Like a particularly dirty cloud of smog, the Pollard case has been following us for decades, polluting everyone who comes in contact with it. Many of the young men and women who worked on behalf of Jonathan Pollard in the various political frameworks were not even born in his finest days, while the malicious people who handled him with terrible cynicism have retired, died, or become an important minister in Israel’s cabinet. In between, one simple, bitter and precise fact has been forgotten: Jonathan Pollard is the Americans’ Mordechai Vanunu. In principle, there is no difference between them, except perhaps for the fact that Vanunu did what he did out of deep, if controversial, conviction, while Pollard received money, some say a great deal of money, for his “values system.”
The Americans do not want to release Pollard, as we do not want to release Vanunu. Even though the latter has served out his sentence, we are still harassing him. That’s how it is when you get involved with the systems of darkness in your country. States do not compromise on national security, they deal with it obsessively, wrathfully avenging anyone who gets in their way. They have an elephant’s memory, especially when it comes to traitors who are friends of the family and even regarding Judases who owe a great favor to the state’s greatest friend. And the insult is as great as the friendship.
Meanwhile, on his way to a freedom that tarries, Pollard has become a much greater icon than his dubious attributes would account for. To understand what he symbolizes for the Israeli political right, you have to crack the basic formula of the Pollard problem. He and his handlers lived and plotted in the twilight zone of the complex loyalty of the Jews of the United States.
Their basic premise was and still is that all Jews everywhere have dual loyalty — the loyalty of an American citizen to his homeland, and a much deeper, national-spiritual loyalty to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. For years, Israel officially fostered this snarled loyalty. It entangled and became entangled, plotted and spied. AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) — the Jewish lobby in Washington — is the bluntest conceptualization of institutionalizing near treason and turning it into an enormous octopus of a political mechanism with enormous dimensions and numerous victims.
Pollard and his agents stretched the boundaries of this double-edged lobby beyond all proportion, and then all its fundamentalist supporters came along and transformed the treason into ideology. According to the narrow, nationalist understanding of its leaders, and the wider messianic understanding of its continually growing supporters, a Jew does not, and must not, have dual loyalty. Only loyalty to the Jewish interest; only we, for ourselves, and we will not take non-Jews into consideration. Pollardism is therefore the narrowing of national identity to a one-dimensional, chauvinistic crack which the nationalists of the right promote by means of Pollard’s prison. From their point of view, let him stay there forever, if only every day they can appear in the media, preach and reiterate a Jewish agenda that sees nothing but itself.
This agenda has numerous local implications. If a Jew is loyal only to Jews, then Arabs are loyal only to Arabs. This formula can be used to persuade the Jews of the West to come to live in Israel, and to an even greater extent, to bring about the migration, free-will or forced, of the Arabs of Israel, to wherever the wind blows them.
According to this worldview, dual loyalties must be abolished and Pollard must be transformed into one of the founders of Zionism and one of its contemporary symbols. Otherwise, people might think, heaven forbid, that if Pollard is kosher, MK Ahmad Tibi is also kosher, perhaps even very kosher. If so, why may the Jews of America hold two loyalties, to their homeland and their nation, and an Israeli Palestinian may not?
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Deep down, this is the main reason for nationalizing Pollard and turning him into a complete Israeli. Because from the moment Pollard is only Israeli, then Ahmad Tibi must obviously become only Arab and he does not belong with us. Thus two problems have been solved in one extremist ideological fell swoop.
Therefore, from my perspective, there is no reason for Pollard not to serve his time to the last minute, and afterward, no reason that he not be treated like their Vanunu, and never allowed to leave the United States. I have had enough of previous maniacs — Meir Kahane, Baruch Goldstein and their friends — who came to Israel from North America and polluted the environment of our lives with their terrible teachings.
Reprinted from Haaretz.