemara states that for the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim, we even sell Sifrei Torah!December 23, 2010 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #912812
Public media clamor to release a U.S. Jewish citizen traitor who spied for Israel will never ever work.December 23, 2010 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #912813
Why is his imprisonment immoral? He is a convicted spy and a traitor to the US!
I’m all for letting him out — he has been in prison for 25 years — but his treatment was more lenient than that given the Rosenbergs.December 23, 2010 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #912814
because Pollard is a criminal, and has hurt the cause of American Jewry. He is not a hero as portrayed in the Israeli press. He committed a horrible crime, he had a fair trial and now he is serving a just sentence.December 23, 2010 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #912815
1 – his conviction wasn’t immoral, only the abusive length of his sentence, which is in no way anything remotely rexembling “just”.
2 – no one said he is a hero. Whether he is or isn’t is altogether irrelavent. The relevant issue is that he is a jew held captive and therefore hte mitzva of pidyon shivuyim is incumbent upon us.December 23, 2010 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #912816
How horrible his crime. He gave info to an Allie who should according to treaties been privy to the info regardlessDecember 23, 2010 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #912817
“he had a fair trial”
Pollard had no trial; he made a plea deal which the U.S. reneged on.December 23, 2010 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #912818
and how can you compare him to the rosenbergs? they were communist spies, etc, whereas he never had any intention of harming the US, etc. The FACTS are readily available all over the place there is no need to rehash themDecember 23, 2010 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #912820
it’s an ongoing disgrace to the american justice system that such blatant miscarriage of justice and religous discrimination can still be publicly perpetrated.December 23, 2010 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #912821
OK, present concrete actions to take, links to reliable petitions, etc. I’ll start.
Daven for Yohonosan ben Malka. Have him and all others falsely and unfairly imprisoned in mind next time you say the words Matir Assurim. (Coming up this mincha.)December 23, 2010 5:00 pm at 5:00 pm #912822
But obama would rather free the terrorists at gitmo than free an ally’s agent who did nothing whatsoever harmful to the US.
EDITEDDecember 23, 2010 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #912825
if pollard was a black he wouldve been freed a long time ago by all the black activists – it’s not a joke.December 23, 2010 5:06 pm at 5:06 pm #912826
this is a highly controversial topic. fine.
the deleted posts from both sides are piling up.
please keep this about the issues and NOT about your “assessment” of those that disagree with you.December 23, 2010 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #912827
I was told by R’ Matisyahu Salomon that if a person really did commit the crime, there is no mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim. Pollard did commit the crime.
As for his plea deal, the government did not follow it because neither did Pollard. Part of the deal was that he wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone about the case whatsoever. Shortly after, (before the sentencing,) he granted an interview. He actually violated the deal first.December 23, 2010 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #912828
why are all of the roshei yeshiva and gedolim [who have shaychos] staunchily anti-democrat? because their views are wildly anti-Torah in the extreme in may ways! I know a number of roshei yeshiva who said b’feirush to vote republican for pres, congress, and other national gov’t elections.December 23, 2010 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #912829
although to be fair, bush didn’t free pollard either, so shame on republicans too for not doning so.December 23, 2010 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #912830
<<<How horrible his crime. He gave info to an Allie who should according to treaties been privy to the info regardless>>>
He gave info to someone he THOUGHT was an ally. He had no way of knowing that his handler was an ISRAELI and not some other agent masquerading as an ISRAELI. This could have been a FALSE FLAG recruitment, where an agent of one country pretends to be an agent of another country. In that case, this act of spying could have been disastrous. The Israelis use this espionage method all the time.December 23, 2010 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #912831
Feif Un – that’s because he is then deserving of a punishment, which is the natrual consequence of commited a crime. However, that does not mean that if someone pickpockets a guy and is sentenced to 50 years in jail, well, he commited a crime, so no mitzvah!! When the punishment is grossly unproprtional to the crime, then the svara of do crime == get punished doesn’t validate the excessive, cruel, outrageous punishing of the perpetrator!!December 23, 2010 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #912832
Furthermore, the fact that pretty much all sects of judiasm came out in support of the efforts to free Pollard seems to maybe indicate that there is a BIG, HUGE mitzvah here.
ronsr – whatever pollard did or didn’t do, he has either way more than paid his pittance and then some.December 23, 2010 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #912833
What about the the Three Bocherim in Jail in Japan are guilty for smuggling drugs, should we not respect that sentence as well?December 23, 2010 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #912834
I’ll second Tzippi — daven for Yehonoson Ben Malka. In the realm of Hishtadlus, call the White House to request clemency for Jonathan Pollard as he had already served 25 years as a result of his crime — much more than any comparable conviction. The White House numbers are 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111. In general the White House keeps track of how many calls on any given topic come in. It is a good idea to call daily, and leave a brief message every day with your request. You can also email the White House via their website – just google “contact the president”. There is a website — Jonathanpollard.org which contains information regarding Pollard’s case and ideas to help.December 23, 2010 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #912835
>>>ronsr – whatever pollard did or didn’t do, he has either way more than paid his pittance and then some<<<<
dear klach – espionage is a very serious crime, which can do very wide-ranging harm to a nation’s security. In times of war, it is punishable by the death penalty. It is a necessity that a country punish and discourage this behavior.
The crime he did was not a pittance; his punishment shouldn’t be a pittance, either.
What next? Shall we redeem Bernie Madoff? He’s sentenced to 150 years!December 23, 2010 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #912836
klach: “the fact that pretty much all sects of judiasm came out in support of the efforts to free Pollard seems to maybe indicate that there is a BIG, HUGE mitzvah here.”
Is that altz “poyk chazi mai d’ama avid”?
I don’t have a feeling one way or another about this as I never spoke to my Rebbe about it. Just saying your argument is a little disingenuous.December 23, 2010 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm #912837
For those of you who feel “he got was he deserved” for committing a crime, here is a posting of other convicted spies and their sentences. Jonathan Pollard was convicted of 1 count of passing information to an ally. He is the ONLY person in this history of the US with a conviction of life for spying for an ally — the average conviction is 2 – 4 years!!! Even those convicted of spying for enemy countries generally receive significantly shorter sentences (about 15 — 20 years). This chart is an eye opener: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/sentences.htmDecember 23, 2010 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #912838
If a Muslim was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia (also a US ally), would you demand life in prison for him?December 23, 2010 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #912839
“He gave info to an Allie who should according to treaties been privy to the info regardless “
Nope. The US does not have mutual defense treaties with Israel. Furthermore, Pollard was not authorized to release such information to anyone.
“he made a plea deal which the U.S. reneged on.”
Nope. He and his ex-wife violated the terms of the plea deal by giving interviews without permssion. Prosecutors and judges are not lenient with people who violate plea agreements.
“such blatant miscarriage of justice and religous discrimination”
Nope. There is no evidence of religious discrimination here. John Walker has been in prison longer than Pollard.
“present concrete actions to take”
Have him fill out applications for parole and clemency. He has been eligible for parole for 15 years but has never applied.
“free an ally’s agent who did nothing whatsoever harmful to the US”
You do not know that. None of us know what Pollard sold to Israel, or what Israel did with the information.
“if pollard was a black he wouldve been freed a long time ago by all the black activists”
You have no evidence of that. How many African Americans have been convicted of espionage?
” bush didn’t free pollard either”
Nor did Reagan or the first Bush.
“When the punishment is grossly unproprtional to the crime”
Is it really unproportional? Walker, Ames, and Hanssen also got life sentences. Walker has been in prison longer than Pollard. And the Rosenbergs were executed after having been convicted of spying for a then-ally.
“much more than any comparable conviction”
As I showed above, this statement is a lie. Why do we have to lie?
“In times of war, it is punishable by the death penalty.”
Or not in times of war. See the Rosenbergs. Pollard got off easy compared to them.
” He is the ONLY person in this history of the US with a conviction of life for spying for an ally “
Highly disingenuous. The Rosenbergs were executed for spying for an ally. And Israel technically was not an ally but a neutral country as the US does not have a formal mutual defense treaty with it.
The poor quality of the arguments used here show why Pollard is still in prison and will likely remain so.
One more comment:
“why are all of the roshei yeshiva and gedolim [who have shaychos] staunchily anti-democrat”
First of all, this is not true; Rabbi Genack of YU is a staunch Democrat who campaigned for Sen. Clinton. There are other counterexamples.
Second, it should be pointed out that there is NO reason for Obama to release Pollard if we are going to continue the terrible vitriol against him — and other Democrats — in forums such as this.December 23, 2010 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #912840
Everyone should read the article by Edwin Black entitled, “Why Jonathan Pollard is Still in Prison”. While it was written in 2002, nothing has appeared since that would change any of the things discussed in the article. It can be found via a quick Google search.
YWN editors might want to see if they can get permission to republish it — or, even better, ask the author to update it for publication here. Lack of information, or promulgating things that aren’t factual, will not get Pollard out of prison.December 23, 2010 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #912841
1 – the bochurim in japan were unwittingly doped into smuggling drugs. Part of commiting a crime is the intent to commit one. One who is totally duped into something like those poor bochurim were is not guilty of anything except maybe stupidity; this is a good reason people should be a little more educated about certain aspects of the real world.
2 – i would have pointed out the punishments for those whose acts of expionage were far worse than pollards, but someone already did and besides, it is galuy v’yadua.
3 – what maidoff did was definitely deserving of the kind of punishment he got and is in no way related to pollards crime.
4 – tell me who didn’t support the efforts to free pollard if such valid daas Torah authorities exist.
5 – Feif Un – could you be more specific in your muslim case, like if we know he really is only working for SA and not also some terror org, etc.December 23, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #912842
*amend to #1 – intent + knowledge and awareness of the fact that you are doing something, and that that something is illegal.December 23, 2010 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #912843
dear Feif Un: your arguments are extremely sharp today!December 23, 2010 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #912844
Feif un — actually in the mid 1990’s a US Naval Commander, Lcdr. Michael Schwartz (not Jewish, despite the name!) was indicted on charges of passing classified information to Saudi Arabia. He confessed and cooperated with investigators just like Jonathan Pollard. His final punishment after the various deals (and some pressure from the Saudi government) — a dishonorable discharge from the Navy, resulting in the loss of his pension and benefits, etc. No jail time whatsoever.
Mohammad Rezo Alavi, an Iranian born naturalized US citizen who worked in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station was convicted in 2008 of bringing classified software from the nuclear plant in which he worked to IRAN (!)was convicted to 15 months in prison. The judge stated that although his actions could potential cause harm to the US, there is no evidence that harm has already occurred, and therefore he could not be tried with treason.
Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a convert to Islam was convicted in 2008 of passing military secrets to an Al-Quaida connected terror group in England, and was sentenced to 10 years. (This in the middle of the US “war on terror”)
Check out the link on my previous post for numerous other such examples, including spies for enemy countries such as Cuba, the Soviet Union, North Korea, etc.December 23, 2010 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #912845
charliehall, have you spoken to Mr. Pollard yourself ever and asked him all the facts? Have you spoken to his attorney’s?
I visited Pollard last winter, and will be going again shortly.
Your dead wrong on 99.99% of the items you say, and the person who wrote the book is dead wrong as well.
Perhaps its would pay do do some independant research, and not rely on others.December 23, 2010 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #912846
is he the grandson of the Vilna Gaon or great grandsonDecember 23, 2010 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #912848
How is it possible for him to be a grandson or a great grandson?
Do you know when the Gaon was Niftar?December 23, 2010 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #912849
articles written by monsters with an anti-semitic agenda generally tend to be a little short on the factual side. . .December 23, 2010 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #912850
i looked at the article you linked and it said grandson, which sounds like a stretch condidering the Gaon lived on the late 1700’s.December 23, 2010 7:08 pm at 7:08 pm #912851
more likey he is 6 or 7 generation.December 23, 2010 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #912852
lemaisa, why is there not a cal to arms now that there is mounting pressure and traction to free him?December 23, 2010 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #912853
Didn’t understand your question.
He’s a direct descendant. (An Einikle of the Gaon)December 23, 2010 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #912855
There is spying, and then there is spying done by a Jew on behalf of a Jewish nation. And this spying has never been matched by anyone, ever. And there is a difference of an enemy spying against an enemy (it’s expected) and a “friend” spying, which is much worse.
If and when Pollard gets out, it will cost all of us and Israel dearly.
And when are we starting our campaign for the lastest “I was duped” fellow from Israel who smuggled drugs into Spain? With all this wolf crying, what’s going to happen when it’s for real?
When are we going to learn that the world takes Jewish crime very seriously and holds us to a much higher standard than the ordinary ben nachor. There is no rachmanis. Frum crime has cost our community many $millions in “pidyon shvuyim”, money which should be going to yeshivos and our poor.December 23, 2010 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #912856
Bernie Madoff was duped by his investors!December 23, 2010 8:03 pm at 8:03 pm #912857
>>> And this spying has never been matched by anyone, ever. And there is a difference of an enemy spying against an enemy (it’s expected) and a “friend” spying, which is much worse.<<<
Pollard did not know for sure he was spying for the Israelis. His handlers said they were Israeli, but they could have been, say, Russians pretending to be Israelis.
This is the problem with “friendly nation” spying. It can be, and frequently is, used by hostile nations to dupe unwitting spies.December 23, 2010 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm #912858
Charliehall – I used the phrase “an ally” because that is the law under which he was convicted — there is a legal difference between passing information to a country considered “friendly” vs. “unfriendly” — I did not mean to imply there was any formal alliance between the two countries.
That being said, I stand by my statements “more than any comparable conviction”. Your examples of Walker, Ames, and Hansen can not be considered comparable by any rational examination of the convictions. First of all, they all spied for the Soviets during a period when the USSR was considered “unfriendly” — a huge,initial difference in the conviction. Walker let a spy ring for the Soviets for close to 30 years at the hight of the cold war — many consider it the most damaging Soviet spying in history! Although it is true that we do not know what information Pollard passed on, it is pretty inconceivable that it was to this extent — and it certainly was for nowhere near that amount of time. Additionally, Walker’s plea bargain agreed to life in prison for him, in exchange for leniency for his son, who was also involved (and who received 25 years). Ames and Hansen, who also both committed espionage over long periods of time both “outed” US intelligence sources to the Soviets, directly resulting in the execution of top US informants. To say that these are “comparable” crimes, is at best “highly disingenuous”, and I would say borders on “a lie.”
As for the Rosenbergs, a large number of historians today believe their punishment was unreasonable, and a miscarriage of justice, so it is hard to understand why you keep bringing them up as an example. However, this case still does not change the accuracy of my statement that ” He is the ONLY person in this history of the US with a conviction of life for spying for an ally “. The Rosenbergs were (rightly or wrongly) convicted of espionage (a highly unusual charge to be leveled against civilians, BTW), and therefore were in a different sentencing category altogether. Pollard was convicted of one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States. And as I mentioned earlier, he remains to only person with a conviction under this law to receive any such sentence.
Just to be clear — I am not trying to say Pollard was innocent or in any way justified. I am simply saying that there is certainly much room to request clemency in this case, after Pollard has already received a severe punishment of 25 years,even from the perspective of straight justice.December 23, 2010 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #912859
have you been following at all what happened???!!!
or do you think you know better than the Gedolim who rallied around the bochurim and endorsed and involved themselves heavily in their legal efforts!!!
if you went to the airport and got arrested because someone snuck something illegal into your bag and you had no clue – are you going to plead guilty?! “You honor, I unknowingly transported illegal drugs and therefore should be sentenced to 10 years”!!??December 23, 2010 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm #912861
“the bochurim in japan were unwittingly doped into smuggling drugs”
They claim that they thought they were smuggling antiquities. I believe them totally.
The problem is, that is also a crime — and also asur halchically. See Bava Kamma 113, which they apparently were never taught.
But why does one need to have learned Bava Kamma in order to know that smuggling is wrong? That should be a natural thing for anyone with decent midot to understand!December 23, 2010 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm #912862
in any civilization and legal system, intent means a geat deal!!
not to mention being aware that you are doing something in the first place!!
However, there obviously is a standard of not being blind and unreasonably stupid – a person must take reasonable precautions to avoid becoming stuck in such a situation – but the 3 bochurim were totally clueless to the very notion of illegal drugs and sly characters who would take advantage of them, etc!!December 23, 2010 8:11 pm at 8:11 pm #912863
all i can say is that the bochurim in japan were not responsible to the extent they should be incarceratedd in japan for a crime. The proof is the gedolim who have gone to bat for them and defended their innocence vociferously. about others, it’s a nebuch but its not a good idea to jump to conclusionsDecember 23, 2010 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #912864
charliehall – are these accuations as accurate as those you made about Pollard? i doubt it for some reason. . .December 23, 2010 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #912865
ronsr – good oneDecember 23, 2010 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #912866
what would you say if the bochurim were caught in signapore, where drug smuggling is a mandatory death penalty? Kill them?
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