Jonathan Pollard, the American Jew who spent 30 years in a U.S. federal prison after being convicted of spying for Israel, would be wise to keep his seditious opinions to himself.
Last week, the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom published an interview in which he shamelessly justified his traitorous behavior. Pollard, who in 1985 was caught selling military secrets to Israel while employed as a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, spoke at length about the issue of dual loyalty, a topic in which he is supremely well versed.
Interviewed in Israel, where he has lived since last December, he made comments that can only be described as harmful, not only to himself but to the Jewish community in the United States.
Released from jail in 2015 and placed on a five-year parole period before immigrating to Israel, he cast doubt on the loyalty of American Jews. “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.”
Claiming that Jews in the Diaspora are basically considered “unreliable” by their respective governments, Pollard tapped into the classic Zionist argument that Israel is the only country where a Jew can really feel secure and at home.
Going one step further, he said that, if asked for advice, he would advise a young American Jew working for a U.S. intelligence agency to spy for Israel.
It is perfectly legitimate for Jews outside Israel to feel an affinity and an attachment to the Jewish state, regardless of the political complexion of its leaders at any given moment. Israel has a special place in the hearts and minds of Jews due to the historic, cultural and religious memories and values it evokes. And given the unprecedented atrocities of the Holocaust and the recurring problem of antisemitism, Israel will always be regarded as a haven for the Jewish people.
These are arguments that Pollard includes in his views. But he recklessly undermines them by claiming that Diaspora Jews are intrinsically disloyal. American Jews, in particular, are fiercely loyal to their homeland, and no one should think otherwise. They care about Israel and its well-being, but first and foremost, they are loyal Americans.
And contrary to Pollard’s subversive and dangerous supposition, they would not engage in activities that could be construed as disloyal to the United States. In American history, a minuscule number of Jews, as exemplified by the Rosenbergs, have been convicted of treason, but they were not in the least representative of the mass of American Jews, who feel a profound and undimmed connection to their beloved homeland.
The malicious notion that Jews are conniving and untrustworthy is a trope that antisemites have fallen back on for centuries. In the modern era, this absurd idea that Jews are essentially disloyal has emerged time and time again.
It reared its ugly head during the Alfred Dreyfus affair in France. It appeared in the pages of the czarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It loomed large in the ugly myth that German Jews stabbed Germany in the back during World War I.
It sprang from the twisted delusions of Joseph Stalin, who accused Russian Jews of being “rootless cosmopolitans” in the pay of the West. It clouded the judgment of Arab leaders who assumed their Jewish citizens could be loyal only to Israel.
Pollard, unintentionally I suppose, breathes new life into this age-old antisemitic trope. He performs the work of antisemites who, day and night, try to defame and discredit Jews.
He is a useful idiot.
It would be better if he kept his mouth shut and just faded away.