No, Abe Foxman, America is not out to get the Jews

The U.S. Jewish establishment is starting to say publicly that anti-Semitism is the reason Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. This is sickening slander that reflects a deep-seated psychological problem.  

ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)
ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)

Abraham Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, capo di tutti capi of the Israel lobby, scourge of all scourges of anti-Semitism (real or imagined), the U.S. Jewish establishment’s chief of language police, the J. Edgar Hoover of American Jewish macherdom, has flipped out completely this time. Earlier this month he said publicly that Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration for spying, now going on 29 years, is a “vendetta” against the entire American Jewish community. From Foxman’s statement on the ADL website:

Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.

In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.

In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.

Foxman wrote the above in response to an editorial by the online Tablet magazine, the highest-quality Jewish publication in the United States and a fairly pluralistic one politically. Which is all the more weird, because Tablet’s editorial, written in response to a New York Times op-ed arguing that Pollard was getting what he deserved, was much crazier even than Foxman’s response to it. Tablet:

Pollard’s continued incarceration appears, at this point in time, to be intended as a statement that dual loyalty on the part of American Jews is a real threat to America—and a warning to the American Jewish community as a whole. …

In order to cover their own incredibly damaging mistakes and failures, the national security establishment is keeping Pollard in prison on the apparent grounds that Jews are especially prone to disloyalty. …

Allowing the American national security establishment to play on classic anti-Semitic stereotypes in order to keep a man in prison as a “lesson” to other members of his group or race is contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the U.S. Constitution—and would surely and rightly never be tolerated by Muslims, gays, blacks, Chinese-Americans, or any other group.

Wow. If Tablet and Abraham Foxman – who is actually pretty moderate compared to a lot of his fellow U.S. Jewish establishment bosses – are making this charge publicly, it can be safely assumed that this is an entirely common belief among the organized, pro-Israel American Jewish community.

God help them. The idea that Pollard would be free if not for anti-Semitism in high American places is the wildest, stupidest, most paranoid notion that could be. It is also the most insulting to the United States. America has lots of bad points, but aggravated anti-Semitism at the top is not one of them. Judging by Washington’s treatment of Israel and Israel lobbyists such as Foxman, the opposite is true. This goes without saying to everyone in America except the Jewish establishment, who thrive on the image of Jewish victimhood.

Why, then, is it so crazy to believe that anti-Semitism is the reason Pollard is still in jail? Because to believe that you have to believe that President Barack Obama is an anti-Semite, and his advisers are anti-Semites, too, because Obama has the power to free Pollard, and after five years in the White House he hasn’t done so.

I can hear the laughter all the way from Florida: “Oh no, who could ever think that Sheikh Barack Hussein Osama bin Obama and his advisers are anti-Semites?”

Fine. For the sake of argument with the Jewish Obamaphobes, let’s say the current administration is riddled with Jew-haters. But what about George W. Bush? He was president for eight years before Obama, and he also refused to pardon Pollard. Were W. and his people pursuing a vendetta against American Jewry, too?

And what about W.’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, who likewise kept Pollard in jail for eight years when he could have let him go; did the Clinton administration also have it in for American Jews?

This is so irrational and low. Think about this: When Bibi Netanyahu asked Clinton to release Pollard during the 1998 Wye talks, then-CIA director George Tenet told the president he would resign first. Could Tenet have been so committed to the cause of screwing over the Jews that he was ready to quit his job as head of the CIA for it?

One last point: Elliott Abrams, one of the hardasses in the Reagan and W. administrations, is as staunch and combative a Jew as there is; he publicly called Chuck Hagel an anti-Semite when Hagel was getting confirmed as defense secretary. In 2009, Abrams said this in an interview with the Jerusalem Post:

As for Pollard: There are details of his case that have always made his release problematic, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Is Elliott Abrams part of the vendetta, too?

The impression from the New York Times op-ed and more so from the Tablet editorial is that the book on Pollard in Washington is that he got American intelligence agents killed abroad, and that’s why the U.S. national security establishment, with the president at the top, is keeping him in jail. I don’t know if that’s true, of course, but it would make sense as a reason. Yet even if it’s not true, even if the American Jewish establishment and Israel are right that Pollard is being punished much more harshly than he deserves – where in the hell do they come off accusing Washington of anti-Semitism? And not just a minor case of it, but the kind that can fuel a vindictive campaign against American Jews going back decades, waged by both Republican and Democratic administrations and an entire generation of the Washington security/intelligence bureaucracy, a campaign that continues to this day.

My dear freaking God. This is what Abraham Foxman and Tablet magazine are saying publicly; I hate to imagine what the real right-wingers like Sheldon Adelson are saying privately. This is a sign of a deep-seated psychological problem, of disconnection from reality, in the organized, pro-Israel American Jewish community. There’s not much I can say to them, but there are a whole lot of sane, non-paranoid Jews in America, and they have to publicly denounce Foxman, Tablet and whoever else takes up this sickening slander against the U.S. government. It’s an insult to a country that’s treated Jews pretty damn well, and a crime against the truth.