I’ll leave it to others to argue whether Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the U.S.
I’ll leave it to others to fight over whether Pollard should have been allowed to leave the country and move to Israel.
I’ll leave it to others to explain why Pollard has been received as a hero by the Israeli government.
We know what Jonathan Pollard did and what happened as a result. He shared classified information with Israel. He was caught and eventually convicted of spying. He spent 30 years in prison, and his release in 2015 mandated he remain in the U.S. for at least another five years.
He’s now 66, and his wife suffers from breast cancer. Her health is fragile. Pollard is no longer a threat, if he ever was, to America’s national security. (Again, I’ll let others make the case for or against.) A few hours ago, he and his wife arrived in Jerusalem, where they likely will spend the rest of their lives.
We can’t ignore the obvious as discussions about the Pollards unfold: No American citizen would ever be given the green light to emigrate if he (or she) had spied for any other nation on Earth.
We’re not talking spy swaps here, and we’re certainly not talking about expelling people who are citizens of other countries and who have been caught doing something nefarious.
Remember, Pollard went to prison in 1985, when the Cold War still defined international relations. A Cold War mentality today once again defines America’s geopolitical relationship with countries such as Russia and China.
So, imagine if someone like Pollard had spied for the Soviet Union during the 1980s and desperately wished to live there. Would a move to Russia today have occurred?
What if the spy was deeply in love with the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, China, South Africa, Iran or any of the roughly 200 nations around the world? Would that spy, even after three decades behind bars and five years of (restricted) freedom, have landed in that country?
Pollard benefited from an American president who has been willing to help Israel in ways big and small. Israel has long wanted Pollard there, but successive U.S. presidents — Republican and Democrat — refused to listen.
Donald Trump did.
Therefore, Pollard’s move to Israel is almost miraculous. If his actions were undertaken to aid any other nation, he would have died in the U.S. If any other president had been in office, he would have died in the U.S.
Celebrate or castigate what has happened, but accept that nothing like it will happen for decades, if ever.
It’s Mrs. Pollard whom I especially wish well. Her husband’s journey to freedom is over. Her journey to full health is an unpredictable one.