Although there are arguments and counter-arguments on the issue of clemency or pardon for Jonathan Pollard, there is no doubt about two aspects of that issue (“Jewish Leaders Press Pollard Release,” Oct. 7).
First, that much of advocacy for the pardon has less to do with Pollard’s well-being than with the political campaign by Israeli and U.S. groups to undermine President Barack Obama’s Mideast policies and, more generally, his office. Pollard has been in prison under three Republican presidents (as recently as three years ago) in virtual silence; accidents like that don’t happen, politically.
And second, Pollard’s advocates have not had a word to say about the “justice” of the death penalty in the U.S. that has claimed victims shown later to have been innocent and to be in practice racially discriminatory: a more grievous injustice even than what Pollard has suffered, if that is the case. “One person’s blood is not redder than another’s” is a basic Jewish principle; capital punishment in the U.S. finds this country in the company of such governments as Iran, China and Saudi Arabia.
That Israel, in the face of severe provocations, has not implemented the death sentence since the Eichmann trial is an extraordinary achievement — also largely ignored by advocates for whom the fog of political advantage displaces moral principle.