Editorial in the New York Daily News:
Having spent 30 years in federal prison for spying for Israel, Jonathan Pollard served every last mandated day behind bars, punishment enough. Successive Presidents rejected calls by Israeli leaders to reduce the term meted out to the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing information to an American ally. The point was made — that those who breach national security will be dealt with severely . Now, Pollard has been released on parole , to live under supervision for five years even though the Department of Justice acknowledges he is no longer a threat to anyone. Granted Israeli citizenship while incarcerated, Pollard has asked permission to move to Israel to reunite with his family there. Israel has made the same request. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented it personally to President Obama. The unreasonable answer — smacking of personal petulance — has been no. While paroled inmates ordinarily are barred from leaving the country, Pollard is no ordinary offender. In Israel he’s viewed as a friend who enhanced the security of the Jewish state and paid dearly for it. Obama is well aware of how keenly the Israelis have pursued Pollard’s freedom. So much so that the White House once contemplated using freedom for Pollard as a chip to push Netanyahu into following the U.S. lead in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Regardless, Obama has responded to Netanyahu’s plea with insulting bureaucratic diffidence . Heightening the insult, Obama is breaking the standard that Pollard would be treated no better or worse than any spy. The example of René González says that Pollard should be winging his way to Israel. Convicted of spying for Cuba, González spent 13 years behind bars before being released on three years probation. He then got permission to fly to Cuba for his father’s funeral and stayed. The Justice Department blessed González’ residency in Cuba as bettering relations with the Castro government. He happily renounced his U.S. citizenship as a condition of closing his case. It’s a measure of spitefulness that Obama would sooner warm up to the Castros than to the leader of America’s staunchest Mideast ally.