Monday, November 23, 2020

Pollard for President of Israel

Recently, five years to the day, after Jonathon Pollard was paroled (with severe restrictions) from the federal penitentiary, the US Parole Commission issued a certificate terminating parole and removing the restrictions that were imposed on him. He had served an excessive thirty years, of his injust life sentence, for transmitting classified information to Israel (convicted of Espionage, not Treason), in helping a friendly state.

It’s been claimed that Pollard only turned over to the Israelis, intelligence information that the Americans were obligated to pass on to Israel, under their security and defense cooperation agreements, but were holding back.

As such, Jonathon Pollard is now, “free to travel anywhere, including Israel, for temporary or permanent residence, as he wishes,” said his lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman.

Details of his case, and the campaign to free Pollard, can be found at Justice for Johnathan Pollard.

But even with his release, the Americans and Israelis still have some Teshuva (repentance) to do, more on that later...

Lauer after the decision, told Israeli Channel 12 TV, that Pollard was “ecstatic” and determined to move to Israel but that it would take some time, because Pollard’s wife is undergoing medical treatment for cancer. Channel 12 TV speculated it could take several weeks.

Many public officials and personalities have expressed gratitude that this day of liberation has finally come. Some have even raised the issue of the cruel treatment, by the Americans, and betrayal by Israeli officials in the past.

The Women in Green movement, which struggled for Pollard’s release for years, welcomed the American decision not to extend Pollard’s restrictions.

Movement leaders, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, emphasized that the decision marks long years of injustice imposed on Pollard by the American legal system. “Every day that Pollard was imprisoned or confined was a day of grave injustice...The day Pollard comes to Israel will be a holiday for the entire Jewish people.”

“The entire State of Israel owes him a lot and it is doubtful whether it will be able to return to him a little of what it received from him, but it is its duty to do everything to give him all the best it has, they stated.”

That’s why I propose nominating Pollard for President of Israel. Elections by the Knesset members will be held in July 2021.

Katsover and Matar also said, “The State of Israel accepts Jonathan with great love...this slightly reduces the moral flaw, that clung to it, when it abandoned him and closed its gates to him.”

Former Defense Minister and Yamina Party Chairman Naftali Bennett welcomed the removal of restrictions on Jonathan Pollard. Bennett said, “V’Shavu Banim L’gvulam, ‘and the sons return to their borders.’ The State of Israel owes a deep debt to Jonathan Pollard who gave us over 30 years of his life, and we are waiting to welcome him and embrace him here, in the land of Israel which is his home, as soon as possible.”

So, I assume that Bennett would back a movement to draft Pollard for President of Israel.

Yamina Knesset Faction Chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked also spoke out, “In the 19th Knesset, I served as Chairwoman of the lobby for the return of Pollard and as Justice Minister, I continued my activities until his release and thereafter. I sincerely hope that in the near future he and Esther will establish their home in Israel.”

Petach Tikva’s mayor, Rami Greenberg, quickly promised to name a square in the city center, “Jonathan Pollard Square.” Greenberg also expressed gratitude to the Trump administration, for terminating the limitations of Pollard’s parole.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who visited Jonathan Pollard in prison in the United States over the years, told Kan Moreshet, “I think that American Jewry should perhaps ask him for forgiveness. In an attempt to be considered kosher Americans, they simply ignored him. They forget that we are each other’s guardians and it’s not possible that they would turn their backs on someone who gave so much of himself for the people of Israel, what a waste.”

It’s true, organized American Jewry, fearful of the duel-loyalty accusation, pretty much hid their heads in the sand, while Pollard rotted in prison.

Rabbi Eliyahu then added, “If it were not for the people in Israel who sold him to the Americans, he would not have sat in prison. All the evidence that indicted him and put him in prison for so many years, was given by people in Israel. I heard these things directly from him when I was with him...There are people who were ministers in the government, two of them, who committed this crime, which is why Pollard was in prison. He did everything he did for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel. We should have lain on the fence for him but people preferred to save their skin and sell him out, which is a very serious matter...I did not name names, we are now in a happy time, but there were two people who could have saved him and they did not,” he added.

I’m sure that Shaked and Rabbi Eliyahu would support a movement to make Pollard, President of Israel. That would be the real Teshuva, the State of Israel could do for him.

Asher Mivzari, an activist prominent in the movement to free Jonathan Pollard, also blamed the Americans, “On the one hand, there is great joy and we are thankful to God that he survived all these thirty difficult years in prison, and another five years under restrictions. On the other hand, it’s late, because he should have been released long ago, even in terms of simple justice. For what he did in the US, you usually get five years in prison, but here there was such a severe punishment, that was out of all proportion. Even American officials [including those involved with his case] have stated that he should have been released long ago in terms of American justice,” Mivzari pointed out.

That’s why I say America still has a day of reckoning to come...

Mivzari also noted, the frequent visits of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to Pollard, “The rabbi visited Pollard ten times and this is something that gave him a lot of strength to hold on and survive throughout all those years. All these years he also did not think only of himself, he was very concerned for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel, for people who were hurt, injured in terrorist attacks and other things. His thoughts were not only about himself. He knew the problems and failures that had happened, but mostly his thoughts were on how to help the people of Israel and the State of Israel and his dream was to come and join the people of Israel and contribute all he can with the rest of his strength and do everything he can.”

What a fine concerned and selfless example to young Israelis, Pollard would be, as President of Israel. But not everyone is even happy that Pollard was finally released from all restrictions.

Former PM Ehud Olmert blasted the US government’s decision to nullify Jonathan Pollard’s parole restrictions. He argued, “With all due respect, I would prefer that he not move to Israel. We don’t owe him anything. He was a spy who worked for a lot of money. He was not a Zionist volunteer who came and sacrificed his life."

Olmert is one to talk about taking money, the jailbird.

He continued, Pollard “was an American who loved Israel and worked for a lot of money, spying for Israel. His spying was beneficial [to Israel], but when taking a full account, the damage caused to Israel’s interests, as a result of revealing his involvement, was the harshest in the history of US-Israel relations.”

“The danger of increasing this damage has not ended. If the prime minister will act like he does and have a festive welcoming ceremony for Pollard, we will pay a heavy price when there will soon be a new administration in America, worried Olmert.”

This is a non sequitur, because an incoming Biden administration already is planning a tough time for Israel. Just take a peak at the likely appointments Biden’s going to make, many of them Clinton operatives. A moderate-Left Democrat administration, will return Israel to the tone of the Obama years, with new problems. For example, the Trump Plan’s vision of a Palestinian state, encapsulated in policy for the first time, and for the first time, formally agreed to, by the current Israeli government.

Yisrael Beitenu leader, Avigdor Liberman, has also criticized Pollard, in an interview with KAN Radio. He said that Israel should not have drafted Pollard as a spy, and that his moving to Israel should not be celebrated.

What has Lieberman ever done to promote Israeli security?

How far Lieberman has fallen, from his Hebrew University student days, as a campus activist for Rabbi Meir Kahane’s far-right pro-Jewish Kach Movement.

And, idiot, pardon my English accent, Yedioth Ahronoth columnist, Nahum Barnea, who seems to have learned nothing since the Oslo War (Second Intifada), even with losing a son in the war; wrote, “Pollard does not have the heroism of the Nili organization, not even that of Eli Cohen. Have some proportion.” He, also opposes making Pollard a “national hero.”

Well, I don’t agree with Olmert, Lieberman, and Barnea, so much so, that I believe Pollard should be elected President of Israel.

Recently in an interview with 103 Radio FM, former PM Ehud Barak commented on the possibility of Netanyahu trying to get elected as the country’s president, to avoid facing criminal charges, calling it a “black day in Israel’s democracy.” This idea has been bandied about for awhile already. Barak also accused Netanyahu of tending to his personal affairs, while the country found itself mired in the “worst crisis in its history.”

I can agree with Barak, that Netanyahu should step aside from the race. Netanyahu’s often been accused of being Machiavellian, and politically very self-serving, this is his chance to go beyond that. I suggest to Netanyahu, since he’s claimed for years, that he’s done all he could to free Jonathan Pollard, he take the bold and courageous step, to throw his weight behind Pollard for President of Israel.

The position is largely ceremonial, as head of state, Pollard would represent Israel at conferences, state festivities, etc. The most significant action the president can take, is to grant pardons to prisoners, similar to the American president. Its the perfect “non-partisan” position for him, within the Israeli political constellation.

Who could best empathize with the pain of prisoners and their families, to give them a fair shake, and possibly overturn an injustice, than someone who sat in prison unjustly for thirty years, for the security of the Jewish people, and State of Israel?

Pollard for President of Israel!

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Toledot: Jewish Genealogy

“And these are the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham; Abraham begot Isaac,” (Genesis 25:19).

That’s how this week’s Torah reading, Toledot, starts out. Genealogy is important to Jews. We know who our progenitors are, and we honor them.

Then the Torah goes on to tell about Jacob’s birth, his blessing from Isaac to continue the family traditions, and later, Isaac instructs him not to intermarry with the Canaanites, but to go to uncle Laban’s house and marry a cousin. (Genesis 25:26, 26:28-29).

Before he leaves to find his bride, Isaac blesses Jacob a second time, “And may the Almighty God bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, and you shall become a multitude of people. And may He give you the blessing of Abraham [to be a great nation], to you and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land of your sojournings [the Land of Israel], which God gave to Abraham,” (Genesis 28:1-4).

In contrast, Americans are “rootless cosmopolitans,” (a term I might add, that was frequently used incorrectly by Europeans against Jews in the past). By rootless cosmopolitans, I mean to say that America is made up of people from all over the globe. Most Americans are descended from earlier arrivals to its shores, from more than one country, and many don’t know who their relatives were, beyond a few generations back, or where they come from, in the “old country”.

Remember Elizabeth Warren’s mistaken claim to be part Native American?

Thus, the explanation for the popularity of genetic testing and ancestor searching in America today.

The New York Times, back in 2006, ran an article entitled, “Who’s Your Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy?” about the then, new fad.

Well, mine are the famous Biblical prophets, chosen of the Lord, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Jews, by the way, also know where they come from, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), the Biblical “Promised Land” (and the rest of the world knows it, too).

So, while Americans are scurrying around to determine if they have some of Genghis Khan’s DNA (probably raped their maternal progenitor), have some connection to Marie Antoinette and her infamous “Let them eat cake” rant, or some other famous historical figure, Jews the world over can pride themselves in their descent from such moral pillars as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah).

To this day, the world reads about them in the Hebrew Bible, and tries to learn lessons from their lives on how establish a relationship with God, how to organize society and how to live life more fully.

In Judaism, there’s a concept called “Ma’ase Avot, Siman L’Banim,” the deeds of the fathers are guides for the children. Having such illustrious ancestors puts a heavy burden on Jews. Unlike someone who discovers he’s descended from Robert E. Lee (what’s he going to do, start a new slavery movement?), Jews have a responsibility to live up to our past.

Positive that there was a way to understand God’s creation using the language of modern physics, Einstein said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” and went about studying it. Freud tried to “heal the soul” through the modern techniques of psychology. Karl Marx, a descendent of the great 12th century Biblical and Talmudic commentator Rabbi Shlomo Ben Isaac (Rashi), worried about the oppressed worker and the poor.

Whether they’re involved in left-wing movements for social justice, or science, medicine and the arts, many Jews are trying (often unconsciously) to express these eternal Torah values of “fixing the world,” (sometimes properly, other times in mistaken ways), that they’ve inherited from their forefathers.

Spiritually inclined, morally precocious and always inquisitive, Jews established universal public education in Judea for their children about 2,100 years ago. Always literate, besides the Bible and Talmud, the Jewish bookshelf contains a university library of works on morality, philosophy, mystical pursuits, science, medicine, history and law.

There are well over 200 very serious super-commentaries on Rashi’s biblical commentary alone. Jews as translators, were a main transmission link between the classical Greek and Latin scientific and medical texts, and the early Islamic world.

Learning enough Torah to become a rabbi (a moral, legal and spiritual guide), has always had an honored place in Jewish life, a reminder of the days of prophets and kings.

But, it’s not just for rabbis, but for all Jews to learn Torah, their cultural-spiritual inheritance, and to live in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), to fully participate in Jewish Civilization.

If your last name is Cohen or Kahn, Katz or Kagan, genetic testing has proven what most already knew from tradition: you’re a direct link to Aaron the High Priest. Jews have always guarded their lineage and many kept intricate records. Today, more descendants of King David walk the earth than one might realize, and they often know who they are.

But whether they’re descended from Moses or Aaron or King David, any number of biblical prophets, great rabbis like the Rambam or Rashi, or not, every Jew knows he’s the great-great-great-great-great...grandson or granddaughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the chosen of the Lord.

I wish others, all the best in finding out about their beloved ancestors from Africa, Europe, Asia, or from wherever they may be.

By the way, I can go and visit the family burial plot (Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, Israel, anytime I want, to say hello to Buby and Zaidy, my forefathers and foremothers, Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.

In fact, last week, Parshat Chayei Sarah, Jews worldwide read about Abraham’s purchase of the family burial plot for Sarah. And in pre-CoronaVirus times, tens of thousands would flock to Hebron, for Shabbat Hevron every year.

Is there any other nation, that knows where its illustrious progenitors lived, died, and are buried?

Is their any other nation that has such inspiring role models of behavior? Jacob’s descendants, the Jewish people, are truly blessed. 

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko


Rabbi Kahane, the Sarah Solution, and Peace

This past week’s Torah reading, Vayera, coincided with the 30th remembrance of the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane. He was the founder of the Jewish Defense League in America (JDL), a former member of Knesset, and leader of the later outlawed Kach party; Rabbi Kahane fought to protect Jews from anti-Semitism in America, increase Jewish identity and national pride, and to free Soviet Jewry.

But he was probably best known for advocating the transfer of Arabs out of Israel, to a nice life somewhere else, to put an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict in Israel, and bring true peace there.

Something else happened recently, the serial liar, Saeb Erekat, died. He was the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief “Palestinian” negotiator, and he often claimed that he was “indigenous” to “Palestine.”

He had claimed at various times, to be descended from the Canaanites, the Philistines, to be an Arab, a Palestinian, and a Jordanian. As for example, in a February 2014 interview with “Dunya al-Watan” where he said, “I am honored to be a Bedouin, to be Arab, to be Arab, to be Jordanian…I am the son of the Canaanites, the foundation of this country, who were here thousands of years ago.”

Yet, thanks to the “Elder of Ziyon,” and his investigations, we know that his family actually came from the Huwaitat region of the northwestern Arabian Peninsula. On the Facebook page of the Erekat family, it also says that before Huwaitat, their ancestors emigrated from Medina, today in Saudi Arabia.

Many Palestinian family names actually reveal their true family origin. For example, Mograbi, indicates that the family migrated from the Morocco area (Maghrib in Arabic). The name Masarwi, comes from Misr, which is Egypt, in Arabic.

The whole Palestinian narrative, is similarly fabricated on such outright lies.

So to Saeb Erekat and his lies, I say good riddance.

Now that “Peace” is breaking out all over the Middle East, between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and with proposed countries such as Morocco and Saudi Arabia to be included in the near future, let’s examine a creative solution to the “Palestinian” problem, something long ago suggested.

True peace cannot be built on falsehood...

But first, one should ask, was Rabbi Kahane, even the first one to advocate expelling violent enemies, for attacking Jews?

In this past Torah reading, Vayera, we find Sarah, telling Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son [Ishmael – father of the Arabs], for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac,” (Genesis 21:9-10). Sarah had seen Ishmael constantly picking on little Isaac, and setting a bad example for him.

The Torah continues, “The matter greatly distressed Abraham regarding his son [Ishmael]. But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.’” But they can not live together in the same land. So Abraham listened to God and expelled him and his mother, (Genesis 21:11-14).

There you go, right from the start of the Jewish people, the solution to attacks on Jews, is to expel the perpetrators. Mother Sarah in her woman’s wisdom, sees the future, that the Arabs and the Jews can’t live together, and God backs up her demand on Abraham, to expel Ishmael.

Later, God codifies it in the Torah, “You shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you...You shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” And then warns, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling,” (Numbers 33:52-53, 55).

Even the nations understood this, in the 20th century, several internationally sanctioned population transfers were implemented, to separate warring peoples.

Most notably, the Greco-Turkish agreed mutual expulsion in the 1920’s, of about 1.6 million people, and the Pakistani-Indian exchange, after British decolonization in 1947, where 10-12 million people were displaced.

Then there was the forced expulsion of about 12-14 million ethnic Germans (between 1944-50), from central and eastern Europe, to create more homogeneous states, after the war.

So, as Rabbi Kahane documented in his book, “They Must Go” (1981), population transfers and forced expulsions had been being used, long before his proposal to transfer the Arabs out of Israel. In fact, his plan was quite merciful, by international standards, since he proposed offering money to the Arabs to leave.

Even some Arab leaders had previously suggested transfer as a solution to the conflict.

For example, in 1939, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine put forward a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. This proposal was published in Damascus and distributed among Arab leaders. Amin proposed that all of Palestine be given to the Jews.

“Furthermore, I hereby propose that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up among the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine,” Amin stated.

Amin proposed that this exchange of populations, should be carried out in the same way as the Greco-Turkish population exchange, and that special committees should be established to deal with the liquidation of Jewish and Arab property. He realized that at first there would be great difficulties, but he hoped they would be finally solved. (Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, (New York, 1984), p.25, and Proposal, 21 May 1939, [CZA S25/5630]).

Later, in 1946, Britain awarded Transjordan (what had been 75% of the Palestine Mandate) independence, and Abdullah ibn Hussein became its King. His Prime Minister was an Arab jurist named Ibrahim Pasha Hashem.

In July 1946, Alexander Kirkbride, from the British Legation in Amman, reported on his meeting with King Abdullah and the Prime Minister. Various ideas for the future of the Palestine were discussed and Kirkbride wrote that Abdullah was, “for partition and he feels that the other Arab leaders may acquiesce in that solution although they may not approve of it openly.”

In Kirkbride’s meeting with Ibrahim Pasha, Pasha proposed a population transfer, to avoid future conflict in Palestine. Kirkbride reported that, “He [Pasha] went on to say that, in his opinion, the only just and permanent solution lay in absolute partition with an exchange of populations; to leave Jews in an Arab State or Arabs in a Jewish State would lead inevitably to further trouble between the two peoples. Ibrahim Pasha admitted that he would not be able to express this idea in public for fear of being called a traitor.”

About a month later, a telegram sent from Amman to the British Foreign Office stated, “King Abdullah and Prime Minister of Transjordan both consider that partition followed by an exchange of populations is the only practical solution to the Palestine problem. They do not feel able to express this view publicly because having regard to the possibility of the Arab area of Palestine being joined to Transjordan they would be regarded as prejudiced.”

We can see from this, that King Abdullah had now joined his Prime Minister in favoring population transfer. (Kirkbride to Wikeley, 29 July 1946, p.1-2,[PRO FO 816/85], and Telegram, Prodrome to Foreign Office, 23 August 1946, [PRO FO 816/85 C208213]).

For an excellent review of the subject, check out, “A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895 – 1947,” by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons (2004 – it can be found at

So with “Peace” breaking out between Israel and multiple Arab states, why not raise the suggestion of Mother Sarah, the Sarah Solution, to compliment the Abraham Accord, to end the conflict with the so-called Palestinians. Let the Arab countries, reabsorb their Arab settlers, who unjustly invaded and colonized the Land of Israel. Now is a wonderful time to propose an international conference to carry that out.

True peace must be built on truth, not falsehood, otherwise it’s not true peace, and will collapse.

An expression in the midrash and early Torah commentators, is “Ma’aseh Avot Siman l’Banim,” the deeds of the fathers are signs/guides to their children. Mother Sarah was teaching her children, us, the Jewish people, an important lesson.

When will we learn it?

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko