Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pollard Isn't Going Anywhere

Benjamin Netanyahu recently promised Jonathan Pollard's wife that he will write an official letter to President Obama asking for the spy's release. I doubt the prime minister will hurry to write the letter, and when it is finally sent, it will probably be the only action he takes. There's nothing to gain from Pollard's release. Nothing to gain for anybody, except for Pollard himself and his family.

I don't think most Israelis really care about Jonathan Pollard. They wouldn't oppose his release, but they wouldn't be dancing in the streets. We'll be elated if Gilad Shalit is released. With Pollard, most would only say "oh, that's nice", and move on. The Pollard issue has no electoral power. Nobody will decide to vote for Netanyahu because he got our American spy out of prison. Neither will anyone decide not to vote for him because he failed to do so.

Jonathan Pollard's release isn't in Barack Obama's best interest, either. Even the staunchest American friends of Israel don't want to see the guy released, and freeing him would be seen as pandering to Israel, especially at a time when its government hasn't done anything deserving of rewards. Obama actually might lose votes over Pollard, with a release probably costing him more than it would benefit him.

Maybe this analysis is skewed by the fact that I don't want Jonathan Pollard released. He's a traitor to his country who may have spied for cash rather than ideology. I'm fine with him spending the rest of his life in prison.

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