Pollard Lobby Head in Hot Water for Anti-Pollard Comments


nachman shaiKol Yisrael Radio interviewed MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp, formerly known as the Labor Party) as the news unfolded last week that Jonathan Pollard would be released from prison by November. The choice of interviewee appeared to be apt: Shai heads the Knesset Lobby for the Release of Jonathan Pollard. From the moment he opened his mouth, however, he gave cause to wonder whether he favored, or opposed, the efforts to secure Pollard’s release.

Arutz Sheva reports that radio anchorman Aryeh Golan began by asking: “Why do you think the Americans are so unwilling to release Pollard?” – to which Shai promptly replied, “For the same reason we [Israel] are so unwilling to release Mordechai Vanunu.”

Vanunu revealed details of Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986, was sentenced to prison, and – because he violated the terms of his parole agreement by granting interviews to foreign journalists and the like – is still not permitted to leave Israel.

Arutz Sheva says that any comparison between Pollard and Vanunu is totally unacceptable, says famous Israeli attorney Yoram Sheftel. “Pollard gave Israel information that the United States itself was obligated to give Israel,” Sheftel told Arutz Sheva. “Today, that information has no intelligence value. It is outrageous that a Knesset Member who heads the lobby for Pollard gives justification for the decision by the White House and the Parole Commission [not to release Pollard early and to prevent him from leaving the country until the year 2020].”

In another radio interview, Shai was clearly critical of the man for whose release he is ostensibly working. “It’s clear that we don’t know the whole story,” he told Radio Kol BaRamah, “and it’s clear that we don’t know the nature of the security materials that [Pollard] stole and gave us. And in general, it’s hard for us to grasp how a man could betray his homeland… He tried to sell materials to other countries, not just Israel…”

{Matzav.com Israel}


  1. I see no problem whatsoever with Mr. Shai’s comments. He is simply being honest, as opposed to spouting the answers many pro-Pollard people want to hear. As much as we’d like Pollard freed ASAP, let’s not ignore the fact that he did betray his country and also took money for that betrayal.

  2. I believe Mordechai Vanunu’s sentence was exaggerated. I believe this harshness had a role in his foolishness “George” etc (if you don’t know what I mean, I am not explaining). That said it is disgusting to bring up Vanunu in order to debate Pollard’s case at a time Pollard can still be affected negatively by stupid comments and media debates (where everyone’s an armchair lawyer). By the way, those statements are likely to damage Vanunu as well.

  3. ” Pollard can still be affected negatively”

    No, he can’t be. His parole is automatic under the law unless he is a violator of prison rules or likely to commit future crimes, neither of which is true. He gets released November 21 no matter how many stupid things people say (or post to the Internet).

  4. #3, “Charlie Hall August 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm” It may be “stupid” to point out that a bad-faith government can claim he violated prison rules and/or will likely commit future crimes, It may be “stupid” to further point out that a government-sympathetic parole board may accept those arguments. At least I hope it’s “stupid”, since the administration has pledged not to oppose Pollard’s parole. What I don’t think is “stupid” is doing everything possible to get into and stay in the government’s good graces, especially since once he is iy”H paroled, that government gets to decide whether he may move to Israel and some other very important permissions they can decide to allow or withhold from him once he leaves prison.