Ten days ago, Tablet called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, who spied on the U.S. for Israel, after 27 years in prison and said that his continued imprisonment reflects anti-Semitism, inasmuch as the government is imputing dual loyalty to all American Jews.
Abe Foxman agrees. The 73-year-old leader of the Anti-Defamation League published a response, January 16, saying that he has reversed his earlier view that the government’s case was not anti-Semitic. No, it’s a “vendetta” against Jews to “intimidate” them and communicate that they are more loyal to Israel than the U.S. Excerpt:
I am not one to equate what Pollard did, to betray his country, to the recent revelations that the United States has been spying on top Israeli leaders. Here too, however, these revelations add further context to the absurdity of the ongoing vendetta against this one man.
Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.
In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.
In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.
I come to this conclusion with much sorrow and, as noted, as someone who resisted efforts early on to connect the Pollard affair to anti-Semitism. It is harder and harder to do so any longer.
I’d only point out that this is a man who is regularly invited to the White House to confer with Obama about our Iran policy, and then slams the president publicly in what his organization describes as “a series of media interviews in Israel.” Then he had a gala at which he slammed the US government even as Vice President Biden was hugging him. That access reflects the power of the lobby, and Foxman’s claims about Jewish persecution bespeak some degree of entitlement, or nuttiness. I wonder how Obama gets through those meetings.