Sleeves of a Vest

I don’t have any long-held opinions on whether Jonathan Pollard should be released as part of an Israel/Palestine deal, but let me point out the following sentence from the Post piece on Pollard to commenters as diverse as Kevin Drum and Doug Mataconis, both of whom are weighing in on Obama’s bad negotiating skills:

Under federal guidelines, Pollard will automatically be released on Nov. 21, 2015, unless the U.S. Parole Commission objects.

I don’t know why that sentence is the last one in that Post story, because it seems pretty damn important. If we can get anything by releasing Pollard after serving ~27 instead of ~28 years in prison, why not get it? That kind of pragmatic negotiating is the hallmark of the Obama Administration, thank Baby Jebus.






106 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    There you go trying to bring reality into the discussion! We KNOW Berry Hussein is an malevolent, ruthless dictator crush the constitution and destroying freedumb who is totally ineffective, a weak incompetent incapable of doing anything.

    Where reality refutes our primary premise reality must have it wrong

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    duplicate!! Not that it didn’t deserve to get posted twice but still.

    The truth, I am afraid, is that there is nothing we can do to bring peace in the Palestine/Israeli dispute. We went through the time when the Palestinians refused to deal and are now in the time when Israel thinks they are crushing the Palestinians. We can’t broker a deal when both side are not willing to deal at the same time. It will all end badly.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Yep. Memes must be served.

  4. 4
    Aimai says:

    Yeah but i still wouldnt give anyone anything till after a deal, not to start a deal.

  5. 5
    Keith G says:

    I think Kevin Drum pulled the trigger on that post without making a few extra clicks to become aware of the conditions of Pollard’s sentencing – if indeed the info I came across in factually accurate.

    Edit @Aimai: That seems to be the most likely concern over this

  6. 6
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Is there any reason to think the parole commission wouldn’t object?

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Obama is absolutely the worst negotiator ever. I don’t know why John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Darryl Issa, Antonin Scalia, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Samuel Alito, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, (birds of a feather, right?) all have their panties in a bunch

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @Aimai:

    Last I heard, the “deal” would call for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Isreal.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: You mean “terrorists” don’t you?

  10. 10
    Botsplainer says:

    Hopefully, he’ll get shivved as he walks through the corridor toward the open door.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Schlemizel: Yeah, I don’t see much point in it either. Netanyahu isn’t going to bargain in good faith. And the day he is replaced by a more reasonable person, the Palestinians will balk. It’s sadly pointless.

  12. 12
    DWD says:

    Couple of things. One, if we do release Pollard, we’ll be getting nothing for him aside from the release of a few Palestinian prisoners and a lukewarm promise from both sides to wait until after the midterms before letting talks collapse. Also, it’s not a formality that Pollard would be allowed to walk next year. He did admit to spying, and the damage he did was supposedly bad enough that the judge ignored his plea deal and gave him a maximum sentence. He’s also supposedly ailing though, so admittedly there is a decent chance he will be released when he’s eligible.

    Basically for what we’d be “getting,” we might as well let Pollard finish his sentence. There’s no point horse trading when neither party to the talks is actually invested in pursuing them, and right now both Israel and the PA are ready to walk away.

  13. 13
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Roughly 30 years of a life [sentence] seems to be the norm for cases like this – e.g. John Anthony Walker. Ames and Hanssen were sentenced to life without parole (according to the Wikipedia).

    If his release a few months early breaks the logjam and causes real progress in negotiations, then great. If not, it was worth a try I guess. I do worry that it’s possibly being used as a ploy by Bibi to increase his personal stature and in an attempt to show that he has Obama wrapped around his finger. “You want me to do more, Barry? What’ll you gimme this time?”

    Like others, I fear that ways will be found to crush the tender shoots of negotiations before they can grow very far. A change in leadership in Israel is probably required before real progress is made.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    @Aimai:

    Yes, this. And for what it’s worth, since I haven’t read any coverage of this, he should be deported to Israel and forbidden from ever entering the US, if they release him. Let them have that piece of shit.

  15. 15
    another lurker says:

    @DWD: Really? The release of 400 Palestinian prisoners including women and children isn’t worth it?

  16. 16
    Jeremy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well I wouldn’t say that. If he was the worst negotiator ever we wouldn’t have a nuclear deal with Iran, or the largest international nuclear disarmament agreement through the Nuclear Security Summit which he started. Obama is not perfect but the guy is no fool.

  17. 17
    Anton Sirius says:

    @DWD:

    One, if we do release Pollard, we’ll be getting nothing for him aside from the release of a few Palestinian prisoners and a lukewarm promise from both sides to wait until after the midterms before letting talks collapse.

    That seems like a pretty good deal to me. Bill Casey is nodding in approval from hell.

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    caution: not supporting the narrative runs you the risk of being outed as a free thinker.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @cleek:

    Or a kook.

  20. 20
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jeremy: Sarcasm Jeremy. The people named (except Putin maybe) all like to tell us that Obama is a terrible negotiator, but then all complain that they got rolled by Obama in whatever the latest deal they signed is. I added Putin simply because so many on the right have a man crush on him.

  21. 21
    seabe says:

    @Schlemizel: the Palestinians refused to deal? When? You mean they refused an offer that no self-respecting Palestinian would accept? An offer akin to the Republicans’ offer on health insurance? An offer to show they’re “serious” to make the other side look unreasonable? That offer?

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Ben says:

    @seabe:
    I think Schlemizel is referring to the period of time during the first forty years of Israel’s existence when the Palestinian position was basically “From the River to the Sea”

    (Which can be argued is now the Israeli Government’s position)

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Hey, hey, the NYT says Charles Keating has died. I wonder if McCain will go to the funeral?

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    There’s a positive side to letting Pollard out a year early- he would probably be very unhappy about being released to facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian deal. In any event, it looks like the Palestinians are saying ‘No thanks’ ahead of time:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04.....&_r=0

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    To “400 Palestinian prisoners including women and children” it’s the Whole Damn World.

  27. 27
    Warren Terra says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:
    Not a great comparison – Pollard is scum, but it’s believed Hanssen and Ames actually got people killed, which I’ve not seen alleged about Pollard.

  28. 28
    libarbarian says:

    If these guys release Pollard while hounding Snowden …. then they can go fuck themselves.

    And we won’t get shit for this.

    I remember watching that scumbag on 60 minutes whining about how he was the victim of Anti-Semitism. He spied for money, for more than just Israel, and then shamelessly played the “I’m just a Jew helping poor Israel and being persecuted by Anti-Semites” bullshit. Pollard is shit. He should die alone in a cage. Then the Israelis can have him.

  29. 29
    DWD says:

    @another lurker: Yes and no, given that Israel can sweep up another 400 tomorrow, plus displace a few thousand West Bank residents with another settlement, plus gun down a couple dozen Gazans for good measure. Freeing Pollard was one of Netanyahu’s campaign promises in 2007, so he ought to be worth the prisoners plus some actual modification in Israel’s behavior.

    I think what Drum, Matanconis, et al, are upset about is that this signals that yet we’ve wasted time and effort on yet another round of talks that was DOA before it got started.

    I was being glib when I said we might as well let Pollard finish his sentence. If all Israel is prepared to trade for him is freeing those prisoners, then what we really ought to do is trade him for the prisoners but no extension of talks. Extending the talks won’t change anything except pushing their collapse off until after the midterms, but it will prevent the Palestinians from pursuing membership in several international institutions, including possibly getting recognition under the Geneva Conventions, for another year. That’s another wasted year for them.

  30. 30
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Warren Terra: All of them were different, of course. E.g. Walker gave the Soviets information on how to track all of our subs. That’s a big Biden deal. Yet he may be released soon.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    Is there any reason to believe that Israel is negotiating in good faith and intends to live up to any deal it enters into?

  32. 32
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    That kind of pragmatic negotiating is the hallmark of the Obama Administration, thank Baby Jebus.

    This kind of Lucy-puts-the-football-down-for-Charlie Brown negotiating tactic is the antithesis of pragmatism. It gets you nothing, rewards bad behavior, and makes it abundantly clear–yet again–that the US is trying much harder than either of the parties with the real skin in the game. Pollard’s possible release date has nothing to do with anything.

  33. 33
    Bill Arnold says:

    Pollard will automatically be released on Nov. 21, 2015, unless the U.S. Parole Commission objects.

    Another consideration: prior to this there would be a full press from the free-Pollard community, complete with accusations of anti-semitism and whatever the right wing partisan spins turn out to be. I don’t have a good sense for how it would play out but it would probably dominate the discourse for a while.

  34. 34
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Baud: What a magnificent delusion. Whatever that man is smoking or swallowing, I want some. I don’t know if any of the people I saw lined up at the hospital on Monday to sign up for healthcare insurance know of (or care about) a conspiracy. They are just lower-paid workers who now have a chance at insurance to help make their lives a bit easier.

    Has Issa figured out how long questioning 7 million people will take?

  35. 35
    hoodie says:

    @burnspbesq: They’d be reneging on a deal to get back a guy that spied on us, which kind of undermines the idea that Israeli interests are coextensive with ours. Drum:

    I’m beginning to wonder if the right-wing hawks are right after all: Obama is a terrible negotiator who gets taken for a ride by anyone willing to put a gun to his head.

    Really? Think about who’s holding the gun here. Pollard is meaningless. If I were the Israelis, I’d turn this offer down immediately.

  36. 36
    Jay C says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    Someone needs their snark-o-meter adjusted: Andy Borovitz’ column is, as it says at the bottom: “news satire” – though given the pathetic clownshow(s) Darryl Issa has spent/wasted so much time putting on in Congress, a bit of credulity can be understood….

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    Let’s be reminded that the Manson folks come up for mandatory parole often and get rejected.

    Pollard was one of the worst traitors in U.S. history.

    The fact that he’s considered an Israeli hero by large swathes of that country is pretty much proof that the US/Israel relationship jumped the shark long ago.

    With the talk of releasing Pollard in the air the Israeli government just announced another large settlement expansion. Another of the endless in your face moves the Netanyahu government.

    The day after Pollard gets his welcome home parade Netanyahu will shove Obama’s face in crap.

    Eff Pollard, he can get sent home in a bodybag after his sentence is over.

  38. 38
    Paul in KY says:

    I have an opinion: That POS traitor should rot in prison till he dies.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Ash Can says:

    The point about Pollard’s release date is a potentially important one. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Netanyahu has actively worked to undermine Obama in the past. There’s no freaking way he’ll negotiate in good faith with this administration, about this or anything else.

  41. 41
    hoodie says:

    @DWD: Not surprising. This offer to release Pollard puts Netanyahu in a bind. He’s obviously getting pressure from his right flank to secure Pollard’s release, because Israel has repeatedly asked for it. Obama knows the likudniks will keep pressing and the pressure will intensify as the time of Pollard’s potential parole approaches. Obama’s offer frames the issue as him being open to releasing Pollard in return for a pretty modest request in the interest of middle east peace. The Israelis would probably prefer to hold out until Pollard is up for parole, but there’s no guarantee that parole will be granted and I imagine Obama could make that much more difficult, seeing as he has control of the information as to the severity of Pollard’s crimes, of which we probably don’t know the full extent. The Israelis know how bad they were.

  42. 42
    DWD says:

    I really think the assumption that Pollard will automatically be released as soon as he’s eligible is questionable. His leaks were pretty serious, and there’s evidence that info he passed to Israel on our intel sources and methods eventually wound up with the Soviets. The judge on his case threw out his plea deal because of the supposed nature of his crime. Plus, the intel and national security communities have been dead set against releasing Pollard this entire time, and our legal system tends to be pretty deferential to those folks when it comes to national security issues in general.

  43. 43
    NobodySpecial says:

    If we set him free a year early, what about his Super 2 rights? Do we want to start the clock a year early for not much gain?

  44. 44
    Ash Can says:

    @DWD: Yeah, as if anyone should give a flying fuck about what Pollard thinks. (This comment is not directed at you; I realize you’re just reporting.)

  45. 45
    AxelFoley says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Hopefully, he’ll get shivved as he walks through the corridor toward the open door.

    Ouch.

  46. 46
    brantl says:

    Notwithstanding the fact that they guy is a complete scumbag?

  47. 47
    DWD says:

    @hoodie: Eh, I think Netanyahu can frame this as the awful, anti-Israel Obama admin demanding impossible concessions from Israel in exchange for Pollard’s release, and be just fine with his right flank. His coalition partners care more about settlement building than about springing Pollard, always have, and as long as Netanyahu can sell the idea that he’s doing all he can for Pollard, within reason, he’ll be OK.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: No. SATSQ.

  49. 49
    Ash Can says:

    @hoodie: It has occurred to me that Obama may be dangling Pollard in front of Netanyahu just to mess with him. If in fact the release-Pollard sentiments are that strong in Israel, it can’t help but put the screws to not just Netanyahu but the entire right wing in Israel.

    ETA: OK, I read DWD @ #47.

  50. 50
    Cervantes says:

    @burnspbesq: Not a one.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hoodie:

    If I were the Israelis, I’d turn this offer down immediately.

    You don’t understand that Pollard is a big fucking deal (h/t Joe Biden) to the vile scum that are the Likudniks. Bibi made getting Pollard released a campaign promise. Pollard is some sort of hero to some Israelis, enough to be brought up as a campaign promise.

    It makes no sense rationally, but this is an emotional issue to some in Israel.

  52. 52
    hoodie says:

    @DWD: That may be, but he may lose some support in the US as he goes through that charade. Getting back to the original issue, contrary to what people like Drum have said, this isn’t a stupid negotiating tactic on Obama’s part, especially considering that Pollard will be up for parole anyway. By that time, Obama may say fuck it, and torpedo his parole for kicks.

  53. 53
    AxelFoley says:

    @libarbarian:

    If these guys release Pollard while hounding Snowden …. then they can go fuck themselves.

    At least Pollard served time. That coward ass bitch Snowden ran off instead of facing the music.

    Fuck Snowden and his supporters. Twice.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @DWD: All the more reason to dangle this offer in front of Bibi.

  55. 55
    Svensker says:

    This seems like one of those situations when you don’t know what you’re talking about and the result is that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Do I make myself clear?

  56. 56
    Paul in KY says:

    @DWD: I’ve also heard that he has never cooperated in finding out just what & how much was sent to Israelis.

  57. 57
    geg6 says:

    @libarbarian:

    If these guys release Pollard while hounding Snowden …. then they can go fuck themselves.

    Is this a belated April Fool’s joke? Because, seriously. No one hounded Snowden. Snowden, brave, brave Sir Edward, ran away. All on his own. To China and then to Russia. After stealing classified information, in what looks an awful lot like a conspiracy to get a job in which he could do this very thing. My preference would be for him to be an inmate rooming with Mr. Pollard. But brave, brave Sir Edward ran away to the bastion of freedom and civil rights, Mother Russia, not at all hounded by anyone as far as I can see.

  58. 58
    KXB says:

    In the course of a negotiation, it is expected that the two opposing sides will have to give and take. Kerry has managed the interesting feat of being the probably the first mediator to have to give up something, not for an actual course of action by either party, but simply to keep the parties talking.

    I know James Baker is not going to have many fans in this forum, but he was quite right when he told the Mideast, “Call us when you’re serious.”

    Not only should Pollard serve his sentence, but the parole board should deny him parole once he is eligible. The damage he did is not lessened simply because he was doing his spying for a friendly nation. Given that Israel turned around, and gave that intel to the Soviets for their own reasons.

    Although a work of fiction, last week’s episode of The Americans touched upon this odd relationship. A KGB agent captures a Mossad agent operating in America, who is monitoring a Russian Jewish scientist who defected to America and is working on stealth technology. The KGB agent says, “This is what you Jews do? You spy on your friends? (meaning America)” The Mossad agent replies, “America is not our friend. America is our father. Our father thinks we are not ready to handle his big, fancy sports car. Sometimes, on the weekend, when he is not around, we like to take it our for a ride.”

  59. 59
    ruemara says:

    @burnspbesq: no. When have they ever, in the past 20 years? However, Bibi has not been friends with Barack & a deal like this is a minor bit of sweetening, considering his obvious support of Romney, the GOP and the face destroying loss.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Svensker: Mud-infused crystal!

  61. 61
    daveNYC says:

    “…unless the U.S. Parole Commission objects.” is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Pollard is a spy, which means he isn’t just a prisoner, he’s leverage. Like others have said, a prisoner release isn’t worth it since Israel can just round up another 400 people to stick in jail the day Pollard gets off the plane. If we can get an actual change in behavior (ha!) then I say let them have him.

  62. 62
    randomworker says:

    @KXB: I am one of the few people I know that like that show. I noticed that exchange as well. Astute observation I thought.

  63. 63
    Cervantes says:

    @KXB:

    Kerry has managed the interesting feat of being the probably the first mediator to have to give up something, not for an actual course of action by either party, but simply to keep the parties talking.

    You must be joking. Over the last forty years, the US government has given Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinians — mostly Israel, of course — billions and billions of dollars, and various other things — “simply to keep the parties talking.”

    (One could add “in lieu of making them face certain truths and realities,” but I won’t.)

  64. 64
    KXB says:

    @Cervantes:

    We gave billions to Egypt and Israel as a part of their making peace. We did the same when Israel and Jordan signed a treaty. The parties had to agree to a deal first, then the U.S. did its part. Kerry is embarrassing himself in having the U.S. make desperate concessions just to keep the parties talking.

  65. 65
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    @NobodySpecial: Eh, cutting players with gang ties seems to be all the rage anyways. Pollard fits that description to a T.

  66. 66
    Cervantes says:

    @KXB: I disagree. Bankrolling the so-called “peace process” has been far more costly to us than anything Kerry is doing at the moment.

    (I understand now that you were not joking and that you do see it differently.)

  67. 67
    KXB says:

    @randomworker:

    It is a show that manages to strike just the right balance of Cold War paranoia, while at the same time pointing at the Soviets were no slouches in the espionage dept. [SPOILER} That the episode ended by Israel handing over the scientist to the Soviets, in exchange for the emigration of several hundred Soviet Jews to Israel, which also negatively affected US research programs, shows that the writers and producers are not interested in giving the viewer a neat depiction of international relations.

  68. 68
    KXB says:

    @Cervantes:

    I don’t think Kerry’s actions are the worst thing the U.S. could do, but IMO, it is a new wrong-headed move in a relationship that is replete with examples of wrong moves by the U.S.

  69. 69
    RP says:

    Why do some people get so worked up about Pollard? Honestly, who cares? He’s already been in prison for 30 years and isn’t going to spy on us again. Is the need for revenge so important? If we can get a couple hundred prisoners released in exchange for a year of prison, you take that deal every day and twice on Sunday.

  70. 70
    Cacti says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Is there any reason to think the parole commission wouldn’t object?

    Absent pressure from the top, I’d give that a big hells no.

    Pollard cooperated with the Government’s investigation, and in late May 1986, the Government offered him a plea agreement, which he accepted. By the terms of that agreement, Pollard was bound to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, which carried a maximum prison term of life, and to cooperate fully with the Government’s ongoing investigation. He promised not to disseminate any information concerning his crimes or his case, or to speak publicly of any classified information, without first submitting to pre-clearance by the Director of Naval Intelligence. His agreement further provided that failure by Anne Pollard to adhere to the terms of her agreement entitled the Government to void his agreement, and her agreement contained a mirror-image provision. In return for Pollard’s plea, the Government promised not to charge him with additional crimes

    Three weeks before Pollard’s sentencing, Wolf Blitzer, at the time a Jerusalem Post correspondent, conducted a jail-cell interview with Pollard and penned an article that also ran in The Washington Post headlined, “Pollard: Not A Bumbler, but Israel’s Master Spy”, published February 15, 1987.[49] Pollard told Blitzer about some of the information he provided the Israelis: reconnaissance satellite photography of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia, specific capabilities of Libya’s air defenses, and “the pick of U.S. intelligence about Arab and Islamic conventional and unconventional military activity, from Morocco to Pakistan and every country in between. This included both ‘friendly’ and ‘unfriendly’ Arab countries.” Some commentators identified this interview as a blatant violation of the plea agreement.

    Prior to sentencing, Pollard and his wife Anne gave further defiant media interviews in which they defended their spying and attempted to rally Jewish Americans to their cause. In a 60 Minutes interview, Anne said, “I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that.”

    The guy is an unrepentant traitor.

  71. 71
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cervantes: Thanks for whacking that stupid comment down.

  72. 72
    hoodie says:

    @Cervantes: Agree, what Kerry is offering is pretty cheap compared to military aid. Pollard is in ill health, which may make him more sympathetic for parole. It’s been reported that part of the deal is a freeze on new settlements. If you can get the Israelis to sign on to that for Pollard, that’s not a bad deal. I get that people want Pollard to rot in hell, but I’d rather get something for him before that happens. As for Kerry “embarassing himself”, that’s kind of like people who bitch at Obama for being weak. It’s a non-argument based on ego issues. Kerry’s job is to negotiate, not make himself (or certain people) feel good, and the long term outcome is what matters. Example: Obama did whatever he had to do to save the ACA in spite of all the hand-wringing and chest-thumping about his negotiating skills, etc. Now that’s starting to bear fruit.

  73. 73
    Paul in KY says:

    @RP: Because the asshole is going to be feted as a hero over there when & if he ever gets there. I’m still pissed off over the USS Liberty fiasco & I’m not in the habit of giving those smug bastards (Likudnick Israel) what they want.

  74. 74
    Cacti says:

    I would also say that, based on what I’ve seen, there is a bit of a disconnect between Jewish-Americans and Israeli Jews over what should be done with Pollard.

    While Likudniks consider him a hero, Jewish-Americans often look at him as the guy who a did a grave disservice to them, by feeding anti-semitic paranoia that they are all Jews first and Americans second, and would gladly betray their country for the sake of Israel.

  75. 75
    KXB says:

    @hoodie:

    Kerry’s job is to negotiate

    No, Kerry’s job is to mediate. It is not the same thing, and given that Kerry seems confused about his role as well, it is not surprising that he has nothing to show for all his shuttling around. The Israelis know that any concessions they promise now can be ignored later, so long as Congress has Israel’s back. No one, including Arab governments in the region, gives 2 cents about the Palestinians. Kerry is engaged in diplomatic busywork. Which would be fine, if he did not harm the reputation of the U.S., and promise the release of traitors in the process.

  76. 76
    RP says:

    @Paul in KY: Again, who cares how he’ll be treated in Israel? You can’t make policy that way.

  77. 77
    Paul in KY says:

    @RP: I guess Thank God Paul in KY is not making these decisions. I answered why I felt the way I did. I could trade the MFer for something or someone, if I was in a policy making position. But I’m not & I think he serves as a good example to others who might contemplate such misguided & traitorous actions.

  78. 78
    libarbarian says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Pollard TRIED to run. He just failed. So, a traitor AND incompetent. That’s a ringing endorsement.

  79. 79
    Cervantes says:

    @hoodie:

    As for Kerry “embarassing himself”, that’s kind of like people who bitch at Obama for being weak. It’s a non-argument based on ego issues. Kerry’s job is to negotiate, not make himself (or certain people) feel good, and the long term outcome is what matters.

    Yes. In good faith one can criticize now (perhaps in the hope that other tactics will be tried instead); or one can wait to see what happens — I don’t mind doing the latter at the moment.

    @KXB:

    @hoodie: Kerry’s job is to negotiate

    No, Kerry’s job is to mediate. It is not the same thing, and given that Kerry seems confused about his role as well, it is not surprising that he has nothing to show for all his shuttling around.

    Mediators often have to negotiate (bilaterally, even privately) with all sides in a dispute.

  80. 80
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cacti: Exactly, and the vast majority of American Jews are AMERICANS first, and are every bit as appalled as many of us in the strange direction that Israel has gone in (many Israelis are unhappy with this as well).

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m no fan of James Baker, consigliere of the Bush Crime Family, but he was right on the money about attempts to mediate between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Likud, in particular, has been intransigent to an extent that made Yassir Arafat look like a reasonable guy.

  82. 82
    libarbarian says:

    @geg6:

    WTF do Snowdens crimes have to do with anything? Yeah, he bought himself a ticket to the jail cell … and so did Pollard .. and it would be fucking dick to let the latter retire to a Mediterranean beach where he will live well just because he happens to have important friends.

    And, in case you didn’t know:
    Pollard TRIED to run an FAILED. After being caught, he then tried to play the “honest spy” ruse and claim that he had only spied for Israel and only out of altruistic motives when the truth was that he spied for anyone who would give him $$$ and even actively sought out contacts in other foreign governments to whom he could sell secrets. Australia even yanked one of their people from America after Pollard brazenly offered to sell him documents; they suspected it was a CIA trick. Then, when it was convenient he donned the Yarmulke and played the martyr and accused everyone from the prosecutor on up of Anti-Semitism and claimed that he was the victim of an Pogrom organized from the to the top levels of the government. I saw that fucker on 60 Minutes directly comparing his imprisonment to the Pogroms and even the Holocaust.

    AS for a deal … don’t make me laugh. Netenyahu is not an honest counter party and he will never compromise his vision of a Greater Israel that has been purged of Palestinians. Giving him Pollard will do nothing for peace. It will just boost him politically.

    Like I said. He should die in a cage. THEN we can give him to Israel.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m going to re-state my crazy opinion that I formed after the Soda Stream controversy: the more settlements Israel creates, the more likely it is that the eventual solution will have to be a one-state solution with Palestinians becoming equal citizens of Israel. As we all saw in South Africa, having a small population dominating a larger population with apartheid is an unsustainable plan, and it was only the willingness of Nelson Mandela to graciously accept victory that prevented a bloodbath there.

  84. 84
    KXB says:

    @libarbarian:

    Then, when it was convenient he donned the Yarmulke and played the martyr and accused everyone from the prosecutor on up of Anti-Semitism

    Kinda like Hyman Roth in Godfather 2, who tried to flee to Israel, claiming he was just trying to be a good Jew. Nothing to do with trying to escape his murderous mobster partners.

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: From a practical standpoint,, you’re right. The problem of course is that there are those who insist that Israel must be first and foremost a JEWISH state, which means no Muslims allowed here. The militant Muslim response is “push them into the sea!”

    There is no way to resolve such diametrically opposed positions. Caught in between the extremists are millions of Israelis and Palestinians who just want to live their lives in peace, with a better future for their children.

    The extremists will have none of that shit, no way, no how.

  86. 86
    aaron says:

    Let the traitor rot in jail. f–k him.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Frankly, without someone with the stature of a Nelson Mandela magically appearing in Israel or Palestine, getting to a one-state solution would be almost impossible. But that’s the direction Israel is taking themselves, whether they want to admit it or not, and short of herding all of the Palestinians into death camps and executing all of them, it’s going to be the only viable solution.

    I just find it highly ironic that, in their quest for a solely Jewish state, Israel is backing themselves into a corner where that ideal will eventually have to be given up and an integrated state will have to be created.

    (And by “eventually,” I mean within the next 100 years, so it’s not like I’m expecting this result from current or even near future negotiations.)

  88. 88
    Shaft says:

    @libarbarian: Don’t expect Axel to actually know something about what he comments on.

  89. 89
    Paul Gottlieb says:

    Only an idiot would think that a promise from Netanyahu that Israel would “slow down” their construction activity in the West Bank is worth anything. One day after Pollard lands in Israel, the bulldozers and cranes will start up again, Obama will look like a complete idiot, and Netanyahu will take a victory lap. And Isreal will return to blocking any actual steps towards peace. Pollard’s release should only come as part of the final step of a comprehensive peace plan.

    Also, you can be assured that there will be many loud and angry objections to granting Pollard parole, from all throughout the American intelligence community

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    and short of herding all of the Palestinians into death camps and executing all of them, it’s going to be the only viable solution.

    This is what is most heartbreaking to me about this entire situation. There are Israelis who think that herding Palestinians into death camps IS a solution.

    Well, someone else had the idea of rounding up all members of a despised ethnic group into death camps as a solution, too.

    This is what is most appalling about the situation. It seems that “never again” only applies to a single ethnic group. All others are not covered by “never again”.

    Most Jews absolutely get what is wrong with this approach…but they’re outshouted by the crazies.

    We need a tag team of Nelson Mandelas in Israel/Palestine, stat, to bring this murderous lunacy to a halt. I fear that they won’t be found in time.

  91. 91
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: That will never happen.

  92. 92
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Israel had one in Gen. Rabin & they murdered him.

  93. 93
    KXB says:

    Sadat made peace with Israel. Got killed for his efforts.

    Rabin signed a treaty with Arafat. Got killed for his efforts.

    That is the lesson the leaders of the Middle East have learned.

  94. 94
    Cervantes says:

    @Ben:

    I think Schlemizel is referring to the period of time during the first forty years of Israel’s existence when the Palestinian position was basically “From the River to the Sea”

    Are you sure? I think one has to distinguish between real positions and positions stated in public. To take one example: Are you aware that, in 1971, the Israelis were offered a comprehensive peace treaty in return for their withdrawal from the Occupied Territories “with only minor alterations [to the border in Israel’s favor] as a result of security arrangements”? (The offer was backed by the UN.[*]) How do you think the Israelis responded?

    ———————
    [*] I say it was backed by the UN, but it was shaped also by the Nixon Administration, which then declined to push Israel to accept it.

    [Re: “From the River to the Sea”] (Which can be argued is now the Israeli Government’s position)

    Is now, or has always been.

    For example, in 1969, Israel elected a Labour government whose public platform called for Israel to maintain sovereignty over Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai. Israel’s “security frontier” was to be the Jordan River.

    That was the Labour Party’s successful platform. Presumably I don’t need to spell out what Labour’s right-wing opponents thought of it, or what they proposed instead.

  95. 95
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Paul in KY: Aye. A tragic day that was. Chances are that if a Palestinian Rabin were to emerge, he’d meet the same fate from his own group as well.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul in KY:

    It will happen whether the current generation of politicians wants it or not. Whether it happens peacefully, as (eventually) happened in South Africa or as a bloodbath, as in Ireland, it will happen. There is no other possible result of Israel’s actions with the settlements.

  97. 97
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Chances are that if a Palestinian Rabin were to emerge, he’d meet the same fate from his own group as well.

    On the one hand, it may have happened already, more than once.

    On the other hand, if Yitzhak Rabin is the model, I guess we shall have no exact Palestinian equivalent, as I am not aware of any Palestinian who (for example) ever subjected 65,000 Israeli civilians to a death march.

    Yitzhak Rabin did many things good and bad, including one good thing in the ’90s for which he was murdered.

  98. 98
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: It won’t happen. S. Africa & Israel/Occupied Territories are not the same. The whites in SA were drops in a black ocean. Not that way in middle east. Blacks in S. Africa had real support from all surrounding nations, wheras Palestininas have had only minor concrete support since 73 & their biggest supporter was Saddam. Plus Israeli military is a different animal from S. African one (which used alot of black troops).

    The only way they would win is if every Arab (and I mean every fucking one) just decided to mass attack Israel from all sides & internally & didn’t stop mtill they were all dead. That would, of course, involve massive casualties among the Arab attackers until they completed the mission. Even then, the last Israelis would probably nuke Mecca or something like that.

  99. 99
    Jeremy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For some reason after I wrote the comment I thought it was sarcasm. My bad !

  100. 100
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: Just goes to show that doing good things, at least in Israel, will get you a pretty shitty reward.

  101. 101
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Even then, the last Israelis would probably nuke Mecca or something like that.

    Supposedly, when things were looking pretty bad in the Yom Kippur war (’73), the Labor Israeli cabinet contemplated the use of the N-word weapons that Israel does not have.

    I have no idea how they thought on targeting, but lobbing a few at Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, and Mecca might well have been the general idea. A sort of “well, if this is the end, we’re taking you assholes with us. Mazel Tov!”

  102. 102
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yes, I see your point: even one such as Rabin, etc.

    My comment was a response to the Mandela comparison. No one is perfect but there are real differences among people.

  103. 103
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: Absolutely true that the parallels are inexact, at best. Still, the guy does something good and he’s swiftly dealt with by those who are bound and determined to vindicate the Reinhard Heydrich approach to dealing with pesky ethnics.

  104. 104
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Right.

    Have you seen Judge Levy’s statement at the sentencing of Yigal Amir?

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: No, do you have a link? I suspect I know where this is going…some sort of direct Holocaust analogy…

  106. 106
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Assuming you want an English version, here are translated excerpts provided by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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