Thursday 30 July 2015

Jonathan Pollard – Cruel Injustice.


Why is the US justice system continuing to punish Jonathan Pollard even as they announce the date of his incarceration? 

Now that he has served his unjust thirty years prison sentence, they are insisting that he must remain in the states for a further five years even though his wife lives in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. This is where he wants to spend the rest of his life and end his days.

This is double-down cruel justice by the US Administration heaped on top on an unjust sentence to begin with.

If you want to see American injustice, take the Pollard case as a perfect example.

Let’s begin by studying the crimes that Pollard committed and compare them and his sentence to other, more dangerous spies for the United States.

The information he passed to Israel, an ally of America, were details on Iraqi and Syrian weapons of mass destruction, Soviet arms shipments to Damascus and Libyan air defenses. These are all enemies of both Israel and America and all information that the United States withheld from Israel in violation of the 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel.

Simply put, Pollard did not pass damaging us military secrets. Nor did he compromise, damage or harm CIA or other US intelligence personnel.  It was all information that America should have delivered to their Main ally in the Middle East, Israel, according to this agreement, but didn’t!

In truth, pollard was poorly represented by his legal team, but they did strike a plea bargain which pointed to a 20 year maximum term, if not less.

In other words, Pollard came clean but got clobbered with a hugely disproportionate sentence for spying for an ally, as opposed for spying for an enemy.

Aldrich Aimes, as an example was convicted in 1994 for spying for Russia. He did betray CIA sources and several agents were killed as a result of his betrayal.

While Pollard remained incarcerated, the US handed back to Russia ten Soviet spies, including Anna Chapman, Donald Howard Heathfield, Tracy Lee Ann Foley, Patricia Mills, Richard and Cynthia Murphy in a spy exchange with Russia.

Nobody has been sentenced to such an unjustly long sentence for spying for an ally. Usually the sentence is less than ten years. It is so outlandish that questions have been asked. Former CIA Director, James Wolsey, has said that, in his opinion, that Pollard was being punished excessively because he is a Jew. Clearly there is a hint of a warning to American Jews about dual loyalties.

There is also evidence that pollard has been cynically played by the US Administration as a political hostage, or a pawn, against unfolding events in the Middle East.

Last year, Israel acceded to demands to release murderous Palestinian terrorists with a Pollard release as a sweetener. The process was disrupted by obstruction from the PA in Ramallah.  Pollard himself pleaded not to be traded for Palestinian murderers and terrorists.  As such, Pollard exhibited a higher moral stance than the US Administration.

That Pollard is a hostage to persuade Israel to make dangerous concessions was divulged by negotiator, Dennis Ross, in his book ‘The Missing Peace.’ He admitted that he advised President Clinton against releasing Pollard in the framework of the 1998 Wye Accords negotiated by Israel’s Netanyahu.

Ross argued that Pollard was simply far too valuable as a bargaining chip with Israel to be released so cheaply.

Israeli TV investigative reporters told Israeli viewers that there is no law on the US statute books that insist that a released prisoner be retained in the country and not free to leave America. This is merely the prerogative of the parole board of the US president.
Going forward, it is my impression that Jonathan Pollard will continue to be used as a political tool in the 2016 Presidential Race. If needed, the permission for Pollard to be allowed to join his wife in Israel will be used for political gain if it is felt necessary for the Democrats to win over more of the Jewish vote.

Quite simply, the details of his incarceration and further post-release punishment of Pollard is morally repugnant.

It also serves as an example that the US will defend its perceived best interests even if that means punishing an ally by not fully supporting Israel as it should. 

It also means that Israel must defend its own interests for survival even if that means not relying on our most important and major ally in the world.

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’ He is also the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’  Both are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The 14th European Maccabi Games. A triumph of the Jewish People over Hitler.

The 14th European Maccabi Games, which opened on Tuesday, July 29, almost 70 years since the notorious Berlin Olympic Games of 1936, was a triumphal statement by Jewish sports men and women that Am Israel really is chai.

More than 2300 Jewish competitors from 36 nations, including from Israel, celebrated an affirmative Jewish return to Hitler's stadium to declare the vibrancy and spirit of the Jewish People through sport.

They have been joined by delegations from the United States, Canada, South Africa and Mexico making it a de facto World Jewish Games.

The Maccabiah Games, held every four years in Israel, is frequently called the Jewish Olympic Games. It will be interesting to see how many of the competitors in the current European Games decide to express their talent and Jewish identity by making Aliyah to the Jewish State.

Like persecutors of the Jews for centuries, Hitler is dead, the Nazis were defeated, and the Jews return to express their continuance, their determination to survive and to celebrate life.

However, there remains a residue of anti-Semitism, and a revival of violent resentment against Jews, in Europe.

Following a tempestuous year for the Jews of Europe, this sporting gathering is an opportunity to express Jewish solidarity and joy.

For all the participants, these Games, in this place, will be a significant moment in their lives as long as they live.

Let's wish them a successful, enjoyable, memorable, and safe Games.

                                                   photo - Getty.
                                               photo - Rafael Herlich.

Thursday 23 July 2015

The Best Lack All Conviction.

While I was on a speaking and book promotion tour of the Netherlands, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, was on an official visit to Israel.

During his visit, Koenders instructed his embassy to find a way to express the close relations between his country and the Jewish State. He also voiced his country’s opposition to BDS.

While cultural exchanges would be a good start, a more affirmative Dutch action against   massive diplomatic injustice and damage being caused to Israel in international forums would be far more valuable than an occasional exchange of artists.

Much of this damage is caused by a total lack of morality by European officials, including the Dutch government

Let me explain.

During my public speeches, I listed egregious cases of cynical Dutch diplomatic decisions that reflected far worse against Koenders’ government than against Israel.

Recently, the Dutch government decided to cut the pension of a 90 year old Holocaust survivor who left Holland to spend her last days with her children and grandchildren in Israel. The reason given for this pension cut was that this lady’s family lived just over the Green Line and not, according to Koenders’ government, in Israel proper.
This raises the questions, who gave the Dutch government the right to decide where the borders of Israel should be, or where a Dutch Holocaust survivor chooses to live?

In a talk I gave in the Anne Frank Hall of the Jewish Liberal Center in Amsterdam, I pointed out that, had she survived, that lady could have been Anne Frank. This act was disgracefully shameful from a Dutch government with an appalling record toward its wartime Jews. That it would, today, continue to punish a Dutch Holocaust survivor over its grievance or difference of opinion with the Israeli government is shameful. Victimizing a 90 year old Jewish woman is not way for any liberal democracy to behave.

The shame goes on.

In my talks I mentioned a recent United Nations vote on children in warzones that condemned only Israel. With a horrendous vote of 104 nations it called Israel the worst violator of children’s rights. Only four voted correctly in defense of Israel. They were the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel.

Notice the total lack of European nations. Not one European country had the moral commitment to say that this decision was wrong. Not one European nation had the morality to vote against that motion, including a Dutch government that so often projects itself as the high moral authority when it comes to Israel.

This pattern was repeated when the World Health Organization named Israel as the worst violator of health rights. Again, no European nation had the courage to object to such a heinous charge. Holland, like all the other cynical European nations, chose to abstain rather than stand for truth and justice.
Just before I left for my speaking engagements in Holland, the Dutch government issued a travel advisory warning their citizens visiting Israel to avoid rock-throwing Jews!

I brought with me a Jerusalem Post news item, dated June 26, in which four Palestinians were convicted for throwing rocks that almost led to the death of Ziona Kala. Kala was in a coma for weeks following this attack. She was luckier than most, and I listed the names of Israeli Jews who have been killed by rock-throwing Arabs.

As I told my audiences, if the Dutch government does not have the decency to stand for truth and justice and, instead, participates in the ongoing slander against the Jewish State, then shame on them, and shame on all Dutch people that permit their government to continue committing such an affront against my country. I urged them to lobby their political representatives over such injustices.

The Dutch Foreign Minister said his country is opposed to BDS, but its actions parallel some of the aims of the BDS Movement, namely the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.

I had the distinct opportunity of putting BDS activists in their place when they attempted to intrude into my talk in Amsterdam. I find individual BDS activists emotionally eloquent, but intellectually bankrupt. With facts and truth, I found it easy to expose them for the liars and cheap hypocrites that they are. 
The same facts and truths must be employed by the Dutch government, indeed every European government, when it comes to standing with or against Israel.

Sadly, each and every European government in recent years has been swayed by cynical self-interest or ignorance by leaving Israel isolated on issues and resolutions that merit their commitment and support.

The poet, W.B.Yeats, wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

In the halls of international diplomacy, this is true. The worst regimes overwhelmingly pass hateful anti-Israel resolutions without objections from what ought to be decent and moral governments.

The time had come for the European diplomatic community to counter each anti-Israel motion with the truth and justice they deserve, and vote accordingly. 

Only then will we see the chambers of the United Nations, the EU, and the World Health Organization, being led by so-called strong liberal democracies, and not by Third World tyrants.

Barry Shaw is the Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’