10 May 2010

Rubashkin / Pollard Redux?

As I read the reports about Sholom Rubashkin's trial, I can't help but think that this is Pollard all over again. Yes, he broke laws, but not maliciously. I have to say though that at least Jonathan Pollard was trying to save the entire Jewish people, not just a business venture. But again, it looks like the Jew will get a highly disproportionate sentence as a lesson to others.

I also can't help but compare the outcry from the frum community in support of Rubashkin as opposed to the resounding silence as Pollard met his fate. Perhaps this is happening in order that the Jewish people will draw this conclusion: "You know, this is exactly what happened to Jonathan Pollard, but we did nothing to help him." It's not too late to make amends for that lapse in judgment. You can't throw one Jew under the bus and then expect Divine help to save another. These men are two sides of the same coin. We are all parts of one giant organism. What affects one, affects all. We have to learn this if we never learn anything else. As Jews, our fates and our destinies are intertwined. Perhaps, if there had been such an outcry from the Jewish community in response to the Pollard life sentence, a Rubashkin life sentence could never have been considered. Instead, the injustice to Jonathan Pollard set a precedent for all Jews.

Another lesson that we can take from this incident must not be overlooked and that is the reminder, once again, that America is not the Jew's home. Rather, it is the home of the Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson...

Sheriff: We Had A Bit Of An Issue With Rubashkin (Kashrus, Tefillin, Tzitzis)

If you are a supporter of Sholom Rubashkin, ask yourself, "What did I ever do for Jonathan Pollard???"


(In answer to a question about how Jonathan Pollard has managed his Torah observance in prison, I found these links at the Justice for Jonathan Pollard website.)

Jonathan Pollard; Probing the Person

"I'm glad that you did not bring tefillin with you, but not for the reason that you probably assume. You might be thinking that I would interpret bringing tefillin into Marion as a means of coercing me to put them on. I very much want to put them on. But recently, when I put on tefillin in my cell the guards pried them loose from me and opened up one of the Batim to the Shel Yad. This was done despite the fact that metal detectors don't permit anything to enter which could be used as a weapon. So, obviously, the guards knew in advance that they were not going to find anything that would place either them or me in danger. They just don't appreciate any demonstrative expression of Judaism. Had we all put on tefillin," Pollard continued, "the guards would have conducted themselves in a civil manner while you were here, but immediately after your leaving I would have been subjected to taunting and perhaps a few physical blows. What I do now from time to time, is draw a curtain in my shower to hide myself for a few moments and then put on my "Shel Rosh."

My Visit with Jonathan Pollard 09185-016

Pollard, who is an observant Jew in a federal lock-up, cannot practice his religion as do those who are free, or even in a limited way as is possible in state prisons. He is strictly kosher. For food he is offered what is known as "common fare" which is often inedible and, often, not too kosher. He relies on friends who send money to his canteen account. This permits him to purchase tuna, sardines and other kosher foods at highly inflated prices. Jonathan, who wears a yarmulkah in prison, cannot daven with a minyan, wear a talis and tefillin or have access to Hebrew texts.

Jonathan has a close personal relationship with Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel. Rabbi Eliyahu has told Jonathan that in his case the possuk (verse) in Tehillim (Psalms) of "Gam ki elech begay tzalmaves HaShem lo eerah ra ki ata imadi" (English: "Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil for Thou are with me") must be read with a period before the word "ra" (evil). Thus the verse reads: " What is Evil is that You are with me" - or in other words that the Shechina (the Presence of G-d Himself) is suffering with Pollard in jail. Rav Eliyahu explained that it is bad enough that the Jewish community has been largely indifferent to the suffering of Jonathan Pollard, but it is "unspeakably evil" that we do not have pity on the Shechina which is Jonathan's prison mate.


  1. Bravo! Tomer Devorah is speaking truth!

    If the Jewish leadership wants to save Pollard, Weinberger gave them the ammunition 8 years ago. They have yet to do anything about it!
    Read about it in the latest J4JP posting:

    25th Anniversary Review Series #20
    Caspar's Ghost
    Weinberger Memo Omits Key Involvement
    by Edwin Black

    Justice4JPnews - May 6, 2010

    To mark Jonathan Pollard's 25th year in American captivity - which is also his 25th year of abandonment and betrayal by the government of Israel - J4JP will be reviewing some of the best-written, most informative, and most interesting articles, essays and information written about the case over the last two and a half decades.

    This is article number 20 of the series, written by Edwin Black, an award-winning author and journalist, best known for his book "IBM and The Holocaust". This article, originally published in The Jewish Week [NY] in June of 2002, reports on Black's interview with former US Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger (now deceased) following the publication of Weinberger's memoirs.

    During the interview, Black presses Weinberger to explain why his memoirs do not mention Jonathan Pollard. After all, when Pollard was sentenced, Weinberger ranted and raved that Pollard was "the worst spy" in the history of the US!

    Weinberger unabashedly responds that the Pollard case had really been a "minor matter" which had been exaggerated, blown out of all proportion to serve another agenda.

    In the 8 years since this nugget of truth was made public by Weinberger, not a single American official or Jewish leader has had the moral integrity to act on this stunning revelation! Jonathan Pollard is still in prison after 25 long years, not because of what he did, but because his case was blown out of all proportion to serve another agenda!

    A little additional history sheds a lot of light.

    Earlier in the same year that Black interviewed Weinberger, Jonathan Pollard was very much on the journalist's mind. At that time, Black had been commissioned by the American Jewish Federations to write an apparent whitewash of the Pollard case for their newspapers. It would appear that such a whitewash was needed to relieve the pressure Jewish leaders were feeling from their constituents as a result of their callous indifference to Pollard's plight. Relying on his reputation as an award-winning investigative journalist, the Federation newspapers published Black's piece as if it were some stunning new analysis of the case. It was nothing of the sort.

    Black's "analysis" minimized the injustice to Pollard, blamed the victim, and assured Jewish readers from coast to coast in America, that if Pollard will just sit still for another year or two, his lawyers will be able to clear up this whole "misunderstanding" and Pollard will be free in no time at all. American Jewish community leaders breathed a sigh of relief and shelved Pollard once again.

    In the 8 years that have passed since then, Jewish leaders (with very few exceptions) have virtually ignored the Pollard case and written Pollard off as if he were already dead (G-d forbid). American congressmen and senators take their cue from the leaders. Their collective indifference is even more outrageous in light of Weinberger's admission - nearly a decade ago - that Pollard's sentence and the accusations leveled at him were out of all proportion to the actual offense he committed!

    Twenty five years into a life sentence, Jonathan Pollard continues to rot in prison with no relief in sight.
    See the Black article and all the 25th anniversary articles visit the J4JP website at www.jonathanpollard.org

  2. Kol HaKavod!

    "You can't throw one Jew under the bus and then expect Divine help to save another."

    Thank you Devash for finally saying it! It is time someone spoke the truth!

    Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu shlita, (Pollard's rabbi and the former Chief Rabbi of Israel) has been repeatedly quoted as saying that Pollard's freedom is the key to freeing all of the captives. Is anyone listening?

  3. Since 1985 - the year that Pollard was arrested and thrown to the dogs by Israel, (the country he served as a bona fide agent) Israel has NEVER brought a singls captive soldier home ALIVE.

    For those who may not know, Pollard supplied Israel with the information that totally changed Israel's civilian defense plan. Pollard is the reason that Israel has gas masks and sealed rooms instead of bomb shelters.

    So, if you think Israel and the Jews in general can show such gross ingratitude to Pollard and treat him as some kind of disposable commodity, think again.
    It makes real good sense, as Shelly commented, that Pollard is the key to the release of all of the Jewish captives.

    The icing on the cake is that Israel, courtesy of Shimon Peres, supplied the USA with all of the documents needed to indict Pollard. No other country in the world has ever done anything this evil to people who work for them.
    Any wonder G-d is so angry with us?

  4. David, you must remember that Knesset members, rabbis and the public at large have done much over the years to show their support for and gratitude to Jonathan Pollard and they have petitioned every level of the US government for cummutation of his sentence. Even Bibi Netanyahu, in his first term as PM, thought he had secured Pollard's release as a condition of the Wye Agreement. When the US President goes back on his word, what can anyone do?

    That said, there are a small group of very corrupt, but very powerful, individuals who attempt to block every move to get Pollard released at every turn.

    However, it is the American government who perpetrated this injustice against him and it is American Jews who support said government and raise no outcry. Not, that is, until now, for the sake of Sholom Rubashkin. American Jews raise their voices on any number of subjects close to their hearts knowing full well that they wield political clout that far exceeds their numbers.

    Please G-d, they will stop now and think to themselves, "You know, this happend to Jonathan Pollard and we didn't say a thing. Maybe it's time to demand justice for both of them---a just and suitable sentence for Sholom Rubashkin and time already served for Jonathan Pollard,especially in this, his 25th year.