Obama’s to-do list: Free Pollard in May so he can travel safely to Israel in June

Israel/Palestine

Yesterday Weiss had breakfast in Berkeley with Jeff Blankfort, who laid out the following scenario. Weiss’s notes.

I generally do not make predictions. Though I do have a check from a former CIA guy for $10 because I said there would be no attack on Iran. It was when Scott Ritter was saying there would be an attack on Iran, and I said No it would be too disastrous to the world economy. But now I’m going to make another prediction.

I begin with the question, why Osama Bin Laden was killed at this particular point in time. Because they knew where he was for a while and Al Qaeda by everyone’s observations is not a very active force, and the way I see it is, Obama has a wimp image internationally which has come largely from the way he has been repeatedly humiliated by Netanyahu with direct and indirect support from the US Congress, which has now invited Netanyahu to speak this month. The Republicans that is, though the Democrats will also cheer him.

And to prepare for Netanyahu coming here Obama needed something to restore his image as a leader or commander in chief which would make Netanyahu think twice about even indirectly attacking him in Congress. That was killing Osama bin Laden.

Now in order for Obama to get the Jewish funding he had in the last election he has to make a trip to Israel. What’s curious is that up till now he has not only not made a trip there but he hasn’t been publicly invited– and probably for the reason that Obama is so unpopular in Israel that he cannot go there and feel assured that he will come back alive. And the Netanyahu government quite likely feels the same way, because many of their elite army units which used to be secular are now ultra orthodox. Because if Obama’s going to go, he has to go in a very public way, not like sneaking into Baghdad or Kabul.

Following a meeting that Obama had with Shimon Peres a month ago there’s been an expectation that he will go to Israel in June. and the only way for him to do it at this point in time would be to free Jonathan Pollard. And there has been a major campaign to free Pollard recently, an unprecedented campaign, on the part of the Jewish community. Henry Kissinger weighed in, George Shultz weighed in, Michael Mukasey weighed in. 

Heretofore previous Israeli governments and the American Jewish community have not really pushed this issue in the way they’re doing it today. Because previously they were afraid of what Pollard might say, because Pollard has said that he was betrayed by the Israelis, and Pollard’s support has largely been in the settler community. But now the setters are running Israel, and the current Israeli government is the equivalent of the Tea Party, and they have nothing to lose by anything that Pollard might say about previous Israeli governments when he gets out.

I think that if it’s going to happen, if Obama’s going to make a trip in June, he may quite likely release Pollard before or during the AIPAC convention this month (May 22-24). I think there will probably only be objections to Pollard’s release on the right. Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan. Obama will get no serious attack, though there might be people who mght question it. Paul Krugman? He won’t even talk about it. And as for the intelligence establishment in the United States that has long objected to Pollard’s release, well it’s not the same as it used to be, and even they’ll rationalize it.

What if Obama were killed in Israel? Well, they would probably try to blame it on the Palestinians. Though given the atmosphere in Israel, any Israeli who would assassinate Obama would be considered a hero among many Israelis, as was the guy who assassinated Rabin.

The fallout here? I’ve thought about that. And if Obama were assassinated there it would cause a rise in African Amercan anti-Semitism. It would be a gamechanger, and this might– it would certainly speed the self-destruction of Israel.

What puzzles me is the timing of all this. Obama has no one in Congress backing him up in confronting Israel. Remember he took this on back when he was still popular, and he got letters from both houses of Congress saying, Don’t lean on Netanyahu. He’s a president who does not have the Congress backing him up and will not get the standing ovations in Congress that Netanyahu will. So the timing puzzles me. Why now?

Why’s it happening now? This pressure to free Pollard—it was a phony issue. None of the Jewish organizations have ever been criticized for not doing enough to free Pollard because Pollard is in prison making these wild charges.

How many people are aware of this deal? I’d say a handful. David Harris of the American Jewish committee, sure. Malcolm Hoenlein. Probably not Foxman, he’s too much of a wildcard. Dennis Ross—it was probably his idea.

Leon Panetta knows. Hillary knows. So now you’re in select company.

93 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    May 7, 2011, 3:09 pm

    The big news in the world of the middle east is the unity deal between Hamas-Fatah, the prospect of constructive negotiation between the unity government and Israel in anticipation of the September declaration. (The timing of the declaration is up in the air. Is it declared before a Palestinian election thereby giving Fatah negotiators the guiding power to construct a proposal, but preserving Hamas’ ‘purity’ of not talking directly to Israel. Or, is it declared after a Palestinian election, giving the new government’s negotiating team electoral authority, with the prospect that Hamas alone or in coalition will be forced to negotiate with Israel and thereby recognize Israel.)

    The second big news in the region is the revolution in process in Syria.

    In Egypt, Phil and other dissenters dedicated literally 100’s of posts to the revolution. There have been maybe 2 dedicated to the Syrian revolution (from the same spirit, and in relation to a more dictatorial regime).

    But silence. The message of that silence implies that the site is an anti-Israel site and only a token ‘pro-democracy’ site. Only a token discussion of the ‘war of ideas in the middle east’.

  2. Les
    May 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

    Our media has been very careful to NOT ask veterans’ organizations what they think about springing Pollard out of prison. That same media is very careful to downplay what information the traitor gave to Israel to give to the Soviet Union.

    • MRW
      May 7, 2011, 5:09 pm

      ANNALS OF ESPIONAGE
      THE TRAITOR
      The case against Jonathan Pollard.

      BY SEYMOUR M. HERSH
      The New Yorker, January 18, 1999, pp. 26-33

      It ends with this

      One informed official described a private moment at the Wye peace summit when George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, warned the President that Pollard’s release would enrage and demoralize the intelligence community. “What he got back,” the official told me, “was ‘Nah, don’t worry about it. It’ll blow over.’ “

      • rob
        May 7, 2011, 8:13 pm

        MRW, the link to the Seymour Hersh article came up: Page not Found.
        I’ve attached another, hoping that’s ok.

        link to cryptome.org

      • Chaos4700
        May 8, 2011, 4:05 am

        There is going to be hell to pay if this happens, after news of it reaches the non-Jewish American population. Not just among veterans and the intelligence community.

        Republicans won’t just have a field day with it… if they’re ruthless and even slightly clever, they’ll use it to make Democrats unelectable for a generation, at least.

  3. Walid
    May 7, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I hope that Pollard gets released to bring the story of his betrayal to the surface as it may shake Americans of their blind love for Israel.

    As to why now, something is very wrong in this story, particularly his burial at sea which broke every rule in the Muslim book, especially for the fanatical Salafists of which he was a follower.

  4. radii
    May 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

    Jeffrey, please please be wrong on this one

    If Pollard is freed then we might as well shred the rest of the U.S. Constitution that the Bush/Cheney crowd did not already damage … it won’t be an America I recognize any longer

    Pollard should never be freed, in fact he should have been shot or hanged – a clear traitor to the United States and any and all who support him are traitors … and that means israel (oh, that’s right the greatest threat to the United States comes from israel and its agents and operatives)

    • MRW
      May 7, 2011, 5:00 pm

      I agree completely, radii. Pollard was going to be sentenced to death, but Dershowitz interceded for him and promised Israel would return everything it stole if they would just give him a life sentence. Of course, Israel never held up its side of the bargain.

      The military is going to go nuts. How many vets do we have in this country? How many spouses of vets, and children?

      This would be the final humiliation of America that the man who would be Commander-in-Chief releases the spy who placed the entire US military at risk.

      • RoHa
        May 8, 2011, 1:28 am

        “Israel never held up its side of the bargain.”

        Just for the record, when has Israel held up its side of a bargain?

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 7, 2011, 6:17 pm

      radii: “If Pollard is freed then … it won’t be an America I recognize any longer.”

      radii, it already is an America I hardly recognize anymore (looking back a half-century and longer). Much has changed since the Zionist takeover of the American government. (I want to reiterate that I am referring specifically to the Zionist political movement, not to Judaism/Jewry without Zionism.)

      But, concerning Pollard’s release, I tend to agree with Walid’s comment just above yours. I think that Pollard’s release could not be ignored by the MSM; that it would arouse widespread, intense outrage across the land (like yours and mine); and that the controversy would greatly expose Zionism to the wrath of the American public. The public would lose some of its fear of the Lobby and Israel’s agents, and would learn more about their workings and begin to speak out.

      It seems to me the potential benefits outweigh the costs that you rightly emphasize. Every bit helps in restoring the proper functioning of our Constitutional protections.

  5. wondering jew
    May 7, 2011, 4:33 pm

    I have no comments on the main thrust of Jeff Blankfort’s comments. but how does anybody call those Orthodox who now make up a large percentage of the elite units ultra Orthodox, other than as a slip of the tongue or as a result of ignorance.

    • James
      May 7, 2011, 5:18 pm

      wondering jew, i am wondering if you would care to explain the differences between “ultra orthodox” and orthodox for someone who is not up to speed on this distinction… it is my impression a move to the right is taking place on all levels in israel…. is this a concern to someone like yourself?

      • wondering jew
        May 7, 2011, 6:28 pm

        Ultra orthodox are called charedim plural for charedi in hebrew. (chared literally means fear and it means those who fear god) (ch as in chanuka and not as in chimney, which is accordingly sometimes spelled kh in order to maintain the distinction) The men as a rule all wear beards, black hats and dress in black. In modern Orthodox society, which is also known as knitted yarmulke society, they are referred to as dosim (dat, pronounce daht, rhyming with khat that you smoke rather than cat that you sic onto the mice, means religion and in Ashkenazic/European pre Israel pronunciation the t was pronounced as an s and thus the modern Orthodox refer to themselves as dati’im and refer to the black hatters as dosim.)

        Ultra orthodox tolerate the state and rarely serve in the army. they are conservative regarding giving up territories for peace because they don’t trust the Palestinians.

        Modern orthodox value the state and serve in the army. They also don’t trust the Palestinians but put a primary value on Jewish sovereignty over the land. (Because of the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, there is somewhat of a split between those who support the army, i.e. the vast majority and the minority who consider the army and the state as betrayers or potential betrayers.)

        There is somewhat of a movement from modern Orthodoxy to ultra orthodoxy, particularly amongst Middle Eastern Jews represented by the Shas party. But for the most part modern Orthodoxy loses a percentage to secular society and a small percentage to ultra Orthodox society, but maintains its own numbers. The demographics: the ultra Orthodox due to their large families are gaining in numbers through the power of the womb rather than through the power of persuasion.

        I’m leaving Israel soon, so I feel “disqualified” to comment, but that never stopped me before I moved here, so I will disregard such silly disqualifications:

        I would prefer a state that had civil marriages: in which Jews and nonJews could marry each other without having to travel to Cyprus to tie the knot. That is certainly not on the agenda for the near future.

        I would prefer a country that looked at the Palestinians with a cold realistic eye regarding the future, but one not colored by traditional anti nonJewish texts.

        Regarding the past history- I think the settlement movement was a major mistake, that maintaining a military occupation of the West Bank is reasonable, given the difficulties of reaching a peace agreement regarding the “right of return” issue may be out of reach for the foreseeable future and the fact of the settlements turns a military occupation into a settler occupation and weakens the argument of the security needs by demonstrating a desire to take over the land.

        The movement to the right is brought about by demographics: 1. the coming of age of the Russian community, which was always right wing. (That’s what happens when you are raised in a communist society that treats you like dirt.) 2. the power of the womb of the ultra Orthodox. 3. to a lesser degree the power of the womb of the modern Orthodox. 4. to a lesser degree the power of the womb of the Mizrachi Jewish community, who despite mistreatment by the Zionists upon their arrival in the country 60 or so years ago, mistrust the Palestinians and insist that they know the Palestinians better than the European Jews who are naive. 5. The low birthrate of the secular Jewish Ashkenazi community, who due to their wealth and education have the greatest tendency to move abroad where opportunities are greater.

        (I often joke that when a right wing Jewish Israeli finds something wrong with Israel he wonders who he can shoot to solve the problem. and when a left wing Jewish Israel finds something wrong with Israel he wonders which airplane he can catch to leave the country.)

        Besides demographic reasons for a movement towards the right, there is also the 2nd intifadeh, which can more or less be given the dates from September 2000 until the death of Arafat in November of 2004, which led to the building of the barrier/fence/wall and also a wall in the hearts of many centrist Israelis who consider the murderous intifadeh to have revealed the true heart of the Palestinians. And also the withdrawal from Gaza which did not lead to peace on that border but to attacks from Gaza upon Sderot. (It can be argued that this was due to the incomplete nature of the withdrawal from Gaza, but I am not trying to prove the rightness of the argument, but rather trying to identify the tendency of the population.) The revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world increase the element of uncertainty and any tendency towards experimentation and risk taking seems to be unreasonable.

        These are negative developments from my point of view. I wish Israel were represented by Amram Mitzna or Shelly Yachimovitch rather than Bibi Netanyahu, but I am pointing out that this is not the tendency that seems to be within reason at this time.

      • James
        May 7, 2011, 11:46 pm

        wj – thanks very much for the overview from where you are… i note you are leaving israel and i am now wondering how much of your decision is based on this overview you give us? thanks for your comments here….

      • RoHa
        May 8, 2011, 1:32 am

        In brief, then, Israel is being taken over by right wing loonies and religious loonies.

        I can see why you want to leave.

      • ToivoS
        May 8, 2011, 4:20 am

        wj, thanks for your comments. I must say that in the past I have found some of your comments infuriating, but they have always seemed honest. I share James question: why are you leaving Israel? And if your leaving represents a trend then the terrible right wing change over the last 20 years will only get worse.

      • wondering jew
        May 8, 2011, 5:21 am

        James- My reasons for leaving are personal (95%) rather than political (5%). According to Dylan “he who isn’t busy being born is busy dying” and thus I hope to continue my growth in the US and New York and thus be stronger in the long range future including to help in the struggle for a more just Israel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 8, 2011, 5:58 am

        “Besides demographic reasons for a movement towards the right, there is also the 2nd intifadeh,… which led to the building of the barrier/fence/wall and also a wall in the hearts of many centrist Israelis who consider the murderous intifadeh to have revealed the true heart of the Palestinians.”

        If this be true, then the Israeli public is pathologically lacking in self-awareness, because the face displayed by the intifiada was the face of a people attempting to strike back and free themselves of their tormentors and oppressors, misguided though I believe some of the tactic were.

        If the “true face” of the Palestinians is the intifada, would then the “true face” of the Jews of Israel and world Jewry be the iron fisted, jackbooted occupation and the support that the state perpetrating that crime receives.

      • wondering jew
        May 8, 2011, 9:22 am

        Woody Tanaka- I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you have zero interest in understanding the point of view of centrist Israelis and only have an interest in condemning them.

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 12:22 pm

        thanks wondering jew.. i wish you every success and much happiness in your change!

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 12:30 pm

        WJ, thank you so much for sharing your insights on the Israeli Jewish community; as an American gentile, I appreciate this very much as it helps to get a grasp of Israeli thinking now, and it suggest likely trends, the better to evaluate what leaders say about what should be done to obtain peace, both in the USA and Israel, and the EU.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 8, 2011, 2:46 pm

        wonderingjew,

        I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you have zero interest in understanding the point of view of centrist Israelis and only have an interest in condemning them.

        You are wrong. I have in interest in such understanding. But I am not willing to let “understanding” be a brake on properly criticizing them; and anyone people who decide that the net result of three generations of brutal oppression is the “true face” of the occupied and oppressed is rightly deserving of criticism.

        Such an opinion appears to lack the first stem in empathy: the ability to ask, “how would we act if they were doing to us what we are doing to them?” and to change accordingly. Instead, they want the world to lament their dead, ignore or minimize the Palestinian dead, and they then repeatedly elect governments which press the same barbaric policies against the Palestinians which cause reactions like the intifada.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 7, 2011, 5:41 pm

      wj, for many of us Americans with only a passing knowledge of Israeli society, the important distinction is between the “seculars” and the “religious”. The “religious” are winning the internal conflict (always an inevitable outcome in an exclusionary theocratic state), and I think this may be what Jeffrey had in mind.

    • Danaa
      May 7, 2011, 6:03 pm

      WJ, to most outside Israel – including many Jewish-descent Americans – the distinctions between traditional, observant, orthodox and ultra-orthodox are somewhat obscure. We know, for example, that many of the fanatic settler types are indeed what one might call orthodox; most are ashkenazi in origin, and quite a few of the elite unit participants referred to above come from their ranks. The ultra-orthodox, what we’d call haredi, are indeed a breed apart, with only some participating in the IDF at all (yes, I know it’s an issue). There are haredi settlement communities, primarily because of the cheap housing availability there, and interestingly some of those would consider alliance with palestinians, based on what I’ve been reading (sorry, no first hand experience there).

      I think a distinction should also be drawn – for the benefit of people outside at least – between the traditional observants who are primarily Mizrahi, and for the most part followers of Shas – and the ashkenazi derived orthodox (to which some of your family belongs, no?).

      In any case, I believe the borderlines between the different types of the religious in Israel are blurred when it come to their politics. With the notable exception of certain ultra-orthodox (such as Neturei Karta), most of those who identify a jewish observant follow right wing nationalist politics when it comes to the palestinians and the OTs. The alliance between them and the Russian seculars – who are also way to the right politically – is what will not only keep israel hewing to the right for the foreseeable future but is also what will continue to marginalize any left leaning, civil rights oriented and/or real peace movement in Israel. it has been duly noted by many (and me too)_ that because of the demographics of the much larger birth rate among all the religious groups (taken a a whole), this rightward trend will not only continue but will likely accelerate.

      If you have more insights on the different religious groupings in Israel, don’t you undertake a treatise for the benefit of all on Mondoweiss?

      • Citizen
        May 7, 2011, 7:37 pm

        And, apropos Danaa’s final question at the moment, WJ, here’s some quick thoughts by the appropriately named Americans For Peace Now in honor of the upcoming activities recognizing Israel Independence Day and Nakba Day: link to peacenow.org

        Again, I’m reminded of that adage. “Your (equal) rights end where mine begin.”

  6. James
    May 7, 2011, 5:21 pm

    ot – but interesting developments in american culture..
    link to ca.news.yahoo.com

    • Toma
      May 7, 2011, 6:45 pm

      If you think that’s interesting(disgusting) read what Victor Sharpe wrote in the rather strangely named site familysecuritymatters.org about Mahmoud Abbas:

      “Abbas was part and parcel of the betrayal by the PLO of Kuwait in1990 when the Palestinian terror machine spearheaded the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.”
      I mean wow!! That’s a new angle. Given the large degree of historical revisionism currently taking place it wouldn’t surprise me if Pollard will be claimed as a double agent working for the benefit of the US and Israel the whole time: Here’s the whole piece by Sharpe, but I warn all of you, it’s painful–http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.9452/pub_detail.asp

    • Walid
      May 8, 2011, 3:11 am

      “ot – but interesting developments in american culture…”

      James, same type of interesting and annoying cultural thing happened a few years back to a couple of rabbis on a plane departing Kennedy for TA when they stood in the aisle to pray as it taxied for take-off. It’s not about Muslims and Jews but about American ignorance and fear of what’s on the other side of the wall. It gets more pronounced as you go further south like in the Memphis of your story.

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 12:41 pm

        Walid, it’s arguably also about ignorance and fear of what’s on the other side of the wall on the part of Israeli Jews, yes? Or did you not mean to leave that aspect out? “Tear down that wall!” Huh, just one wall, at one period of time? I don’t think so. So, is it a net good for the world that the USSR tore down the wall in Germany? And, now respecting the Israeli Wall? True, the USSR subsequently collapsed due to economics, but, discouting the predatory machinations of the free enterprizing criminal element in former soviet society, was that a net over all gain for humanity? Please apply your thoughts also to the Israeli wall. Thanks.

      • Walid
        May 8, 2011, 3:09 pm

        Citizen, my thoughts about the evil Israeli wall are as long and troubled as the wall itself. The Mexican wall is another one. The wall I was talking about here was the American one of ignorance that’s put up from the fear of the unknown and it seems to get worse as you get deeper into the Bible Belt. I think it’s the same fear with the religious Jewish settlers on the WB and Islamic fundamentalists.

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 12:53 pm

        ..””It’s not about Muslims and Jews but about American ignorance and fear of what’s on the other side of the wall. It gets more pronounced as you go further south like in the Memphis of your story.””

        walid – i agree! i was in memphis about a month ago… great place and lots of wonderful music and people…

  7. pabelmont
    May 7, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Obama can (but must not) cave in to Israel on Pollard! It just invites more caving-in. It guarantees nothing except further extortion of himself and of every subsequent president. AIPAC and Israel are insatiable and nothing is ever enough. (If he had a specific deal agreed in advance it might be different, but I dislike and hope he will refuse a fully-corrupt political deal (absolute disregard of USA’s interests in favor of HIS OWN RE-ELECTION)

    Better to say, “Release Pollard? No. If AIPAC had America’s interests at heart rather than placing Israel’s interests ahead of America’s, it would not even think of asking for the release of one of the most damaging spies ever to spy on the USA — and one of Israel’s spies at that. John Kennedy refused to kiss the Pope’s ring and I refuse to kiss AIPAC’s * * * ring.”

    • pabelmont
      May 7, 2011, 8:45 pm

      Should add: recall Obama’s recent super-embarrassing offer of the family jewels to Israel in exchange for, what?, a few months of (some) non-building of Greater-Israel-upon-the-backs-of-the-Palestinians. An offer which included, recall, auto-veto of UNSC stuff Israel didn’t like. And Israel refused! And Obama backed down ANYWAY on UNSC. Either Obama (and USA) have backbone or they don’t. The fat’s in the fire.

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 12:46 pm

        Seems pretty clear, pabelmont, that Obama has shown his true colors. They are not black or white, but simply in the interests of his Dad, whom he dedicated his life story to, yes? Doesn’t that mean we should look at his dead dad’s POV on the world? And can’t we assume that his son will do all he can to make his Dad’s fond dreams come to life, working within the limits of the US oval office, as it is curtailed by Big Business and IL? Isnt’t that the theory that accounts for Obama’s deeds, as distinguished from his retoric, right up to the present?

  8. Kathleen
    May 7, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Obama could not live releasing a traitor like Pollard down. Anthony Weiner and Barney Frank both pushing hard for the release of Pollard.

    Best insights on Obl’s death, Pakistan and the growth of Al Queda former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer. He was a guest on the Diane Rehm show on Wednesday.
    Listen
    Osama bin Laden’s Death: What it Means for the U.S. and the Region
    link to thedianerehmshow.org

    Transcript
    link to thedianerehmshow.org

    “SCHEUER
    10:31:54
    Well, let me say, Diane, that I think that somehow we’ve missed a little bit of growth since 2001. Bin Laden had always planned not to live to see the end of the war. He had written several times and spoken about it that this would be a generational struggle. And in the last four or five years, his organization has been dispersed, whereas on 9/11, we had been facing a threat only or primarily from Pakistan in terms of planning, training and launching operations. They now have a slice of Pakistan — a slice of Afghanistan. They have a good position in Pakistan. They’re in Yemen and Somalia. They’re growing — regrowing strength in Iraq. They’re in the Levant. The Israelis say they’re in Gaza. And they’re in North Africa and Somalia. ”
    “CHEUER
    10:55:23
    You know, I don’t know, Diane. I really don’t. There’s a lot of truth there, that the Pakistanis are duplicitous and look after their own interests, which I think is perfectly legitimate for them to do. I’m not sure the United States government is clever enough, especially the Congress, to be conducting a disinformation campaign. So I, you know — I don’t know. We’re dependent on the Pakistanis. This thing is going to blow over. They’re going to continue to get aid. And that’s kind of the whole story, I think. They certainly are better allies than, for example, the Israelis. They’ve done far more for us in the last decade than anything the Israelis have ever done. ”
    SCHEUER
    10:55:23
    You know, I don’t know, Diane. I really don’t. There’s a lot of truth there, that the Pakistanis are duplicitous and look after their own interests, which I think is perfectly legitimate for them to do. I’m not sure the United States government is clever enough, especially the Congress, to be conducting a disinformation campaign. So I, you know — I don’t know. We’re dependent on the Pakistanis. This thing is going to blow over. They’re going to continue to get aid. And that’s kind of the whole story, I think. They certainly are better allies than, for example, the Israelis. They’ve done far more for us in the last decade than anything the Israelis have ever done.

    • Citizen
      May 8, 2011, 12:49 pm

      You have to get Glen Beck’s ilk onboard, Kathleen? Good luck with that.

  9. Kathleen
    May 7, 2011, 6:49 pm

    Jeffrey “Because they knew where he was for a while and Al Qaeda by everyone’s observations is not a very active force, and the way I see it is, Obama has a wimp image internationally which has come largely from the way he has been repeatedly humiliated by Netanyahu with direct and indirect support from the US Congress, which has now invited Netanyahu to speak this month.”

    Not according to Scheuer and he knows far more than most

    • Citizen
      May 8, 2011, 12:55 pm

      Not one in a thousand Americans has ever heard of Scheuer, let alone his POV. And the PTB plan to keep it that way. Think of the survivors of the USS Liberty. Go to any average American get2gether and see if any one recognizes the name USS Liberty, or Scheuer, or Rachael Corrie. Good luck with that. The key to change is in the control of the US MSM, and, since Vietnam, when the major problem is in the ME, our US MSM has sucked up to US government non-stop. How’s those pork chops doin’ on the grill?

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      May 8, 2011, 1:27 pm

      Kathleen, I was referring to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan which according to every observer has scarcely more than a few hundred fighters. Scheuer was referring to other areas where groups calling themselves Al Qaeda and apparently following the same guiding principles as the original are unquestionably active. What connections they have or have had with Bin Laden are open to question but we are going to be told by the Obama administration that Bin Laden was still running things. The latest line from Washington, NSC’s Tom Donilon, is that enough material on Al Qaeda was found on computers in the compound to fill “a small college library.” So what we may be seeing now from Bush III is the resurrection of the dangers of Al Qaeda while giving more importance to the rubbing out of its founder than the incident actually warrants..

  10. Kathleen
    May 7, 2011, 7:01 pm

    link to jonathanpollard.org
    Text: Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Passover Letter to President Obama to release Pollard
    Justice4JPnews – April 23, 2011

    April 22, 2011

    President Barack Obama The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear Mr. President,

    As Pesach, the holiday of freedom, comes to a close, I urge you to use your constitutional power to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard and allow him to join his family in Israel. This exercise in justice is not meant to imply doubt about his guilt or cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted. On the contrary, Mr. Pollard knows that he has committed serious crimes and after 26 years, stands as the strongest deterrent to espionage in this country. However, his charges do not merit the punishment.

    It is indisputable that the disproportionate amount of time that Mr. Pollard spent in prison is a thorn in the side of the alliance between Israel and the United States. Mr. Pollard cooperated with investigators, admitted his wrongdoing, and was sentenced to life in prison. No one who has ever pleaded guilty to a similar crime has ever been sentenced to a life term.

    Commuting Mr. Pollard’s sentence will be viewed as an act of compassion on behalf of the United States and between two allies. Mr. President, please do what former President Bush has repeatedly refused and heed the countless calls for Pollard’s freedom during this Passover season.

    I thank you for your time and consideration of this request.

    Sincerely,

    ANTHONY D. WEINER
    Member of Congress

    MORE
    Former Republican Senator, Co-Chair Of President’s Economic Commission Calls On Obama To Free Pollard
    Justice4JPnews – April 28, 2011

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Aaron Troodler (888) 897-7450

    SENATOR ALAN SIMPSON, CO-CHAIR OF PRESIDENT’S ECONOMIC COMMISSION CALLS ON OBAMA TO FREE POLLARD

    Former Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming is the latest American leader to call for Jonathan Pollard’s release. Senator Simpson recently sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached).

    Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.

    “It is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice,” wrote Simpson in his letter to the President. “Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.”

    Senator Simpson noted that Pollard “is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement)” despite the fact that “[h]e was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States – an offense that normally results in a 2-4 year sentence.” Simpson reminded the President that Pollard “pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but which was ignored by the sentencing judge.”

    “After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining,” wrote Simpson. “He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has been a model prisoner.”

    Senator Simpson served in the United States Senate from 1979-1997. He spent many years as a well-respected member of the Republican leadership, serving as Senate Majority Whip from 1985-1987 and Senate Minority Whip from 1987-1995. Simpson served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from 1995-1997 and from 1981-1985.

    In 2010, President Obama appointed Senator Simpson to co-chair his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform together with co-chair Erskine Bowles, who served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff. As co-chair, Senator Simpson is tasked with spearheading an effort to lower the federal budget deficit and proposing ways to control the rising costs of various government programs.

    In addition, from 1997-2000 Senator Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and he served as the Director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School for two years.

    Senator Simpson’s letter to President Obama comes in the wake of numerous calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders.

    Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard’s release.

    Henry Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard’s sentencing, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served.

    Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard’s sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard.

    In addition, a wide array of American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, well-known Christian leader Pat Robertson, Pastor John Hagee, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also recently sent a letter to President Obama calling for Pollard’s release.

    In addition, several months ago thirty-nine members of Congress submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter led by Congressman Barney Frank in support of commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence. Further, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders sent a letter to President Obama in January 2011 in which they called on the President to commute Pollard’s sentence.

    Jonathan Pollard recently wrote a letter containing a personal appeal for clemency to President Obama, which was hand-delivered to the President by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres also raised the issue of clemency for Pollard in a White House meeting with President Obama several weeks ago.

    Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.

    Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.

    The following is the text of Senator Simpson’s letter to President Obama:

    April 25, 2011

    President Barack Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, DC 20500

    Dear Mr. President,

    I join many other distinguished Americans to request that you exercise your power of clemency and commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served.

    Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement). He was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States – an offense that normally results in a 2-4 year sentence. He pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but which was ignored by the sentencing judge.

    I do not condone espionage, nor do I underestimate the gravity of Pollard’s crime. But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice.

    Religious leaders from all faiths and prominent national figures have publicly stated their support for Mr. Pollard’s release: VP Dan Quayle, Senators McCain, Specter, DeConcini, Bennett, Congressman Barney Frank and thirty-nine Democrat members of the House, Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rev. Hesburgh of Notre Dame, Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, Evangelist leader Pat Robertson, former federal judge Leighton, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, Gary Bauer, Pastor John Hagee, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Perhaps most noteworthy, similar support has come from those who have seen the classified information of the damage that Pollard caused – former CIA Director James Woolsey, Congressman Anthony Weiner, former Deputy Attorney General Phillip Heymann, and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Dennis DeConcini.

    After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has been a model prisoner.

    Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.

    Respectfully and sincerely,

    Alan Simpson
    ———————————————————————–
    link to jonathanpollard.org
    FRANK AND COLLEAGUES ANNOUCE THEY ARE SOLICITING
    SIGNATURES FOR A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA REQUESTING
    CLEMENCY FOR JONATHON POLLARD

    WASHINGTON — Congressman Barney Frank, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Congressman Edolphus Towns and Congressman Anthony Weiner announced today that they are circulating a letter in the House of Representatives, seeking other Members to join them in asking President Obama to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, the former civilian defense officer who is serving a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel.

    The letter notes that they are not questioning Mr. Pollard’s guilt, the process by which he was convicted and sentenced, nor the necessity of punishing those who engage in espionage on behalf of allied countries. Rather, the appeal for clemency is based on the vast disparity between Mr. Pollard’s sentence and the sentences given to many others who have been convicted of similar activities, even with countries that unlike Israel are or have been adversaries of the United States.

    The letter also notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people. This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors.

    The letter will be circulated in Congress for a period of time, and then sent to President Obama, most likely by the middle of October.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 8, 2011, 1:16 am

      Kathleen, Alan Simpson is buttering up to the New Establishment that has taken over since his heyday. He is a brownnoser who is all giddy about being allowed back into the limelight. What would a faux-patriot like him, a man without noticeable self-disinterested principle, care about Pollard’s traitorous crimes and the harm they have done our country?

    • Citizen
      May 8, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Pollard effectively gave the former USSR via Israel a map to the total US missile defense system, and defense system generally, and this during the height of the cold war. And Pollard lives in a cushy prison, a powder-puff prison, living better than at least a quarter of the US population, and at US taxpayor expense. Why not free his fellow prison inmate , Bernie Madoff too? After all, neither strikes me as being like those toothless backwoods guys in the film that made stupid goy fatty “squeal like a pig.”

    • MRW
      May 10, 2011, 2:42 am

      Robert Hanssen is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for doing less than this creep.

      John Anthony Walker got life and no parole until he’s 111 years old.

      Aldrich Ames got life and no parole. Same sentence as Pollard: “On February 21, 1994, Ames was arrested by FBI agents and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. Ames pleaded guilty, and on April 28, 1994, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.” Because Ames had caused the death of CIA assets, he could have got the death penalty, but plea-bargained by agreeing to cooperate.

  11. Jeffrey Blankfort
    May 7, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I just wish to add a couple of corrections and comments here. First I should have had Phil put reference to “African-American anti-Semitism” in quotes. The Jewish establishment, led by the ADL’s Abe Foxman. is constantly polling and trolling for signs of anti-Jewish attitudes among the country’s other minorities while ignoring what it should be addressing and cleaning up, namely the racism and paternalism that is far more widespread within the Jewish community toward people of color.

    I am aware that the Haredi, Chassidim, whatever one wants to call them are considered to be the “ultraorthodox,” but I am barely willing to concede that those uniformed “IDF” thugs who wear a kippa under their helmets are the same species as was my orthodox grandfather. Pehaps they should be called Über-fascist? Polls show that they imbibe without question the racist pronouncements of their rabbis and on questions as to who should live and who shall die at their hands, a considerable number put the “orders” from those rabid rabbis above those of their senior officers.
    I am not puzzled, but I was when the Osama announced the Obama killing. Since so much in Washington hinges on what Israel wants and since those who are elected to work in it are in (as always) in an election mode, I was looking for the connection. I didn’t have to look far.

    What should be further explained is the statement. “None of the Jewish organizations have ever been criticized for not doing enough to free Pollard because Pollard is in prison making these wild charges.” They have been, editorially, in a number of the nation’s Jewish weeklies and by the Über-right wingers, like the Zionist Organization of America (whose honcho, Morton Klein often makes Foxman look like a boy scout), the American Friends of Likud, etc. and many of the tax-exempt groups that fund the illegal settlements.

    • Elliot
      May 7, 2011, 9:42 pm

      I am aware that the Haredi, Chassidim, whatever one wants to call them are considered to be the “ultraorthodox,” but I am barely willing to concede that those uniformed “IDF” thugs who wear a kippa under their helmets are the same species as was my orthodox grandfather. Perhaps they should be called Über-fascist?
      As you surely know, your grandfather would not recognize American Orthodox Jews either. But that’s because of reactionary attitudes to ritual and progressive attitudes to women among other markers.

      It’s important to differentiate between U.S. Orthodox and the Israeli (settler) Orthodox. Although American Jewish Orthodox tend to vote Republican, accept the embrace of the evangelical Christian Zionists, explicitly support West Bank settlements and generally reject mainstream liberal American values, they are still a different breed from their Israeli counterparts. For instance, Israeli Orthodox have rejected conversions of American Orthodox rabbinical courts.

      The different political frameworks matter. The sense of empowerment and entitlement matters too. In my experience, in the U.S., Orthodox Jews do not act out the racist thuggery of the Israeli Orthodox (including, of course, immigrants from the U.S.).

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Elliot, hey, let’s let them compete to see who has the most pure blood line program, ok? Birth defective Goy grunts will happily enforce it, whichever.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        May 8, 2011, 1:33 pm

        In my grandfather’s day, Orthodox Jews were as affiliated with the Democrats as were the Jewish atheists as were Reform and Conservative. Today the US orthodoxy, to judge from its publications and positions, is no less racist than its Israeli counterparts although its language is more tempered.

    • wondering jew
      May 8, 2011, 4:34 pm

      Jeffrey Blankfort- If you wish to avoid using the same terminology in reference to the Orthodox who serve in the IDF as you use in reference to your grandfather might I suggest Ultra Zionist Orthodox, then you might succeed in communicating rather than merely in protecting the memory of your grandfather from evil associations.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        May 8, 2011, 7:58 pm

        I think you know what I am talking about as do others on this list. When one sees an Israeli soldier wearing a kippa under his helmet, there is nothing more you need to know, whatever you want to call the sick creature. They are armed and dangerous and care nothing for the lives of non-Jews. With some exceotions, the Ultra-Orthodox are not technically Zionists and, in fact, opposed the formation of a Jewish state by secular forces ahead of the arrival of the Messiah who was supposed to do the job (so we know they’re nutcases), but they are not stupid when it comes to money (nor allergic to diamonds, whatever their origins). Thus, while maintaining that the state of Israel was not what was authorized by the god that those who they believe to be their ancestors invented, they are only too willing to take the state’s money while avoiding serving in its armed forces. While, from a religious standpoint, they don’t recognize the state of Israel they don’t accept giving up any land from that state to the Palestinians who they do not consider human. But you knew that already as do most of those who post on this list.

      • wondering jew
        May 9, 2011, 7:14 am

        Jeffrey Blankfort- You are certainly not afraid to say what is on your mind. I think Phil Weiss crosses the line from responsible journalism into Israel bashing when he publicizes your words.

      • Kathleen
        May 9, 2011, 11:53 am

        “They are armed and dangerous and care nothing for the lives of non-Jews.”

        I have heard many reports from Art Gish and other CPT (Christian Peace maker Team members) as well as others who have gone over to witness over the last 20 years. Have heard about how brutal some of these Israeli soldiers are. Hell now folks are documenting and putting up on you tube. Oh how things have changed over the last 10 years.

      • wondering jew
        May 9, 2011, 12:09 pm

        Kathleen- The key word that you use and which Jeff Blankfort omits is “some”. The cruelty and deep wrongness of acts by some of these people should cause a strong reaction. But to blanketly accuse all and omit the word “some” may be viscerally satisfying, but it’s not useful except to inspire passion (violence).

      • eljay
        May 9, 2011, 12:19 pm

        >> The cruelty and deep wrongness of acts by some of these people should cause a strong reaction. But to blanketly accuse all and omit the word “some” may be viscerally satisfying, but it’s not useful except to inspire passion (violence).

        You are correct. Please be sure also to admonish RW the next time he blanketly condemns “Hamas” instead of “some [members] of Hamas”.

      • American
        May 9, 2011, 2:55 pm

        I don’t know, I think Jeff was referring to a specific group.
        The reason some don’t alway use ‘some’ is probably because
        a lot of what we are talking about is ‘allowed” and encouraged by the State of Israel…..even if some Israelis object to it.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        May 10, 2011, 12:21 am

        Of course, “Israel bashing” is a problem for its defenders and those like WJ who refuse to accept what is a legitimate political position expose themselves as nothing more than hasbara operatives engaged in “damage control” regardless of whatever shortcomings they may concede from time to time exist within the self-styled Jewish state when Israel itself is an unmitigated “shortcoming.” But it should already be clear that doing just that is the reason they “contribute” to Mondoweiss

      • MRW
        May 10, 2011, 1:16 am

        Israel bashing is irresponsible journalism?

        Is America bashing irresponsible journalism?
        Is France bashing irresponsible journalism?
        Is Germany bashing irresponsible journalism?
        Is Canada bashing irresponsible journalism?
        Is China bashing irresponsible journalism?

        You sound like George Bush: you’re either with us or against us.

        Perhaps you don’t understand the constitutional concept here of checks and balances. Journalism is one of them, or it’s supposed to be (but our august group of mainline journalists have forgotten how to do it). Journalism, the Fourth Estate, is supposed to kick policy butt and ferret out the excesses of governmental power and misdemeanors, and those who commit them.

        As I said to Jonah, if you can’t stand the heat of nationhood, you should have stayed out of it.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 10, 2011, 7:13 am

        wj: “I think Phil Weiss crosses the line from responsible journalism into Israel bashing when he publicizes your words.”

        But isn’t that only your personal opinion as an Isaeli, wj? Blankfort’s words are rather moderate compared to some of the extreme views appearing often in the Israeli press. Do you have a double standard, one for the U.S. and one for Israel?

    • Kathleen
      May 9, 2011, 12:02 pm

      At a Palestinian solidarity rally in D.C. around 10 years ago I was able to briefly talk to one of the Hasidic Jew leaders ( an edge I guess because I was a woman, not sure) Anyway he explained that many Hasidic Jews do not feel the need for an Israeli state because their religious beliefs to where ever they go.

      Just looked for some of the you tube clips of Hasidic Jews who reject Zionism that used to be up at you tube. Can not find them

      • wondering jew
        May 9, 2011, 12:14 pm

        The name of those Jews is Neturei Karta. youtube that phrase and you’ll get a sample.

  12. Jeffrey Blankfort
    May 7, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Oops, it should have read when “Obama announced the Osama killing.” But I’m not the only one who got that mixed up.

    • Danaa
      May 7, 2011, 8:17 pm

      Freudian slip or inadvertent channeling tea party wishful thinking?

      Maybe that Osama/Obama business is just another indication we are all in the Matrix – lot of cross talk…..

  13. Richard Witty
    May 7, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Why the delay in approving my post above?

  14. Robert
    May 7, 2011, 9:38 pm

    Am I alone among readers in thinking that casual prediction of an attempted assassination of the President in Israel is wildly over-the-top?

    And that the theoretical assassination could be prevented by freeing Pollard?

    The reason why I bring up these points is that I think that MW typically publishes strong, pungent, but defensible material. It walks the line of credibility, and needs to always do this. The scenario laid out here (guaranteeing Obama’s safety by freeing Pollard) is extremist material.

    Finally, how about a conspiracy-theory-free understanding of OBL’s killing. Perhaps the timing was optimal for technical intelligence reasons.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 8, 2011, 1:01 am

      Robert, if you think that “prediction of an attempted assassination of the President in Israel is wildly over-the-top,” I would imagine that indeed you probably are alone here. If you know anything about Israeli society (and you probably do), you might want to say “that’s improbable,” but you will not want to maintain that it’s a crazy idea unless you wish to bring into question your own knowledge.

      You are quite correct in saying that freeing Pollard would not guarantee Obama’s safety among the Israeli public. Nothing can.

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 1:23 pm

        Hey, TR, we remember the murder of Count B. Need we need more?

    • Sin Nombre
      May 8, 2011, 1:07 am

      “Am I alone among readers in thinking that casual prediction of an attempted assassination of the President in Israel is wildly over-the-top?”

      Most definitely not. I was dismayed at reading this as I think stuff like this in reader comments is bad enough in terms of reflecting on a site’s readers, but to then see it hosted by the site itself. (One can just see the reaction in the future to citing to anything on this site: “Oh yeah, the site that said Obama was afraid to go to Israel for fear of assassination….”)

      Everyone makes mistakes though, and I think it’s a rare one for both Weiss’ site as well as for Blankfort.

      Really is off the wall: I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama pardons Pollard eventually, and maybe, given how shameless he’s been with Israel, even soon, but in the first place the idea that the Israelis wouldn’t do anything to prevent an American President being killed while visiting is just off the wall. These folks are not only security pros, but they’re P.R. pros even moreso, and just think of the repercussions….

      And then, secondly, the idea that after all his craven capitulations to Israel Obama is suddenly going to appease those who hate him there—when he’s not even pushing anything on them now—by simply releasing Pollard …

      A fever dream kinda thing on Blankfort’s part I gotta believe. Not condemning, we all get ‘em once in awhile, but….

      (And besides, if Obama is gonna release Pollard I suspect it will be just when he *does* go asking something big of Tel Aviv, which he isn’t now, or closer to the election when him doing something for Israel isn’t going to be forgotten by the voters.

      Just an all-out mess of a fever dream here methinks.)

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 1:26 pm

        The Israeli jews need not fear Obama. It’s not like he’s effectively doing anything or not different than Bush Jr. Chas Freeman can tell you what the score is, if you are willing to listen. If not, just talk to Dennis Ross.

      • Kathleen
        May 9, 2011, 11:49 am

        good point. But if he gets in another four years. Who knows what he could do. Obama might even go so far as to link US funding with the illegal settlements and threaten to cut off aid the way Bush 41 and James Baker did.

    • James
      May 8, 2011, 1:08 am

      robert the theoretical assassination caught my attention too… i am glad you are mentioning it here.. it is definitely on the edge in terms of articles with a lot of speculation in them of a very questionable nature… i do think the level of fanaticism that is being touched on here is relevant though… just how far people will go to justify their actions is generally shocking, especially when it comes to story lines like these…

      on the other hand having a president glorifying the assassination of a person in such a public way as obama has with osama would seem to be the height of depravity, especially when one sees folks cheering the streets over the death of another human being… their is something sick going on with the planet at present if these actions are any indication….

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Naw, just talk to any carnival barker.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        May 8, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Robert and others who think that I am over the top or out of line in suggesting publicly that Obama’s life would be in danger should he visit Israel either have never visited Israel or the West Bank and encountered its Jewish settlers, nor have they followed the racist fulminations of certain of Israel’s leading rabbis nor, apparently, are they familiar with the religious US Jewish press and particularly the odious paper that carries that name.

        Before Rabin was assassinated, the Jewish Press, [www.jewishpress.com/] which advertises itself as the leading independent Jewish paper in the US and is certainly the largest –the last time I saw a print copy, it was over 80 pages–used to run the columns of Meir Kahane as well as Mayor Ed Koch and after him Rudy Giuliani, all but called for taking out Rabin before it happened, and praised the mass murderer, Dr. Baruch Goldstein after his killing of 30 Palestinians while they were praying at the mosque in Al-Khalil, known outside of Palestine as Hebron. One can find a monument to Israel’s Dr. Death at the nearby town of Kiryat Arba and Rabin’s killer, Yigal Amir, while serving a life sentence in prison, remains a hero for many right-wing Israelis. Given the nature of statements that have been made in print as well as in comments about Obama on Israeli websites, the fact that he is the most unpopular US president in Israel since Jimmy Carter, his making a very public visit to Israel is something that to this point has clearly not been in the best interests of his health and maintaining a long and healthy life.

      • Kathleen
        May 9, 2011, 11:48 am

        This is important to think about. Makes sense.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 10, 2011, 7:43 am

        Jeffrey, I agree with you that the dangers to Obama in Israel would be far too great to risk. I’m surprised that anyone would think otherwise. But maybe such unawareness is to be expected.

        i

    • Sand
      May 8, 2011, 1:22 am

      Er No… you sickos have been trying to push Obama to visit the nut house (Israel) from the start… Why — escapes me?

      Sand [Jul 10 2009]: DK: “…I increasingly view the whole area as something close to a lunatic asylum…”

      I agree, so why in the world are we getting posts from pro-Israeli bloggers such as Strummerson [MYDD] and Jo-Ann Mort [TPM] expecting Obama to go and insert himself into Israel’s self-inflicted chaos? Especially at a time when it appears that Netanyahu is on the verge of having a psychotic meltdown, partly brought on by Obama’s demands for some payback for all the billions we give them, *AND* where you have Wormtongue [Arad] whispering his Netanyahu that ‘we’re gonna need MORE NUKES sire’!

      –Netanyahu adviser raises “MAD” nuclear scenario
      Thu Jul 9, 2009 8:58am EDT
      link to reuters.com

      And the we’re supposed to have a problem with Iran — god knows what the Iranians must be thinking.

      A visit from Obama, or Obama appearing on ‘Israeli Teevee’ as Lally over @ TPM puts it — would go down like a bloody lead balloon. We know that because we’re all read the level of venom coming out from the Jewish Right-wing blogs both here and over there — portraying Obama as the MUSLIM Satan wanting to destroy the Jews. A Jewish fanatic has already assassinated one politican [Rabin], who dared to dip his toe in trying to make peace with the Palestinians, and on at least two occasions [that I'm aware of] two important dignitaries [Blair & Sarkozy] have experienced some frightening lapses when relying on Israeli security.

      NO WAY, if I was Obama would I go within 300 hundred miles of that place — it’s full of nutters. And to top it off these guys have UNDECLARED Nukes?

      link to thewashingtonnote.com

      Nah sorry! I don’t want a sacrifice dangled out there for the benefit of an apartheid “Jewish State” thank you v. much.

      Blair bodyguard in security scare
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      Scare as Sarkozy departs Israel
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      • Sand
        May 8, 2011, 2:04 am

        And if anyone bothers to read the links… on our paranoid Israel:

        –Israel to buy 6th German submarine-official
        05 May 2011 19:59
        link to uk.reuters.com

        Just a reminder when you hear Merkel not wanting to recognize a Palestinian State.

      • Citizen
        May 8, 2011, 1:30 pm

        Merkel’s just an old hausfrau (and built like an old refridgerator) who wants to keep shopping for sweets at the Tel Aviv store. Back in the days of Adolph she would’ve been just another cog in the machine.

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 2:39 pm

        no money in it… interesting, thanks sand…

      • Sand
        May 8, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Yes, interesting, and a tad strange — Again, we’ll see what comes next — especially when yahoo comes to town.

      • Ellen
        May 8, 2011, 6:57 pm

        Citizen, your comment is outrageous and misogynistic. The expression “Hausfrau” is demeaning for any woman in the German language. Why is a mystery as a woman who manages a home and family is not to be dismissed. But society does that and places little value on that important social role.

        The expression brings images of a middle aged woman in isolation, little education, wearing an apron. A clueless peasant. Merkel is hardly that.

        Merkel, a trained Physicist is hardly that. And she has survived and prevailed enormous political political intrigues. She is much smarter than her surroundings.

        She is from East Germany and was on the streets every weekend during the Leipzig demonstrations before the fall of the wall.

        What do you mean she would have been a cog in the machine.

        She may not be a noisy politician in the tradition of American politics… and what does her figure have to do with anything?

        Geesh!!!

      • Citizen
        May 9, 2011, 8:18 am

        Ellen. You’re right. I apologize to all the ladies. What I meant to imply was that Germany has been selling those submarines to Israel at a deep discount while their own economy is in shambles, and those submarines sold to Israel likely carry nuclear-armed missiles–to threaten, if not demolish Iran because it’s getting too uppity in the region. I mean why should Iran want nukes? And when’s the last time Iran fought a war that was not in pure defense?
        Israel cannot say the same thing with a straight face. Merkel appears a hausfrau in the sense that she’s supporting Israeli aggression, expansion, and oppression of the Palestinian people in the manner many unthinking German women did back in the days of the Third Reich. In this sense, Hillary Clinton is also a “hausfrau,” although she’s well-educated and intelligent too. With such women in high place (Remember Golda Meir?), who needs Bush Jr, for example, or Obama–I wish they had been/are “Mr Mom.”

        BTW, I was an early Mr Mom. And I think being so, or a good traditional housewife, is a demanding and very worthy occupation. The challenge to produce kids with character in this day and age is more important than ever.

      • Sand
        May 8, 2011, 11:50 am

        Just noticed the latest Obama smear and usual distortion of the news going around the right-wing jewish blogs and newspapers (e.g. Jewish Voice 4/29/11) — I’m sure this news having made its way to Florida and Israel:

        Report: Obama’s Diplomatic Plan – PA State, No ‘Return’
        BY Maayana Miskin

        “…United States President Barack Obama has created his own diplomatic plan for talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to rival that of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to the New York Times.

        Obama’s plan is reportedly based on principles including: the creation of a PA state in Judea and Samaria, with borders based on the 1948 armistice line, the split of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, the negation of the PA “right of return” for descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, and a focus on Israel’s security needs. The details have yet to be determined, according to the Times report.

        link to israelnationalnews.com

        I don’t think Obama is going to win in 2012 (even with the promise of pro-Isarel $$$), or it’s going to be extremely difficult — I also think there’s a v. good chance the Democrats will also lose the Senate. Obama has tried courting everyone except his progressive base. The progressive blogs that were a hive of activity and enthusiasm during the run up to the 2008 election are nothing what they used to be. Daily Kos is total is total joke, and most of the other blogs are spending their time swimming in the news of Palin latest political faux-paus.

        Obama knowing he hasn’t got the backing of the ‘political’ Democratic base (because he screwed them), and is now going the GOP route — the Democratic party is basically dead.

        — Democrats copy GOP: New 2012 money groups formed by former Obama staffers [lynn Sweet 29/4/11]
        link to blogs.suntimes.com

        — Axelrod: Undisclosed donors necessary for Dems in ‘the system we have’ [Daniel Strauss 05/01/11]
        link to thehill.com

        P.S. I shouldn’t have used the word “sickos”, but it’s just I get a little exasperated sometimes at people not seeing/or wanting to see the true state of Israel.

  15. Elliot
    May 7, 2011, 10:01 pm

    Interesting speculation.
    Two questions:
    1. Why would the OBL killing not be enough to convince the Israelis that the U.S. has it in for Al-Qaeda/Hizbullah/Hamas ?
    2. If not, why will freeing Pollard be enough. The Israeli objection to Obama (besides populist overt racism because he has black skin) is their ideological rejection of Obama’s opposition to settlements. Netanyahu has managed to contain Obama on this issue but everybody knows that Obama still rejects Israel’s rightwing agenda. The Israelis don’t trust namby-pamby, Arab-loving Hussein Obama.
    Jonathan Pollard was imprisoned in 1987. I know Israel has tried to keep the story alive but Israelis under 35 won’t know the story of Jonathan Pollard. So, is Netanyahu trying for an even greater humiliation of Obama before telling Israelis to welcome Obama and allow him the photo-op with the Western Wall? Dunno. Sounds far-fetched to me. And he still has to make sure Obama won’t bite back on the settlements.

  16. Eva Smagacz
    May 8, 2011, 6:09 am

    Obama may or may not meant for the Israeli/Palestinian discourse to develop the way it did, but the progress that is taking place is quite remarkable.
    Settlements are no longer ignored by opinion makers, and discussing Israeli 60 year old intransigence in agreeing the peace with Palestinians is no longer the reason for loosing one’s career. Even “Jewish neighbourhoods” in East Jerusalem are called settlements these days.
    This is a remarkable progress.
    Let the Pollard be freed. Every American who will google his name will be exposed to more non-MSM-censored information than we could dream of.
    And if more Americans will wander what possessed the President to do such a thing…… the better.
    I cannot see too many disadvantages.
    I do not believe that Pollard will feel as safe, even in Israel as he does in his prison cell.

    • Citizen
      May 8, 2011, 1:39 pm

      Hi, Eva. I wish I shared your hope. Most Americans will never hear of Pollard–our MSM is now hijacked. Pollard is living high of the hog at taxpayor expense, living much better than a lot of Americans, sans worry about shelter or next meal.

  17. zafarz
    May 8, 2011, 8:36 am

    I would like to collect the $10 Jeff Blankfort made off his CIA friend. Here’s how:
    1-$5 says Obama will not release Pollard this year. He will not risk it.
    2-Another $5 says he will not be assassinated in Israel. Israel cannot risk it.
    Back to point 1, I would wager $5 for 2013 that he, or any incoming president will release Pollard.
    Regarding OBL, please see story below for another perspective link to sajepress.com

  18. Dr Gonzo
    May 8, 2011, 11:49 am

    Interesting speculation.

    Obama probably will go to Israel (doesn’t every US political leader have to make the trip before a Presidential Election?) of course Shin Bet would close the place down tight even excluding the IDF which Shin Bet no doubt considers to have been infiltrated considerably by settler extremists.

    At the end of the day Shin Bet will probably be able to successfully protect Obama from any threats. Don’t forget that Shin Bet is completely independent from the Israeli military and isn’t even under the Ministry of Defense so has been pretty isolated from any extremism in the military appartatus. Shin Bet also has the mandate for this work under its Protective Security Department one of three sections within the Shin Bet organisation which deals with the protecting of VIP’s.

  19. Jeffrey Blankfort
    May 8, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I am not sure how independent Shin Bet is from the takeover of the Israeli government by its fascist right wing. Obama’s visit needs to have a public aspect to it, not one in which everyone along the drive from the Tel Aviv airport to his hotel (or bunker) is told to stay indoors. Israel cannot be allowed to be confused for even a moment with Iraq or Afghanistan. Would he be invited to address the Knesset? If so, and he’s not physically assaulted, does anyone think for a moment that all of that world class body of racists would control themselves when they can’t even talk to one another in a civil manner?

    Re the settlements, the Israelis have seen Obama back down whenever he has been pushed by Netanyahu so they want something more from someone they view as an enemy and that is the gesture of freeing Pollard who is not just a hero to the old time Israeli racists. He is a hero to the settler youth, as well as well as those within Israel itself. This is not a joking matter, believe me and in Washington and Israel they will be taking every kind of precaution to protect him. but without some gesture that will keep those who hate him at bay, Obama can’t make that trip with any guarantee of safety. Which is why he hasn’t gone there two years into his administration.

    • James
      May 8, 2011, 2:52 pm

      what a pack of ironies the usa/israel relationship is!

    • Elliot
      May 9, 2011, 8:21 am

      I expect my comment is showing up in the baby blue section. How special we baby blue commenters are….
      Interesting observation. Obama would like to visit Israel but cannot. I haven’t seen any criticism in the Jewish/Israeli mainstream of Obama for not making a pilgrimage recently. Your analysis would explain their silence. They don’t want the American public to be aware of the danger the State of Israel poses to their president. Obama, of course, has no interest in talking about this.

  20. Leper Colonialist
    May 9, 2011, 1:12 pm

    February 32, 2012 [Some Alternate Universe I'd Like To Visit] President Barack Obama, addressing the Israeli Knessett, and respondingto repeated Israeli and Israeli-influenced domestic American demands that he pardon convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, asked that the Israeli judiciary reopen the case of convicted Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vannunu.

    “This is a man who was drugged, kidnapped and coverly spirited from Italy to Israelby the Mossad. By comparison, Pollard tried to flee to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C in the vain hope that he would be offered sanctuary. He pled guilty on open court to a series of uncontested charges, charges much less serious than could have been lodged against him. To this day, he remains neither grateful nor cooperative nor repentent considering how lightly he has been treated.”

    Continuing further, the POTUS said that “continued Israeli harping on this issue, and it is nothing but harping, which is purely with thr sovereign jurisdiction if the US and it’s judicial system, cannot help but have a detrimental effect on good relations between the two countries. A word to the wise is generally sufficient, but it’s impossible to forget the mule-like stubborness and world-class self-righteouness of the folks we’re dealing with here.”

    The POTUS rhetorically observed “our friends in Israel might be a tad bit discomforted if the US were to abrogate and denounce the US-Israeli agreement clossing the books on the USS Liberty, and seek to reopen that case at every oportunate moment. Will it have to come to that?”

  21. American
    May 9, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I have no idea what Obama will do on Pollard.
    After studying O for 4 years every time I think I see some there there…..pouff, it disappears!

    Releasing Pollard might be good…if O does it before the election and it becomes a campign issue…”If’ it would even become a campaign issue…”If” the media even menitoned it…”If” the repubs were willing to ditch the lobby to use it against Obama…..all of which is doubtful.

    But O is really in campaign mode already…..I heard him say today that he ‘didn’t lose any sleep’ over killing Osama…..so he’s manning up with the tough guy persona.

  22. MRW
    May 10, 2011, 2:52 am

    Check this out…Marty Peretz, December 25, 2010, Mr. President: Do Not Free Jonathan Pollard

    In the first instance and despite the brazen insinuations of his supporters, Jonathan Pollard is not a Jewish martyr. He is a convicted espionage agent who spied on his country for both Israel and Pakistan (!)—a spy, moreover, who got paid for his work. His professional career, then, reeks of infamy and is suffused with depravity. It is true that Pollard has achieved the status of hero for some in Israel. But you should know exactly who these people are: They are professional victims, mostly brutal themselves, who originate in the ultra-nationalist and religious right. They are insatiable. And they want America to be Israel’s patsy.
    .
    They are also not democrats in any sense of the word, and their call for “justice” in this case is probably the only instance in which they have been moved by a sense of mercy for pretty much anyone.
    .
    If you release Pollard, you would be encouraging the kind of ideological blackmail that has paralyzed Israeli politics not just in the ongoing diplomatic torpor (in which I believe, as you well know, that it is not Jerusalem at fault) but through the general assault on civil liberties and freedoms that make the Jewish state so distinctive in the Middle East. I know, Mr. President, that you are not responsible for the health of Israel’s democracy. But you will find that bending to this demand for ransom will only encourage the extortionists in Israel to attempt to hijack grand politics in an ever grander manner.
    .
    The tacticians on the Israeli far-right argue (dishonestly in my view) that, if you give Pollard to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Bibi will be less constrained and constricted in his diplomacy. Some journalists and commentators have bought this stratagem. (I am surprised to read that also Barney Frank is in this camp.) This is a fundamental and, for some, a deliberate misreading of the dynamics of Israeli statecraft. One hand does not wash the other in Jerusalem, at least not for more than a day or two.
    .
    Actually, I was relieved to read that your press counselor had said that Pollard was not on your mind. But, Mr. President, I understand that it might just be easier to let the culprit go. That’s one way to stop the incessant special pleading.
    [...]
    Pollard is the single repellent figure in this history. It would be a disservice to both Zion and what our forefathers called the “new American Zion” to appear to cleanse this viper. Make no mistake about this: Your clemency for Pollard will be widely seen as a cleansing.

  23. Leper Colonialist
    May 10, 2011, 7:49 am

    WOW, does Marry Peretz know that someone has hacked into his computer and writing stuff under his name?

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