Monday, August 03, 2015

Andrew Bacevich on Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard's impending release

Andrew Bacevich writes about the American Jonathan Pollard, convicted and long imprisoned for espionage on behalf of Israel (American traitor, Israeli hero Politico 07/30/2015):

On all matters touching on security, Israel plays hardball. It does not view itself as beholden to the United States or bound by American concerns, a reality that Israeli governments regularly affirm in word and deed. That seriousness ought to command respect. It should also elicit an equally serious American response. That response should take the form of a candid acknowledgment that where U.S. and Israeli security interests diverge, the United States need not be bound by Israeli concerns.

In negotiating a nuclear accord with Iran, of course, the Obama administration has done just that, which is what makes the deal such a startling departure from standard American practice. Obama has refused to defer to the demands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and he just might get away with it.

Opponents of that deal have responded with a torrent of criticism. What’s so striking about their objections is that they consist largely of talking points that Netanyahu himself might have drafted. Obama’s American critics fail even to make any effort to distinguish between the U.S. interests and Israeli interests involved, preferring to sustain the fiction that those interests align.

Indeed, the critics seem less interested in evaluating the pros and cons of the agreement than in affirming their own “passionate attachment” to Israel. That phrase, coined by George Washington, warns of the dangers that result from indulging in misplaced affection for another country. [my emphasis]
Timothy Phelps reports on the release, which is a parole for which he eligible after serving 30 years on a life sentence on passing secret technical information on to Israel about US espionage systems (Jonathan Pollard, American who spied for Israel, to get parole Los Angeles Times 07/28/2015):

The release, set for Nov. 21, comes at a time of renewed tension between the Israeli government and Obama administration over an international agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear program. But U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other American officials emphasized that foreign policy considerations were not a factor in Pollard’s release. Israeli officials have likewise said the release will not soften their opposition to the Iran agreement, which they say is not strong enough.

A parole board unanimously decided to release Pollard after a hearing July 7, according to a statement by Pollard’s attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman. “We are grateful and delighted that our client will soon be released,” the statement read.

The Justice Department said it did not oppose Pollard’s release, describing it as a “mandatory parole.” Under the law in place at the time of his sentence, Pollard would become eligible for parole after serving 30 years. Parole would be granted as long as Pollard had not violated prison rules and was not considered likely to commit another crime.

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