The American Heritage Dictionary backs me on this. Weiner, who currently serves the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives, betrayed not just the trust of his constituents on August 7th, but the entire country when he petitioned the White House for the release of one of our most notorious spies, Jonathan Pollard.
In his letter to the Bush Administration, Weiner wrote that Pollard "has expressed sorrow for what he did," that he has "served more than enough time for the crime of passing information to an ally."
Is he joking? Pollard is, after all, the self-serving scumbag who revealed many of the most sensitive intelligence gathering techniques employed by the United States to our ally Israel. Israel promptly turned around and used them to bomb the PLO headquarters in Tunisia and sold certain information to the Soviet Union to speed up emigration of Russian Jews. You can't possibly serve enough time for that kind of crime.
Unfortunately, Pollard has become a cause celebre of sorts. Lawyers all over the country continue to appeal the conviction on any number of flimsy grounds, all the while forgetting that he broke an oath not to disclose classified materials to anyone (he was known to show them to friends as a bragging tool, too). In other words, he committed treason.
That's the reason why Pollard has "languished" in prison for 19 years. He's a convicted spy! He has committed acts of sedition against the United States so grave that the public will likely never know the severity of his acts. Those that do know how much damage Pollard did to the intelligence community unsurprisingly all oppose his release — and this is a group that includes Vice President Dick Cheney.
Jonathan Pollard committed his crimes for money and notoriety. When discovered, he attempted to flee the country with his equally culpable ex-wife.
This is a guy that is lucky he didn't follow in the footsteps of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. So why does Anthony Weiner seem to think he merits a pardon? Pollard's current wife Esther hits the nail on the head.
"This is the kind of issue I feel very strongly concerns every Jew and every decent, law-abiding citizen," she said in an interview. "The issues are much bigger than Jonathan and myself... Like it or not, we are writing a page of Jewish history."
In other words, the "plight" of a thieving and conniving criminal is one all decent, law-abiding Jews must take upon themselves? That's absurd. Hell, as just a law-abiding citizen, you'd be hard-pressed to find me taking up a cause as morally bankrupt as Jonathan Pollard.
Why? Because Jonathan Pollard is an embarrassment to not just Jews the world over, he's an embarrassment to humanity. He sold himself out because he thought it would make him a superstar in a place he was fortunate to visit once as a kid. He and I may have never met, but I've had to grow up in the aftermath he created — one where being a Jew in intelligence circles makes you suspect. Because of Jonathan Pollard, I live in a world where the policies of gathering data were breached; it's impossible to calculate just how much less safe Pollard made the average American's life, much less the regions around Israel that are now vulnerable because our security can be exploited.
Esther Pollard thinks this is a strong issue? Have her ask the families and friends of the 67 people that were bombed off the face of the earth in 1985 as a direct result of Pollard's craven thievery if they, as law-abiding people, would rally for Pollard's release. I doubt they'd consent.
I suspect most Jews, like any other ethnic or religious minority, respect the nation of their birth, work to make it a better place and better themselves without resorting to crime or selling out their homeland for another. They do not expose themselves through treachery, nor do they weaken the American Jewish community by playing up misguided fears of trust. Pollard's antics did irreparable damage to American Jewry, and none of them should get behind such a despicable character. That is how history is written, not by backing a loser who wants nothing more than to live blameless in another country.
None of this, sadly, changes the fact that Representative Weiner does want to release Pollard from his confinement. Such a request does nothing to help the United States; it betrays the principles and fundamentals this country was based on and does a disservice to all those lives that were shattered by Pollard's actions. It would be like capturing Benedict Arnold, holding him for a few years and then releasing him because the British think he's really swell. Who ultimately benefits from such clemency? Not us.
So I'd like to issue a call to all those currently serving the American government in name, but the Israeli government (or any other, for that matter) by policy: stop. Running around trying to see who can please the Likud party the most doesn't do your constituents any favors. Israel's policies don't represent the world's Jewry, and neither do you. You represent a region of one state in the Union, listen to the problems and concerns those you do represent, and do well by them. Ultimately, that is the only benefit you are to anyone. Seeking the approval of another government or people makes you a traitor.
Jonathan Pollard screwed us all. He deserves to stay behind bars for the rest of his life. Publicizing or politicizing the jail term of this waste of life only wrongs our country and American Jewish community further. Don't let your elected officials continue is his tarnished footsteps.
Canon Fodder is a weekly analysis of politics and society.