Volume 10 Number 70
                       Produced: Sun Dec 19 23:41:31 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A NEW LIST: jpol -- Jewish Politics
         [Rob Slater]
Jonathan Pollard (4)
         [YOUNGS, Lawton Cooper, Yisrael Medad, Finley Shapiro]
Jonathan Pollard and Pidyon Shvuyim
         [Michael Kramer]
Wolf Blitzer on Pollard
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: <slater@...> (Rob Slater)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 01:00:30 -0500
Subject: A NEW LIST: jpol -- Jewish Politics

[This was posted by Rob to the JEM list, I thought it was worthwhile
sending it on to this list as well.
Much of the rest of this mailing probably belongs on this new list. The
questions about whether this is a case of Pidyon Shevuyim, about what
constraints an Halacha may impose on taking certain types of security
jobs, that belongs here, in my opinion. Issues about how waht Pollard
did is or is not similar to other spy cases, the political organizing to
help get him free, etc, that I believe belongs in jpol. I've tried to
get everything in queue on Pollard into this issue. Any new submissions
on Pollard will have to pass a mail-jewish vs jpol examination. Mod.]
	Since demand exists, I am starting a Jewish Political mailing
list.  This list shall be unmoderated and open to the public.  Anyone
who wants to discuss anything from Israeli politics, to Diaspora
politics, to shul politics is invited to subscribe and participate on
the list.

	This list shall also act as a political announcement and request
for action list.  So, if you are running a campaign to help the Jewish
homeless or would just like to get a pair of Rabbis freed from jail
because they had the word "mossad" on their business cards, this is a
great place to do it (mossad, BTW, is a real Hebrew word -- it means
foundation, and yes the story about the Rabbis is true; but do not
worry, they are out of jail now and back in Israel).

	Hopefully, jpol will pick up the miscellaneous political
discussion that has been occuring here on the JEM list.

	If jpol sounds like a list for you, I encourage you to subscribe
and join in on the lively discussions that will surely take place on the
list.  To subscribe, send E-Mail to <listserv@...>  Leave the
subject field blank and in the body of the message type the text "sub
jpol <First Name> <Last Name>" (leave out the quotes and fill in your
first and last name).
[To get more info on the list, send the message: info jpol
to: <listserv@...> Mod.]

 Rob Slater
 Maintainer: Jewish Political Discussion Mailing List (<jpol@...>)


Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 19:08:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Jonathan Pollard

I find it quite surprising that there is such debate about Jonathan
Pollard in this forum.  To me, it seems that Pollard's case is highly
analogous to the famous Dryfus case.  A Jew has been given an unfair
shake specifically because he is a Jew, with the accompanying solitary
confinement, and the like.  Intellectually, I am sure there are great
differences between the two cases, but emotionally, it is unclear how
anyone could not at least sniff the memory of Dreyfus in the air when
Pollard's name comes up.
    Regardless of the details, the tachlis is that he is a Jewish pri-
soner and we must work to get him out.  In fact, the campaign has
reached the yeshivish gadolim (if I can trust the posters I see every-
where), most of whom could hardly be accused of being overly political.
It is claimed by them that aiding his release fulfills the mitzvah of
pidyon of captives.  What more do we need?
    (By the way, I do not mean that this is necessarily binding psak for
all of us regardless of which camp we're in.  What I mean is that these
gedolim were not previously active in the Pollard area to my knowledge,
and their involvement now means that basically all factions seem to be
in agreement on both matters of theory and practice.)
    As far as intellectual/factual argumentation goes, I have responded
to some of the matters raised in Vol. 10, #64 below.

>Sam Saal <SSAAL@...> writes:
>>>All these other people accused of spying (who got off with light
>>>sentences) were not citizens of the USA.  When a foreign citizen spies,
>>>it is espionage.  When an American deliberately violates his security
>>>clearance and gives secrets away, it is treason and not espionage.

Treason and espionage are specific legal terms in this case.  Espionage
means spying.  Treason is a more serious charge meaning aiding an enemy
in times of war.  (More on the specifis of Pollard's case later).  There
is no need to debate semantics here -- the legal definitions are clear.

>>>Jonathan Pollard was not some foreign agent infiltrating an American
>>>military organization.  He was an officer who swore oaths and signed
>>>documents stating that he would safeguard the state secrets that he had
>>>access to.  He violated those oaths and contracts.
>Jay?  Who's Jay?  And if his life sentance was a plea bargain, it
>was probably the worst one ever bargained.

Jonathan Jay Pollard is sometimes refered to by his middle name as well.
His plea bargain specifically stated that he was not to get a life
sentence.  However, the plea bargain was violated -- this is part of the
"Justice for Pollard" argument.  I believe other parts of the agreement,
such as those dealing with Anne Pollard were also violated.

>I have yet to see one comparable case that got a lighter sentance.
>Show me a case of American civilians betraying secrets where the
>sentance was lighter.  Be sure it is a case where the person involved
>signed documents and took oaths to protect the secrecy of the
>documents involved.
>There is a lot more at stake than simply the transfer of a classified
>document.  There is also the case of deliberately, and voluntarily
>violating asecurity clearance.  There's also an example to be made.
>What do you think would happen if people around the nation discover
>that they can give over documents that they are sworn to protect
>any time they think there is a "higher need" to, and then get off
>serving a few years in prison.

The famous case of the Walkers, who sent information to the Soviets
during the height of the Cold War while being officers in the U.S.
navy (and therefore being subject to stiffer penalties and oaths to
maintain secrecy) resulted in verdicts of treason.  The longest sentence
received by them to my knowledge was 25 years.  Pollard was convicted,
after pleading guilty, to espionage, a lesser offence, and received
a much harsher punishment.
>>Pollard aided Israel in its war against terrorism when the US
>>Intelligence Services were not fulfilling the terms of the
>>Executive Agreement signed with Israel in 1982.
>What does this agreement have to do with anything?  Since when is
>it up to individuals to decide when a treaty is not being upheld,
>and when is it every individual's duty to take actions into his
>own hands when he decides this?  If this was the real reason, then
>he should have gone through channels to get approval, and have
>the information officially sent.
>As I've stated before, the information's contents is irrelevant.
>The point is that he did exactly what he swore he would never do
>when he got his clearance.
It is true that Pollard broke his oath, and violated his security
clearance and the law.  But it is also true that he probably saved
countless Jewish (and Arab) lives with the information he provided.
In Pollard's father-in-law's book, he describes how the data Pollard
transmitted helped avert a war with Syria, who had attained superiority
in electronic warfare via Soviet help.  Pollard's data helped the
Israeli's develop countermeasures, which when revealed deterred the
Syrians.  In addition to the counter-terror efforts that Pollard helped,
as described by Yisrael Medad, Pollard revealed critical information
about the Iraqi nonconventional weapon programs.  There really does seem
to be no end to the services he provided Israel, and therefore the
Jewish lives he saved.  Halakhically, I think he was on pretty safe
ground acting as he did.
    With regard to going through channels, it is well known that he first
attempted to do this.  With regards to the anti-aircraft missiles that
the Israelis did not know the Syrians had, he asked his superiors why
the data was not being passed.  They responded (not knowing he was
Jewish) "Once the Jews lose a few planes, they'll figure out which
frequencies to jam."  So much for going through channels.
>Finally, Wolf Blitzer's book on the Pollard affair makes it clear that the
>crucial element in his sentencing was the long presentencing memo
>submitted by then Defense Secretary Caspar Weiberger. In a highly unusual
>procedure, this memo was secret and has never been declassified. It seems
>that whatever Weinberger said convinced the judge that the damaged Pollard
>has caused to U.S. national security was sufficiently severe to justify a
>draconian sentence. Without access to this memo, it is extremely difficult
>for any of us to pass judgment on the sentence.

    We may not be able to pass judgement, but we do know halakhically
we must to everything we can to redeem captives, as Jews can not be
guarranteed justice at all times at the hands of non-Jews.
    Further, as mentioned, Weinberger's very unusaul memo, submitted
by this (probably Jewish) highly anti-Israel antisemite was probably
a critical factor.  In fact, it has been claimed that Weinberger was
so enraged by how much Pollard helped Israel that he lashed back, using
Pollard as whipping boy to "get Israel."  This seems to put a great
strain on relying on Weinberger's memo as proof of anything.

>It should be noted that what intelligence agencies fear most is not
>disclosure of actual intelligence but of "methods and sources." All
>intelligence that is passed along to foreign agencies, be it MI6 or
>Germany's BND or the Mossad, is first "scrubbed" to remove any traces
>of how it was obtained. It's very likely that the real damage done by
>Pollard was the compromising of sources.
I feel sorry for the damage caused by Pollard's lack of scrubbing of the
data he passed, thereby compromising sources (this can cause deaths).
However, this is the fault of the U.S., which would have never had the
problem had it simply lived up to its signed agreements.  Look at it
as Divine retribution, midah k'neged midah.

    The Jewish people should be ashamed at the lack of support we have
given Pollard.  This goes for the Israeli government, that could have
given him amnesty but instead threw him out of the embassy in Washington,
as well as the pathetic Jews in America who were afraid for their own
skins, as they always seem to be.  Both left Pollard out to dry at the
mercies of "the goyim," in this case the U.S. government, press, etc.  I
shudder to think of the g'zerot written in Shamayim against the Jews
(chas v'shalom) due to this terrible betrayal.  In retrospect, future
generations will be shocked by the story and our lack of action.  (By the
way, the toes I step on here are my own as well, since I am both Israeli
and American).
    Pollard, on the other hand, has suffered greatly for his courage.
Betrayed by all, his wife abused and marriage ruined, his plea bargain
violated, he still works tirelessly in jail, studying, for example,
desalinization for the day when he will be freed and can go to Israel.
He has even become a ba'al teshuva in jail.  With the thousands of lives
he may have saved, plus the tremendous yisurim he has suffered in haolom
hazeh, he has earned haolom haba a hundred times over in my human eyes.

    Shimshon Young

From: <Lawton_Cooper@...> (Lawton Cooper)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93  10:49:24 EST
Subject: Jonathan Pollard

I am interested in the Halachic issues surrounding the Jonathan Pollard
case, both from his perspective (was his act justified by Jewish law?)
and that of Jews, especially those of us in America, deciding whether we
are obligated to seek Mr. Pollard's release from prison under the law of
Pidyon Sh'vuim (redemption of Jews held captive by non-Jews).  By the
way, I am personally convinced that we should seek his release through
legal means, and have sent electronic messages to the President and Vice

Regarding the applicability of Pidyon Sh'vuim, it seems to me that a
number of the issues cited in previous M.J. postings are relevant.
These include:
1) His action was aimed to save Jewish lives without jeapordizing any
innocent life or his own country's security
2) The United States was not honoring its security commitment to Israel
3) He was clearly not given due process, in that he was lead to believe
that if he plead guilty he would be given a lighter sentence
4) He has already been punished quite severely
5) He does not pose a threat to the Jewish people either directly or
through further actions that would elicit hatred of Jews by non-Jews

The overriding Halachic issues include:
1) For what kind of "crimes" or "criminals" does the law of Pidyon
Sh'vuim apply?
2) How does the nature of the local society or government come into
3) To what extent does the Jewish community, guided by its spiritual
leaders, have the right to determine when someone was given a raw deal
by a non-Jewish legal system?
4) How does the possibility of retribution against the Jewish community
for advocating the release of a Jewish prisoner apply?

Regarding Mr. Pollard the Halachic questions (for future cases) include:
1) Should a Jew ever accept a job for a country other than Israel with
security clearance? (this was raised by Yisroel Rotman)
2) When is it permissible to violate a the law of the land in order to
help the Jewish people, particularly where Jewish lives may be at stake?
Is it ever obligatory if one's own life or welfare may be jeapordized
by violating the local law?  Obviously the nature of the society in
which one lives has some impact on this question.

I would appreciate some relevant Halachic sources on these and other
relevant questions.

Chag Sameach,


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 93 09:54:26 -0500
Subject: Jonathan Pollard

Re: Vol 10 N 64 and D. Charlap's comment on the lousy plea-bargaining:

First of all, his name is Jay.  I think human beings are humans and to
call one by his name, despite the fact that I happen to know him well
and have met with him twice in jail, is to be human and not churly.
Secondly, the plea-bargaining was bad as it was for two reasons:
a) his main motivation was for his (then) wife, Ann, who was
seriously ill;
b) his lawyers were lousy and to a certain extent were too closely
involved with the gov't agencies they were supposed to have been
defending Jay against (ignoring the fact that they are Lebanese
If Professor of Law, David Libai, Israel's (Labor) Minister of
Justice can talk with Janet Reno on Jay's behalf for almost an hour,
I can expect that Jay get a fair hearing on this net.

Yisrael Medad

From: Finley Shapiro <Finley_Shapiro@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 01:06:05 -0500
Subject: Jonathan Pollard

For the benefit of those who do not follow the Pollard case in the
American press, there has been some news of interest in recent weeks.  I
hope this is not out-of-date by the time it is posted.  First, President
Clinton's advisors are apparently recommending against releasing
Pollard.  Second, even if Clinton does nothing, Pollard becomes eligible
for parole in 1995, well before Clinton's term ends in January 1997.  I
don't know what will determine whether or not he is released on parole,
and if he is released I don't know if he would be allowed to travel to
Israel or not.  Some have suggested that Pollard's sentence will be
shortened to end in 1995 when he becomes eligible for parole.  Since
some of the complaints from the American Jewish community have been
about the conditions in the prison where he is being held, it seems to
me that another possibility might be to transfer him to a different
prison where Jewish chaplaincy services and kosher meals are available.


From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1993 09:41:21 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Jonathan Pollard and Pidyon Shvuyim

Besides being, IMHO, rather unenlightening so far, the recent shaklah
ve'tarya [give and take, debate] about Pollard seems inappropriate for
this list.  But the appearance of the mailings here did bring to mind some

1.	Can the Pollard case be construed as a case of pidyon shvuyim? 
The merits of the particular case aside, can any case of a Jew being
imprisoned fall under the rubric of pidyon shvuyim [redeeming the captive]?

2.	In cases where pidyon shvuyim is invoked, does/must the Jewish
community first consider the merits of the case?  In other words, is the
individual tried in absentia by the community before it commits its
resources, or does it rescue first and ask questions later?

Michael Kramer
UC Davis


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 93 09:54:31 -0500
Subject: Wolf Blitzer on Pollard

Further to my comments on the V10 N64 positings on Pollard:
I have in my possession (and it cannot be publicized) a 83-page,
legal-size, handwritten response to Blitzer's book pointing out the
too numerous errors and mistakes in the book by the person
who most intimately knows.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 10 Issue 70