By Roland S. Martin
The next time an Israeli official petitions the U.S. government to release American traitor Jonathan Pollard from prison, we should tell our friend and longtime ally in an unequivocal tone: He will die in an American prison, so stop asking!
Now I know that’s not how our State Department practices diplomacy, but there is no reason for the United States to be diplomatic with Israel when it comes to Pollard, a former Navy intelligence officer who stole secrets from this country and passed them on to Israel.
Since he was convicted of espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison, thousands of Israelites have made it their mission to get him released and sent to Israel. Why? So he could be treated like a hero?
Let’s be clear: Jonathan Pollard is no hero. Other than an American killing a president, he committed the most heinous crime someone from this country could do. You don’t go against your own country by passing on secrets to another nation, even if it’s an ally like Israel. The crime of treason is even specifically addressed in the U.S. Constitution.
This week, Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was in town to receive the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, brought with him a petition signed by 70,000 Israelites calling for the released of Pollard.
He told Fox News that Israelis “feel very strongly about (Pollard.) And I understand their sentiment. But I am doing it not as a diplomat … but as a human being.”
Yet Israeli leaders have used their official position to seek Pollard’s release.
In 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first go-round as prime minister of Israel, demanded Pollard’s release as part of his attendance at the Wye River Conference, an effort to broker peace in the Middle East.
Various reports from Israelis who have talked with Netanyahu said Clinton either considered releasing him or actually agreed to do so but later reneged.
In 2002, Netanyahu even visited Pollard in prison.
During Pollard’s trial, he was accused of also attempting to pass classified information in to Australia, South Africa and Pakistan.
In short, Pollard is a deviant man who sold his country out for money, and no sort of pressure from Israel or any other country should keep a single American official from relenting.
When asked this week about the request of Peres, White House press secretary Jay Carney said: “Our position has not changed and will not change today.
Mr. Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes.”
It would behoove President Barack Obama to go even further. He should say that as long as he is president of the United States, Pollard will never be a free man and will remain locked up.
And while we are at it, we should also tell Congressmen Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., to pipe down. Those two are seeking House members to sign a letter saying Pollard has served in prison long enough, and since his health is reportedly failing, should be released.
Really? So is this how they feel about a member of our military who sold this nation out?
America should make no apologies. Jonathan Pollard deserves to rot in prison. When he joined the Navy, he took the same oath every member of the military must say: “I, Jonathan Pollard, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The next time an Israeli official presses for Pollard’s release, we should give them a copy of this and say, “Enough said.”
Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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