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U.S.-Israel and Spy Case

March 29, 1987

Understandably, the Pollard spy case has received the media attention it merits, but it is disturbing to see how many Jewish leaders raise the "dual loyalty" question. It reflects more on their insecurities than is warranted.

For Americans, the issue is simple. A man in a sensitive intelligence position in government passed secret information on to a foreign government. That the government is an "ally" does not lessen the gravity of the act.

Whether Pollard deserved a life sentence is a matter of judgment. Mitigating circumstances suggest it was harsh, and needs to be reviewed.

Surely the Israelis and the American Jewish community that supports it unstintingly must realize that Israel is a nation that prides itself on being the United States' "staunchest ally" in the Middle East and depends on American public and private support. So the officials who made the "deal" with Pollard were stupid; they need to be removed from their commands, and the government in charge challenged.

And Israel's media, and its public officials, need to "cool" the ardor of those who want to treat Pollard as a "hero" who must be released and brought to Israel to live. Pollard, and those who run spy operations, know that the price for this service is to be "left out in the cold" and suffer the consequences.

Continued, well-publicized public protest and demonstrations, as well as raising of money to "defend" Pollard and seek his release, may be well-meaning, but it reflects an insensitivity as to America's need, as well as that of its Jewish community, to deal with Pollard's imprisonment on the basis of our court and political systems.

Once that is accomplished--and the life sentence is commuted--it will be up to Pollard to decide whether or not he wants to shape his future in Israel, the United States, or elsewhere.

In short, there are lessons to be learned here that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. But there comes a time when all this rhetoric, breast-beating, and finger-pointing must end. The sooner the better. Nor is there any guarantee this sorry episode will not be repeated. The odds are that it will. That's because we are all human beings who have emotions and feelings, and the power for personal judgments, right or wrong. Hopefully, most will be right.

HYMAN H. HAVES

Pacific Palisades

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