Several Israeli politicians are demanding Jonathan Pollard’s release from prison following recent revelations by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden that in 2009, the NSA was spying on former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
“This is a severe case and I hope this is the iceberg rather than the tip of the iceberg,” Knesset Speaker Edelstein declared.
“Otherwise, this case is liable to do damage to our relations with the US,” he warned.
“For 28 years, the US administration has been preaching to Israel about the danger and the lack of trust that results from spying on allies, and today it turns out the shoe is on the other foot. There is no way to characterize it other than hypocrisy.”
“The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz stated. “The US is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?”
“We cannot let such revelations pass quietly. Like Germany and Brazil, we should ask the US for clarification, or at least confirmation that such spying has stopped,” Labor Member of Knesset Nachman Shai asserted.
Already in 2011, renowned international lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who had been among prominent Americans arguing for years that Pollard’s sentence was excessive, stated in an article published on NewsMax:
“There are several reasons why justice demands that Jonathan Pollard — given a life sentence for spying on the United States for Israel — be commuted to time served and that he be immediately released.
“The first is a legal and constitutional argument. Pollard, an NIS intel analyst convicted in 1987, waived his right to trial by jury in exchange for a promise by the government that it would not seek life imprisonment. The government broke that promise.
“It submitted a perjured affidavit by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger demanding life imprisonment and overstating the damage that Pollard had caused. This was a direct breach of the plea bargain….
“I know of no other case in American jurisprudence in which a plea bargain has been so blatantly violated and the violation approved by an appellate court,” Dershowitz said.
On Sunday morning, at the weekly cabinet briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented:
“We do not need any special event in order to discuss the release of Jonathan Pollard. We are dealing with it. I am dealing with it, with all US presidents, including President Obama, all the time, including now. We hope that the conditions will be created that will enable us to bring Jonathan home.”
The NSA responded to the allegations that it had spied on Israeli government officials by saying that it is “not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported. NSA spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan added that the US “gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
Author: United with Israel staff
Date: Dec. 22, 2012