While writing about Jonathan Pollard, I came upon something that more or less took my breath away for its sheer mean-spiritedness.
A creature called Steve Clemons wrote this in The Atlantic, which I remember as a serious magazine (but that was years ago):
In my book, Pollard should die in prison for his deeds that betrayed his fellow citizens and only be released if he became a bargaining chip in a scheme moving forward America’s strategic interests. That means if folks want Pollard out of prison, then Prime Minister Netanyahu and his associates like Bob Wexler can ‘do much more’ to engineer a close to the ulcerous, toxic mess of the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations standoff.
The piece, from August 2011, was called “Jonathan Pollard’s Only Remaining Value: Strategic Bargaining Chip.”
Now there are very few people that I would like to see die in prison, and they are all very vicious criminals indeed. Clemons wants Pollard to suffer because, in his words (in a blog post of January 2011),
As one former Reagan administration official stated, Pollard ferreted away and transferred to Israel, which allegedly passed along the information to the Soviet Union, the “crown jewels” of America’s national security strategy.
I presume Clemons’ tax return says ‘journalist’ on it, so you would think that he would know that this view of the matter is at the very least highly controversial, if not almost certainly false. A competent journalist would have read a little about the case before declaring that this human being, despite his flaws, had no value other than as a bargaining chip.
So what would Clemons like to see Obama get in return for freeing Pollard? His blog post continues,
Convicted spies can be bargaining chips. If Netanyahu were to commit to collapse his government, reassemble with sensible pragmatists in the Knesset, and deliver definitively on an internationally-accepted two state arrangement between Israel and Palestine, then I would support releasing Pollard to the Israelis.
There is nothing less than that that would suffice as the price for the release of this person who betrayed his nation. Israelis and Palestinians say that they could do a deal — if both were serious — in just a few months.
If so, then do the deal — and release Pollard after the leaders have signed the pact and the Quartet and Arab League have blessed the arrangement.
Do I have to write “the mind boggles” yet again? Netanyahu should collapse his government, and invite the extreme Left (“sensible pragmatists”) to join him in implementing a solution acceptable to the Arab League? The mind, … er, never mind.
But despite his political naiveté and journalistic laziness, Clemons is “Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live.” He is also a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a ‘progressive’ think tank funded by the biggest names in liberal philanthropy, including Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt (of Google), and — yes — several George Soros-connected donors.