Safe in Israel after decades of incarceration in a U.S. jail, former Jewish American spy Jonathan Pollard says Jews have no choice but to defend themselves.
By World Israel News Staff
Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. naval intelligence officer who served decades in jail for handing key documents over to Israel, said Thursday that American Jews must wake up to the fact that the unending threats to the Jewish People means they must defend the Jewish State, even if that involves breaking American laws.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, Pollard was asked about the accusation that he had dual loyalties – a stain that has marred him since pleading guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. He explained that his position was based on the anti-Semitism his family suffered in America despite being loyal citizens.
“If you don’t like the accusation of double loyalty, then go the F*** home [to Israel]. It’s as simple as that,” Pollard said. “If you live in a country where you are constantly under that charge, then you don’t belong there. You go home.”
“If you are outside Israel, then you live in a society in which you are basically considered unreliable. The bottom line on this charge of dual loyalty is, I’m sorry, we’re Jews, and if we’re Jews, we will always have dual loyalty,” Pollard said.
“American Jewry has one major problem – they consider themselves more American than they do Jews,” Pollard said, adding a personal story that despite his father being a highly decorated World War II army officer, the dean of the Yale medical school told him that any Jew was “one too many” and he wanted no Jews in his faculty.
Questioned on what advice he would give a young American Jewish naval intelligence officer if he or she were approached by Israel’s Mossad spy agency today, Pollard said he has not changed his opinion the situation since the early 1980s, when he was faced with the same challenge.
“I’d tell him, not doing anything is unacceptable. So simply going home is not acceptable. Making aliyah is not acceptable. You have to make a decision whether your concern for Israel and loyalty to Israel and loyalty to your fellow Jews, is more important than your life,” Pollard told Israel Hayom.
“Because you know what would probably happen to you if you get caught. It will be hell. But you have to look at yourself every morning in the mirror, and you have to live with yourself. If you do nothing, and you turn your back, or simply make aliyah, and go on with your life, you’ll be no better than those Jews who before and after the destruction of the Temple said, ‘It’s not my responsibility.'”
Sentenced to life in prison in 1985, many Israeli government officials and Jewish advocacy groups spent decades calling for Pollard’s release, calling the punishment excessive and asking for clemency. He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995.
Pollard is the only American to be sentenced to life for spying for an ally nation, as well as the only American to serve more than 10 years for that crime.
In 2015, Pollard was finally released on parole, but with extensive conditions prohibiting him from traveling outside of the country, wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, and a night curfew.
His parole restrictions expired in November, and his wife posted to social media a photo of herself cutting his monitoring bracelet, sparking media reports that the couple would be immigrating to Israel in the near future.
Some commentators said that the expiration of Pollard’s parole terms, which usually would have been renewed in such a case, came as a gesture of goodwill from the Trump administration.
On December 20, Pollard and his wife Esther finally touched down at Ben Gurion airport marking the end of a saga that began with his arrest 35 years ago for passing U.S. state secrets to Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted Pollard and his wife, handing them Israeli identity cards.
“Welcome home,” Netanyahu told the couple. “Now you can start life anew, with freedom and happiness. Now you are at home.”