Tag: Pollard, Jonathan


Jonathan Pollard, Jewish-American Spy for Israel, Going Free After 30 Years: Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel, Nov. 20, 2015 — Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American-Jewish spy for Israel whose conviction on charges of espionage shaded the relations between the two countries and raised, yet again, the ancient allegation of Jewish dual loyalty, was finally to be freed on parole Friday after 30 years.

War: Thinking the Unthinkable: Bernard-Henri Lévy, Huffington Post, Nov. 18, 2015 — So it's war. A new kind of war.

The Rise of the College Crybullies: Roger Kimball, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13, 2015 — For more than a week now, the country has been mesmerized, and appalled, by the news emanating from academia.

A Crisis Our Universities Deserve: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015— Between the 19th century and the 1950s, the American university was gradually transformed from an institution intended to transmit knowledge into an institution designed to serve technocracy.


On Topic Links


The World is at War: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2015

Pollard’s Tragedy of Errors: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2015  

University Administrators and Real Professors Should Take Note: Every Brain Needs a Spine: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 14, 2015

Columbia Protesters Cheer: 'I Love Black Criminals': Aaron Short, New York Post, Nov. 15, 2015



GOING FREE AFTER 30 YEARS                                                                  

Mitch Ginsburg                

                                Times of Israel, Nov. 20, 2015


Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American-Jewish spy for Israel whose conviction on charges of espionage shaded the relations between the two countries and raised, yet again, the ancient allegation of Jewish dual loyalty, was finally to be freed on parole Friday after 30 years.


Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, spied for Israel for the span of 18 months. His capture and his subsequent treatment — by Israel, which threw him out of its Washington embassy and into the arms of waiting FBI agents, and by the United States, which agreed to a plea bargain and then sentenced him with uncommon severity — left him deeply embittered.


He was caught in November 1985 and given a life sentence two years later. There was no trial. Pollard, abiding by the prosecution’s terms, cooperated with FBI investigators and pleaded guilty to one count of espionage, conspiring to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. The prosecution honored its commitment and requested a “substantial” prison term rather than life behind bars. Judge Aubrey Robinson Jr., not bound by the prosecution’s plea bargain and apparently swayed by secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger’s damage-assessment brief, nonetheless sentenced Pollard to life. The content of Weinberger’s memo remains classified until today.


For the first 11 years of his incarceration, Israel refused to acknowledge that Pollard had operated as an authorized spy. He was not granted Israeli citizenship until November 1995. Nor was he much of a cause célèbre. Two notable backers of clemency were Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale, New York, and Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, both of whom advocated for his release during the early nineties. At that time the vast majority of Jewish leaders in the US sought to distance themselves from the case, which, like the trial and execution of Jules and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953, was seen as corrosively toxic to the achievements of American Jewry.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first Israeli leader since Pollard’s capture who presumably had no involvement in, or knowledge of, the case in real time, requested a presidential pardon from Bill Clinton in October 1998. Only Pollard’s release, he contended, would allow him to sign the second stage of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians at Wye River, Maryland. CIA Director George Tenet, also present at Wye River, served Clinton with an ultimatum: he would quit if the president acquiesced.


Subsequently, a growing list of American leaders, Jewish and otherwise, called for Pollard’s release. The US assistant secretary of defense at the time of his capture, Lawrence Korb, said in 2010 that “an injustice was done to Pollard” and that he should be released “before it is too late.” Former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger echoed that call. None, though, spoke as firmly as former CIA director James Woolsey, who hinted at anti-Semitism as a root cause of his lengthy incarceration: “There is absolutely no reason for Pollard to be imprisoned for as long as [Aldrich] Ames and [Robert] Hanssen, and substantially longer than spies from other friendly, allied, and neutral countries,” he wrote in 2012 in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. “For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he’s an American Jew, pretend he’s a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him.”


Donald Rumsfeld, early in his tenure as secretary of defense under president George W. Bush, wrote a memo that encapsulated the sentiment of the anti-clemency camp. “Representatives of the Israeli government are coming to Washington DC to meet with you,” he opened a March 2001 memo to Bush. They would likely ask for Pollard’s freedom, he wrote dryly. “Indeed it tends to happen repeatedly during the course of an Administration.” Rather than merely saying no, Rumsfeld suggested that Bush say: “…definitely no – no today, tomorrow and the next day, and that it is not a matter that you would consider during your administration. The advantage of being forceful the first time they visit the subject is that it might set them back on their heels and give them pause about bringing the subject up to you ever again.”


Pollard, known to his friends and colleagues as Jay, was raised in South Bend, Indiana, where, according to de-classified CIA documents, he lived a childhood “marked by material sufficiency, strong intellectual stimulation within a closely knit family and some bruising experiences as a member of the Jewish-American minority growing up in middle-America.” The Klan, he told Wolf Blitzer in the latter’s enduringly excellent book “Territory of Lies,” “was well organized in my city.”


A trip to Dachau, followed by a summer in Israel at a science camp at the Weizmann Institute, cemented in his mind a commitment to Israel’s security. The commitment, though, while apparently genuine — there have been doubters, citing offers Pollard allegedly made to trade classified documents to the governments of South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan before ever coming into official contact with Israel — was not rooted in entirely stable ground. In college, at Stanford University, he claimed to work for the Mossad. On one occasion, he waved a pistol in the air “and screamed that everyone was out to get him,” according to the CIA papers.


Lieutenant Commander David G. Muller, Jr., who ran an analytical section at the US Navy’s Field Operational Intelligence Office in Suitland, Maryland, told Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker in 1999 that when he first met Pollard, during a job interview in the early eighties, the future spy had come late for the interview and told him a complicated tale about how his then fiancé, Anne Henderson, had been kidnapped over the weekend by IRA operatives. “I ought to have gone to the security people and said ‘hey, this guy’s a wacko,” Muller said…                                                                                                                                    

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




                      WAR: THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE

Bernard-Henri Lévy                                  

Huffington Post, Nov. 18, 2015


So it's war. A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the nonterritorial model of Al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Daesh has returned. But a war all the same. And, faced with this war unwanted by the United States, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and now France, only one question is worth asking: What should we do? How, when a war like this is forced upon you, do you respond and win?


Principle number 1: Don't play with words. Call things by their right names. Dare to utter the terrible word "war," a word that the democracies try to push out of the range of hearing, beyond the bounds of their imagination, their symbolic system, and their reality. This aversion to war is their mission, their distinguishing trait, and their crowning glory, but it is also their weakness.


Recall the nobility and the candor of Léon Blum revealing, in a famous debate with Elie Halévy in the 1930s, that he could not grasp the notion of democracy at war, except as a contradiction. Recall the dignity but also the limits of the great consciences of humanism in the second half of that same decade, when they watched with alarm as Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Roger Caillois, and others from the College of Sociology called for the intellectual rearmament of a world that believed, then as now, that it was done with its dark past and with history.


That is where we stand today. Thinking the unthinkable: war. Accepting the oxymoron of a modern republic required to wage war to save itself. And thinking it all the more painfully because none of the rules laid down by theoreticians of war, from Thucydides to Clausewitz, seem to apply to that nonexistent state that brings fire from a distance that is all the greater because its frontlines are fluid and its fighters have the tactical advantage of making no distinction between what we call life and what they call death.


France's government, including the president, understands this. French political leaders across the spectrum have voiced their unanimous support. That leaves you, me, and society, both collectively and individually. Each of us, this time, is a target, a frontline, a soldier without knowing it, a cell of resistance, a locus of mobilization and of biopolitical fragility. The idea is heartbreaking and appalling, but it is a fact that we must face.


Principle number 2: The enemy. To utter the word war is to evoke an enemy. As Carl Schmitt taught, we must deal with the enemy as enemy, viewing him as someone to be tricked, outmaneuvered, tangled up in negotiations, or struck silently, depending on the tactics adopted–but in no case appeased. Following Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and every other theoretician of just war, we must also call the enemy by his true name.


That name is not "terrorism." The enemy is not a dispersed collection of "lone wolves" or "lunatics." And, as for the relentless culture of excuses that persists in portraying Daesh death squads as oppressed and excluded individuals pushed to the edge by an unjust society and forced by poverty to execute young people whose only crime is to like rock music, soccer, or a cool autumn night at a sidewalk cafe, that is an insult to the world's poor as well as to the dead. No.


These ignorant men who level their guns at the gift of life and at the freedom of movement and expression of the world's great cities; who detest the urban spirit as much as they do the underlying spirit of laws, rights, and peaceful autonomy of people freed from ancient subjections; who could benefit, if only the words were not so utterly foreign to them, from Victor Hugo's protest in response to the massacres of the Commune: that attacking Paris is worse than attacking France because it destroys the world–these men should rightfully be labeled fascists. Better: FASCISLAMISTS.


Better: the product of the grafting that Paul Claudel saw coming when he noted in his journal for May 21, 1935, in one of those insights that occur only to the truly great: "Hitler's speech? A kind of Islamism is being created at the center of Europe." What is the advantage of naming things accurately? To place the cursor right where it belongs. To remind us that against such an adversary war must be waged without truce or mercy. And to require each of us, everywhere, in the Arab-Muslim world as on the rest of the planet, to say why we are fighting, alongside whom, and against whom. Of course this does not mean that Islam, any more than other systems of thought, has a special affinity for the worst. It does not…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





THE RISE OF THE COLLEGE CRYBULLIES                                                               

Roger Kimball                           

                      Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13, 2015


For more than a week now, the country has been mesmerized, and appalled, by the news emanating from academia. At Yale the insanity began over Halloween costumes. Erika Christakis, associate master of a residential college at Yale, courted outrage by announcing that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society” and it was not her business to police Halloween costumes.


To people unindoctrinated by the sensitivity training that is de rigueur on most campuses today, these sentiments might seem unobjectionable. But to the delicate creatures at Yale’s Silliman College they were an intolerable provocation. What if students dressed as American Indians or Mexican mariachi musicians? Angry, hysterical students confronted Nicholas Christakis, Erika’s husband and the master of Silliman, screaming obscenities and demanding that he step down because he had failed to create “a place of comfort, a home” for students. The episode was captured on video and went viral.


At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive (2014 compensation: $8.4 million), went on a hunger strike to protest what he called “revolting” acts of racism at Mizzou. Details were scanty. Nevertheless, black members of the university football team threatened to strike for the rest of the season unless Tim Wolfe, Mizzou’s president, stepped down. A day or two later, he did. Emboldened, student and faculty protesters physically prevented reporters from photographing a tent village they had built on public space. In another shocking video, a student photographer is shown being forced back by an angry mob while Melissa Click, a feminist communications teacher at Mizzou, shouts for “muscle” to help her eject a reporter.


What is happening? Is it a reprise of the late 1960s and 1970s, when campuses across the country were sites of violent protests? In my book “Tenured Radicals: How Politics Have Corrupted Our Higher Education,” I showed how the radical ideology of the 1960s had been institutionalized, absorbed into the moral tissues of the American educational establishment. As one left-wing professor wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while—to the unobservant—that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.”


“Tenured Radicals” provides an account of that reshaping, focusing especially on what it has meant for the substance of a college education. The book includes a section on “academia and infantilization.” But when I wrote in 2008, the rhetoric of “safe spaces,” “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” had not yet colluded to bring forth that new academic phenomenon, at once tender and vicious, the crybully. The crybully, who has weaponized his coveted status as a victim, was first sighted in the mid-2000s. He has two calling cards, race and gender. By coincidence Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard University, was involved in the evolution of both.


Race came first. In 2001 Mr. Summers made headlines when he suggested that Cornel West—then the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., University Professor and eminence in the African and African American Studies Department at Harvard—buckle down to some serious scholarship. (Mr. West’s most recent production had been a rap CD called “Sketches of My Culture.”) Mr. Summers also suggested that the professor lead in fighting the scandal of grade inflation at Harvard, where one of every two grades was an A or A-. A national scandal erupted. Black professors at Harvard threatened to leave—Mr. West soon decamped to Princeton—and the New York Times published a hand-wringing editorial criticizing Mr. Summers, who quickly recanted, noting that the entire episode had been “a terrible misunderstanding.”


Then came gender. In 2005 Mr. Summers spoke at a conference on “Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce” at MIT. He speculated on why there aren’t more women scientists at elite universities. He touched on several possibilities: Maybe “patterns of discrimination” had something to do with it. Maybe most women preferred to put their families before their careers. And maybe, just possibly, it had something to do with “different availability of aptitude at the high end.” What a storm that last comment sparked! “I felt I was going to be sick,” wailed Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at MIT, who had walked out on Mr. Summers. “My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow, low,” Ms. Hopkins said. “I was extremely upset.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





A CRISIS OUR UNIVERSITIES DESERVE                                                                     

Ross Douthat


New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015


Between the 19th century and the 1950s, the American university was gradually transformed from an institution intended to transmit knowledge into an institution designed to serve technocracy. The religious premises fell away, the classical curriculums were displaced by specialized majors, the humanities ceded pride of place to technical disciplines, and the professor’s role became more and more about research rather than instruction.


Over this period the university system became increasingly rich and powerful, a center of scientific progress and economic development. But it slowly lost the traditional sense of community, mission, and moral purpose. The ghost of an older humanism still haunted its libraries and classrooms, but students seeking wisdom and character could be forgiven for feeling like a distraction from the university’s real business.


At which point the student radicalism of the 1960s entered the picture. The radicals moved quickly to dismantle the vestiges of moral conservatism on campus — the in loco parentis rules that still governed undergraduate life, for instance. But their real mission was actually a kind of remoralization, a renewal of the university as a place of almost-religious purpose, where students would be educated about certain great truths and then sent forth to live them out. It was just that these truths were modern instead of ancient: The truths of the antiwar and civil rights movements, and later of feminism and environmentalism and LBGTQ activism and a long list of social justice causes.


With time, the university ceded just enough ground to co-opt and tame these radicals. It adopted their buzzwords as a kind of post-religious moral vocabulary; it granted them the liberal arts as an ideological fiefdom (but not the sciences or the business school!); it used their vision of sexual liberation as a selling point for applicants looking for a John Belushi-esque good time. The result, by the time I arrived at college late in the 1990s, was a campus landscape where left-wing pieties dominated official discourse, but the university’s deeper spirit remained technocratic, careerist and basically amoral. And many students seemed content with that settlement.


This was the heyday of what my colleague David Brooks dubbed “the organization kid,” a vaguely liberal but not at all radical specimen to whom both traditional humanism and left-wing politics seemed entirely lacking in appeal. Now, though, radicalism is back, and the settlement that kept the careerist peace on campus seems to be cracking up all over. At small liberal-arts colleges, big state schools and Ivies alike, protesters are defenestrating presidents and deans, occupying quads, and demanding wholesale social and academic change.


It probably goes without saying that I have little sympathy for the goals of these new activists. In the academy they have in mind, ideas I cherish would probably be banned as hate speech and a past I treasure buried under “trigger warnings.” But the activists’ many critics, conservative and liberal, need a clearer sense of what these students are reacting against. The protesters at Yale and Missouri and a longer list of schools stand accused of being spoiled, silly, self-dramatizing — and many of them are. But they’re also dealing with a university system that’s genuinely corrupt, and that’s long relied on rote appeals to the activists’ own left-wing pieties to cloak its utter lack of higher purpose…


And within this system, the contemporary college student is actually a strange blend of the pampered and the exploited. This is true of the college football recruit who’s a god on campus but also an unpaid cog in a lucrative football franchise that has a public college vestigially attached. It’s true of the liberal arts student who’s saddled with absurd debts to pay for an education that doesn’t even try to pass along any version of Matthew Arnold’s “ best which has been thought and said,” and often just induces mental breakdowns in the pursuit of worldly success. It’s true of the working class or minority student who’s expected to lend a patina of diversity to a campus organized to deliver good times to rich kids whose parents pay full freight. And then it’s true of the rich girl who discovers the same university that promised her a carefree Rumspringa (justified on high feminist principle, of course) doesn’t want to hear a word about what happened to her at that frat party over the weekend.


The protesters may be obnoxious enemies of free debate, in other words, but they aren’t wrong to smell the rot around them. And they’re vindicated every time they push and an administrator caves: It’s proof that they have a monopoly on moral spine, and that any small-l liberal alternative is simply hollow. Or as the great Walter Sobchak might have put it: “Say what you want about the tenets of political correctness, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” Which might turn out to be the only epitaph for the modern university anybody needs to write.                       


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic


The World is at War: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2015—The world is at war. And that's old news. Immediately after 9/11, over 14 years ago, former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy said that WWIII had begun. The only thing that has changed over the past few days is that the rest of the world is also beginning to realize that it is at war.

Pollard’s Tragedy of Errors: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2015  —Dictionaries define William Shakespeare’s tragedies as his plays dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character.

University Administrators and Real Professors Should Take Note: Every Brain Needs a Spine: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 14, 2015—The most recent reports say there is a crisis in child services in the United States. The cost of daycare spaces has reached absolutely astronomic levels. Placement at the University of Missouri, for example, easily breaks the $40,000 threshold.

Columbia Protesters Cheer: 'I Love Black Criminals': Aaron Short, New York Post, Nov. 15, 2015—Either you’re with us or you’re against us. Columbia student activists are pestering peers to attend campus protests and walk-outs in solidarity with college students at Missouri and Yale or risk social isolation, students say.






We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org



Pollard, American Jewish Leaders and Anti-Semitism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014— American Jews are experiencing a nightmare. They are finally accepting the reality that the draconian treatment of Jonathan Pollard emanates from anti-Semitic strains in the US intelligence hierarchy.

‘The Monuments Men’ Shows How America Saved Paintings While Letting Jews Die: Rafael Medoff

, Tablet, Jan. 29, 2014 — The story behind the creation of the “monuments men” team, depicted in George Clooney’s new feature film by the same name, begins in the spring of 1943, after the Allies had confirmed that Hitler was carrying out what they called “his oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe”—while looting priceless works of art from their victims.

Chagall’s ‘Allegory of an Age of Terror’: Lance Esplund, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 17, 2014 — Think of the visionary artist Marc Chagall and romantic, fantastical and childlike images come to mind.


On Topic Links


Time To Put the Pollard Case to Rest—by Demanding He Be Set Free: Tablet, Jan. 16, 2014

Hollywood and the Nazis, Revisited:David Mikics, Tablet, Jan. 6, 2013   

Behind the Secret Plan to Bring Nazi Scientists to US: Maureen Callahan, New York Post, Feb. 1, 2014




Isi Leibler                                                                

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2014


American Jews are experiencing a nightmare. They are finally accepting the reality that the draconian treatment of Jonathan Pollard emanates from anti-Semitic strains in the US intelligence hierarchy. Some had believed this to be the case for some time, but with additional convincing evidence, the realization is rapidly gaining ground.

American former naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard is no hero. He is a convicted spy. He may have provided valuable intelligence to Israel relevant to the Gulf War, but was remunerated for his actions. One can appreciate the outrage of American intelligence authorities against an American Jew spying for Israel. However, Pollard’s punishment grossly exceeds his crime. Pollard entered a plea bargain agreement which would have effectively limited his sentence to a maximum of ten years but this was effectively reneged by the judge. Pollard is now serving his 29th year in prison – seven of which were in solitary confinement.

Israel is an ally, not an enemy of the US. There is no precedent for any other spy in the US undergoing such harsh treatment in the post-World War II era. Those convicted of espionage on behalf of US allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Philippines served two- to four-year prison terms. The moral outrage US intelligence spokesmen express about Pollard spying on allies rings hollow, particularly following recent exposures that the US itself has the most consistent track record of espionage against allies of any Western country, including Israel.

In recent months, American political leaders, including retired intelligence heads, have created a groundswell of wide-ranging, bipartisan political support for commuting Pollard’s sentence. This has been to no avail. In response to calls to free Pollard, The New York Times this month prominently published an emotional and jaundiced op-ed by M. E. Bowman, a former FBI deputy counsel who had coordinated the investigation against Pollard, urging that he remain incarcerated. Aside from numerous falsehoods and distortions, Bowman failed to distinguish between Pollard’s espionage against an ally and that of American traitors like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen who received life sentences for conveying information to the Soviet Union which led to the execution of numerous American intelligence agents. To bolster his case, Bowman made an unsubstantiated allegation that Pollard was also responsible for the deaths of American agents. He based this on a fantasy that Israel conveyed information obtained from Pollard to the Soviet Union in order to gain concessions toward easing Jewish emigration restrictions. This disgusting potpourri of concocted rumors and lies is surely indicative of the determination of those within the American intelligence community who wish to make an example of Pollard in order to intimidate the Jewish community. Nor is it coincidental that the “liberal” New York Times saw fit to publish such an illiberal, bigoted and unsubstantiated article at this time.


In response to the op-ed, Tablet, a respected American online magazine dealing with Jewish life, published an editorial that breaks new ground on the Pollard debate. It explicitly accuses the US government of anti-Semitism and discrimination against the Jewish community. The editorial accused the national security establishment of using the Pollard case to challenge the loyalty of Jews in order to cover up their own “incredibly damaging mistakes and failures.” It asserts: “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.” Tablet called on Jewish leaders to stand up against this “real injustice, whose perpetuation is clearly intended to suggest that all American Jews are, inherently, potential traitors to their country.” It insists that “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 letter of the U.S. Constitution – and would surely and rightly never be tolerated by Muslims, gays, blacks, Chinese-Americans, or any other group.” Furthermore the editorial accuses the American Jewish establishment of having failed to aggressively confront this issue because of its reluctance to be associated with a convicted traitor. This “metastasized into a real threat to the promise of legal and social equality that American Jews now take for granted.”

Tablet insisted that by confining the Pollard case to a strictly humanitarian issue and merely appealing for a commutation of the sentence, Jewish leaders had “given an unwitting stamp of communal acquiescence to the message of suspicion that Pollard’s punishment is intended to convey… The business as usual attitude of the American Jewish leaders has legitimized a noxious brand of political anti-Semitism which is being adopted by parts of the US political establishment – as well as by journalists, [and] academics… The injustice that is being done to Pollard pales next to this very deliberate injustice being done to American Jews by high-ranking US government officials in Pollard’s name.” In other words the Pollard issue should be based on demands for justice rather than compassionate or humanitarian appeals…

For the first time, Jewish leaders are now being called upon to confront the painful anti-Semitic motivations of those engaged in the ongoing incarceration of Pollard. Admittedly, the pressures confronting the American Jewish establishment are intensifying. Presenting the case for Israel and opposing the nuclearization of Iran has already created major tensions with the Obama administration. But the Pollard issue can no longer be set aside, for it shakes American Jews’ core beliefs that the American Diaspora is unique and that the US is the only country in the world, other than Israel, in which Jews can genuinely feel “at home” and are always treated as equal citizens. As the insinuations of dual loyalty become ever shriller, Jewish leaders need to review the situation and develop a strategy which will be consistent with justice and retaining their Jewish way of life in conformity with the multi-pluralism of American society. The Pollard case goes far beyond the issue of commuting an excessive sentence meted against a Jewish spy. Its outcome will impact on the essence of the relationship between the American-Jewish community and broader American society.         



‘THE MONUMENTS MEN’ SHOWS HOW AMERICA                                    SAVED PAINTINGS WHILE LETTING JEWS DIE                 

Rafael Medoff               

Tablet, Jan. 29, 2014


The story behind the creation of the “monuments men” team, depicted in George Clooney’s new feature film by the same name, begins in the spring of 1943, after the Allies had confirmed that Hitler was carrying out what they called “his oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe”—while looting priceless works of art from their victims. Jewish leaders and members of Congress asked Allied leaders to take steps to aid the refugees. Roosevelt Administration officials replied that they could not divert military resources for nonmilitary purposes; the only way to rescue the Jews, they claimed, was to win the war. But to head off growing calls for rescue, the U.S. and British governments announced they would hold a conference in Bermuda to discuss the refugee problem. The talks had been “shunted off to an inaccessible corner so that the world would not be able to listen in,” American Zionist leader Abba Hillel Silver charged.


Assembling the American delegation to Bermuda proved to be no simple task. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first two choices to chair the U.S. delegation, veteran diplomat Myron Taylor and Yale President Charles Seymour, turned him down. So did Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, who said “the business of the court is in such shape” that he could not spare the time for the refugee conference. FDR expressed disappointment that Roberts would not be able to enjoy the lush beauty of the island, “especially at the time of the Easter lillies!” In any event, the president joshed, “You can tell the Chief Justice that while I yield this time, I will issue a subpoena for you the very next time you are needed!” And as it turned out, that next time was coming soon.


The conference was doomed before it started—because, as Synagogue Council of America President Dr. Israel Goldstein pointed out, its real purpose was “not to rescue victims of Nazi terror, but rescue our State Department and the British foreign office from possible embarrassment.” The American delegates (led by last-minute choice Harold W. Dodds, president of Princeton University) arrived with strict instructions: no focus on Jews as the primary victims of the Nazis; no increase in the number of refugees admitted to the United States, even though immigration quotas were not even close to full; and no use of American ships to transport refugees—not even troop supply ships that were returning from Europe empty.


The conferees also rejected the idea of food shipments to starving European Jews. That would violate the Allied blockade of Axis Europe, and no exceptions could be made, they declared. (Just a year earlier, however, the Allied leaders had yielded to public pressure and made an exception for the starving population of Nazi-occupied Greece.) Closing off the last remaining options, the British delegates at Bermuda refused to discuss opening Palestine to refugees and scotched the idea of negotiating with the Nazis for the release of Jews. The release of large numbers of Jews “would be relieving Hitler of an obligation to take care of these useless people,” one British official asserted.


When the Bermuda conference ended, the two governments kept the proceedings secret rather than acknowledge how little had been accomplished. But the meager results were obvious. As Congressman Andrew Somers (D-NY) put it in a radio broadcast, Bermuda proved that “the Jews have not only faced the unbelievable cruelty of the distorted minds bent upon annihilating them, but they have to face the betrayal of those whom they called ‘friends’.” It was becoming painfully obvious that when it came to saving European Jews, nobody had much interest. When it came to saving European paintings, however, the response was very different. Which is where the story behind Clooney’s The Monuments Men came in.


Shortly after the Bermuda meetings ended, the New York Times published an editorial titled “Europe’s Imperiled Art.” The newspaper, which showed little interest in the fate of Europe’s imperiled Jews, urged strong government action to rescue “cultural treasures” from the battle zones. The White House agreed: Here was something that did merit the diversion of American military resources. In June 1943, the Roosevelt Administration announced the establishment of a U.S. government commission “for the protection and salvage of artistic and historic monuments in Europe.” Finding a chairman for the new rescue agency was not too difficult: FDR turned to Justice Roberts, who may not have had time for the task of rescuing Jews but quickly found the time to chair a commission to rescue paintings and statues. The Roberts Commission set to work planning the mission that was to be carried out by the team that would come to be known as the Monuments Men.


Some refugee advocates openly questioned the administration’s priorities. In full-page advertisements in the New York Times and elsewhere, the activists known as the Bergson Group said the establishment of the monuments group was “commendable. … It shows the deep concern of the [Allies] toward the problems of culture and civilization. But should [they] not at least show equal concern for an old and ancient people who gave to the world the fundamentals of its Christian civilization, the Magna Carta of Justice—the Bible—and to every generation some of its most outstanding thinkers, writers, scholars and artists? A governmental agency with the task of … saving the Jewish people of Europe is the least the [Allies] can do.” In the autumn of 1943, the Bergson Group’s allies in Congress introduced a resolution urging the president to create a commission to rescue Jews. At a hearing on the resolution, New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia pointed to the creation of the monuments commission: “This very important problem … is not like the destruction of buildings or monuments, as terrible as that may be, because, after all, they may be rebuilt or even reproduced; but when a life is snuffed out, it is gone; it is gone forever.” The Roosevelt Administration dispatched Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long to Capitol Hill to testify against Bergson’s rescue resolution. Long declared that the United States was deeply concerned about the Jewish refugees, but after all, “you cannot send a regiment in there to pull people out.” Paintings presented no such difficulties, apparently.


Historians have noted that the work of the Monuments Men was not the only instance in which the Roosevelt Administration diverted military resources, or altered military plans, because of nonmilitary considerations. A U.S. Air Force plan to bomb the Japanese city of Kyoto was blocked by Secretary of War Henry Stimson because of the city’s artistic treasures. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy intervened to divert U.S. bombers from striking the German city of Rothenburg because he feared for the safety of its famous medieval architecture: That was the same McCloy who rebuffed requests to bomb Auschwitz, on the grounds that such air strikes would require “diverting” planes from battle zones. In fact, throughout mid- and late 1944, U.S. bombers—including one piloted by future U.S. Sen. George McGovern—repeatedly struck German oil factories adjacent to Auschwitz, some of them less than five miles from the gas chambers.


No doubt part of the problem was human psychology. When tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of people are murdered, they become a kind of faceless blur, a numbing statistic in the public’s mind. By contrast, the specific images of famous Rembrandt or Picasso paintings were personally familiar to many Americans—and that familiarity engendered the sympathy needed to bring about intervention.

[To Read the Full Article Follow This Link –ed.]



CHAGALL’S ‘ALLEGORY OF AN AGE OF TERROR’                              Lance Esplund                                                            

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 17, 2014


Think of the visionary artist Marc Chagall and romantic, fantastical and childlike images come to mind. Attending angels guide ethereal wedding couples, whose flesh glows like full moons. Flying lovers ride bouquets of lilacs, giant red roosters and painters' palettes. Cows carrying parasols and playing musical instruments float balloonlike through celestial skies. In Chagall's self-portrait "I and the Village" (1911), artist and beast see eye to eye, sharing not only the same landscape and mystical realm but the same consciousness. In his jovial, erotic and dreamy interior "The Birthday" (1915), a leaping man bends over backward and transforms himself into something resembling an eel—all to plant a kiss on a woman's lips.


But Chagall (1887-1985), who was born into a poor, Hasidic family near Vitebsk—a segregated, anti-Semitic community that was then part of the Russian Empire—experienced firsthand some of the major horrors of the 20th century. His subjects also encompassed war, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the Apocalypse, the Holocaust and the Crucifixion. Among the best of Chagall's darker paintings is his rarely exhibited "The Fall of the Angel," on view through Feb. 2 at New York's Jewish Museum as part of its show "Chagall: Love, War, and Exile."


After gaining international notoriety as an artist, Chagall fled the Soviet Union's hardships by moving to Paris in 1922. In 1940, he and his family narrowly escaped the Nazis by fleeing to the unoccupied south of France, but were forced the following year to seek refuge in New York, where his beloved first wife, Bella, died in 1944.  Old and New Testament stories provided divine inspiration for Chagall, who believed that the Bible was "the greatest source of poetry of all time." Chagall's pioneering modernist pictures merged biblical scenes with familial Jewish traditions and Old Russian folktales. During World War II, the artist revived the theme of the martyrdom of Jesus on the cross, which he had explored briefly in his youth. Chagall held that the Crucifixion was the only image charged and powerful enough to represent the persecution, suffering and attempted annihilation of Europe's Jews. At times Chagall's crucified Christ is Jewish, with his tallit and phylacteries; or he is the Christian Jesus, with a halo; or he is secularized (every man). Sometimes, at Chagall's Golgotha, Nazis replace ancient Roman soldiers; and animals, rabbis and Russian peasants stand in for grieving angels.


A devout modernist, Chagall embraced the Symbolist mysticism of Paul Gauguin and Odilon Redon ; the wild-colored Fauvism of Henri Matisse ; and the nearly abstract Cubist framework introduced by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Cubism's all-over, fractured planar structure allowed for the simultaneous depiction of disparate images, times, scale-changes and events. It offered the perfect metaphorical realm for Chagall, who delved into memory and dream. "I did not see the Bible, I dreamed it," he once said. Faithful to his own inward vision, Chagall's art fuses Old and New World, fantasy and reality, reverie and nightmare, celebration and lamentation. These themes are often explored within the same picture, as they are in Chagall's oil painting "The Fall of the Angel." Roughly 5 feet tall by 6 feet wide, the nocturnal landscape is one of Chagall's largest and most labored easel pictures. A dark sky crowded with multiple pocketed vignettes—a Madonna and Child, a Crucifixion, a falling man, grandfather clock and large red angel—the painting's figures and scenes all come toward us simultaneously, as if in a stream-of-consciousness rush. Our vantage point—hovering over the village at the picture's center—suggests that we too are falling. A hallmark of the Jewish Museum's exhibit, the work belongs to a private collection and is normally in storage at Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Basel. Chagall began the painting in 1923 and reworked it several times until he finished the picture in 1947.

Chagall's biographer Franz Meter described the painting as an "allegory of an age of terror." It's hard to argue the point. In a 1934 photograph of the unfinished work, its tone and temperament are relatively light: The painting includes a picket fence, behind which the viewer comfortably stands, looking up—out of harm's way—and the stricken angel resembles a boyish circus acrobat. The finished postwar picture is something else entirely: a work of cold, biting yellows, reds, greens and blues; of smoky blacks and dingy whites pitted like charred bone. Finally realized, the plummeting, fiery angel, like a flayed animal, is a blood-red fissure in a blackened sky. The angel is victim, guardian and avenger all in one—in a universe both hopeful and horror-stricken.


"The Fall of the Angel" depicts a world that has been overturned, shattered and is hurriedly advancing. It's a topsy-turvy space, a vortex; a performance in which nearly everything is airborne—and yet the juggler has left the stage. The nose-diving angel is in a tailspin. Its spread wings cut like blazing propellers. Looking into the angel's bullet-eye, I was reminded of those poor souls falling from the Twin Towers; and of the sudden shock once caused by a speeding bird as it crashed and flattened against my windshield. This sense of rupture is caused primarily by Chagall's angel, which is not only upside-down but is rotating parallel to and diagonally within the picture plane. The angel breaks as it inverts the composition. Yet even if we could right Chagall's angel, it's as if we're helpless, tumbling and twirling. Which end is up? Are we looking down at a world falling away from us; or up at a world crashing down on top of us? There's a sense of abandonment, of losing center; of the ground sinking out from under us as we spin out of orbit.


Chagall's realm is dark and aflame; the sun and time are falling. But all is not lost. The painter provides refuge from the storm. A candle is still burning strong; a man flees with the Torah (the cornerstone of the picture); Christ's halo shines like a beacon; Mother and Child rise from the flames; and a yellow cow serenades us with its blue violin. The falling angel is both the messenger of death and the messenger of mercy. Its leap of faith opens and bridges as it wrenches and topples space—creating a passageway between Chagall's heaven and Chagall's hell.


CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!


Time To Put the Pollard Case to Rest—by Demanding He Be Set Free: Tablet, Jan. 16, 2014 —It should be ever more difficult for patriotic Jewish Americans—or anyone else, for that matter—to believe that Jonathan Pollard, who has spent 29 years in prison for passing secret intelligence documents to Israel, is being punished for the very real crime to which he pleaded guilty in 1986.

Hollywood and the Nazis, Revisited: David Mikics, Tablet, Jan. 6, 2013— One of us, either Mark Horowitz or I, must be misrepresenting the contents of Ben Urwand’s The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler. Fortunately, Urwand’s book is readily available, so anyone who’s interested can check and see who to believe.  

Behind the Secret Plan to Bring Nazi Scientists to US: Maureen Callahan, New York Post, Feb. 1, 2014—As the Allied troops advanced through France in November 1944, three experts in biological weapons huddled, by candlelight, in a grand apartment in Strasbourg, France, guarded by US soldiers.



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