Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Re-examining the Pollard Issue

R Yair Hoffman

This is yet another article that will probably generate controversy in some circles within the Jewish community.   Our history, however, since the rise of the Talmud and before, has always been one of intense analysis, debate, thought and discussion.  This political issue is no different, and it is perhaps time for another point of view to be presented.

Pollard was a United States civilian intelligence analyst convicted in 1987 of handing over state secrets in spying for Israel.  He was sentenced in March of 1987 to life in prison.  Since then, numerous Jewish organizations have stood completely behind Jonathan Pollard – not just in terms of advocating for his freedom, but in actually advocating for his outlook and perspective as well.[...]


  1. Kol HaKavod to Rav Hoffman for thinking, and encouraging others to think, about true Torah perspectives beyond the "first thought" that many people stop with.

    I think that we all need to learn the lesson of the Haftara on Shabbos Zachor - even Shaul HaMelech can make a decision with all good intentions and with all good logic and reasons, and can in the end be wrong. Are any decision-makers in the world today necessarily greater than Shaul HaMelech?

    Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with Rav Hoffman on these issues, we should thank him for making people actually think.

  2. I agreed with Rabbi Hoffman about Grossman but he does not have all the facts in the Pollard case (and I am appalled by his defense of Rubashkin without basis which his newspaper is again promoting here without telling anyone it is a Rubashkin operation: https://www.5tjt.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=300:tevyas-ranch-nature-make-its-comeback&catid=1:local&Itemid=10)

    It is not impossible that Pollard sold secrets to other countries but this has never emerged before, not even from officials given CIA permission to declassify details. His information could be coming from people with an agenda. It also would have been at a time that South Africa was pre-ANC and a staunch ally of Israel and the US.

    Former Intelligence official John Loftus, an Irish Catholic who is an ohev Yisroel & from the chassidei umos haolam, has said that Pollard was a drug addict trying to fund his habit but acknowledges that he was stabbed in the back by Caspar Weinberger (a goy ashamed his father was Jewish) who violated protocol by asking the judge to throw out sentencing guidelines.

    Yes, Pollard deserves to be punished for breaking the law, even if he only aided allies, but the sentence was way out of proportion considering that spies for the USSR who were gorem American spooks to be executed by the KGB only got 10 or 15 years.

  3. Frum Government EmployeeMarch 2, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    I agree with this article. I've been put into may uncomfortable situations over the past 20+ years because of this issue.

    What would I tell a government investigator if asked why I pray in a synagogue that davens for JP on a regular basis? (I don't daven in such places for this reason.)

  4. http://jta.org/news/article/2010/02/18/1010706/op-ed-lets-work-to-end-uncouth-behavior-all-around

    Let’s work to end uncouth behavior all around

    By Avi Shafran · February 18, 2010

    NEW YORK (JTA) -- Last August, dozens of women launched a protest against the practice of separate men’s and women’s seating on some Israeli public bus routes servicing haredi communities. They boarded the buses and sat down among the men, expecting to provoke some strong reaction.

    (No mention that behaymos earlier attacked frum women minding their own business which is issur negiah and 2 issurim for hitting)

    In a handful of cases over the years, individuals have been accused of harassing women who wished to sit among the men on such buses.

    (In Shafran's Wonderland, there are only "accusations". It is impossible to verify anything as true)

    Unmentioned, moreover, by the activists -- and unknown to most American Jews -- is that when the first separate-seating buses appeared about a decade ago, they were privately run services by haredim for haredim. Israel’s public bus companies, fearing the loss of a substantial number of riders -- Israeli haredim are less likely than other Israelis to own cars -- made a business decision to co-opt the service. So portraying the mehadrin buses as Trojan horses in a haredi plot to conquer Israeli society is, to put it mildly, fanciful.

    (The guy uses way too many metaphors)

  5. Since R. Hoffman notes that Pollard is guilty of “Moraid BeMalchus”, a death penalty crime, why is he inclined to seek more mercy for Pollard than Hoffman wished for Martin Grossman?

    Ah, political correctness.

  6. Allison Hoffman says that Tropper wanted to send men to fly to Houston to meet the shiksa according to what Shannon told another reporter at Tablet.


    Jason is joined by the Jewish Chronicle's foreign editor, Miriam Shaviv and by documentary film-maker Tim Samuels.

    We start with the scandal of the American ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused of offering conversions to Judaism in return for sexual favours. What are the repercussions for the rest of the Jewish world? And what impact might it have on Jews in Britain, still reeling from our own conversion crisis following the supreme court's ruling on the JFS case? Jason speaks to American journalist Allison Hoffman from Tablet Magazine.

  7. The vitriol in this article betrays Hoffman's real agenda. He's not supporting dina d'malchusa dina. He wants to throw the book at Pollard without mercy.

    Of course Pollard broke American law. So did all the other spies that got out in half the time, a quarter of the time, an eighth of the time. Just because there's a maximum term doesn't mean you have to throw it at Pollard without pity.

    Poor Hoffman does not want that 'p' word used at all. Pollard broke. the. law.

    Well. We supporters of freeing Pollard want the law applied equally across all wrongs, and keeping him in there for more time than an ordinary manslaughter/drug dealer/rapist is quite over the top. Pollar didn't hurt anybody.

    Set Pollard free.

  8. I think that nobody posting here, including Yair Hoffman, knows the whole story. This is a complex case involving international espionage and politics.

    I've seen people post here, on this little out of the way weblog (with apologies to R' Eidensohn), claiming that they have inside information on such issues as tropper or kolko, and then use that "inside information" as an argument that obviously (fill in the blanks with any argument). I don't believe any of it.

    So I certainly have no reason to assume that R' Hoffman knows everything that went down. Conversations between Israeli agents and Pollard, how sane Pollard is, conversations between US and Israeli politicians, exactly what information was passed, whose careers were ruined, etc, etc.

    There is an infinite number of possible scenarios here. Even if Afghanistan was involved, in those days it was Charlie Wilson's war and we were on the same side. Does the Israeli intelligence community take any responsibility for what happened?

    You can read all the books you want on it, but you don't know if they have the facts, whether the author has an agenda, or whether the facts can even be published. It's possible there is political fallout to either nation or individual politicians if Pollard gets out and tells his story. It is possible that the Israelis want him locked up, but it is more PC for them to have the US lock him up and have them complain from time to time. Anything is possible when you don't have the facts.

    To just jump on a bandwagon because a writer's remarks sound plausible is to be used for someone else's agendas. To fight that he is surely innocent is to be used for other people's agendas.

    To be afraid that the US gvt will take umbrage that Jews would like to free one of their own is naive. Any group would be expected to fight for mercy for one of their own. To have people in the government feel that we would be afraid to make political waves by asking for mercy or transparency puts us in the worst political light, as people who would abandon their own from fear that their own political maneuverings will suffer if they stick their necks out.

    If you really wish to be a Jewish American instead of an American Jew, you can act like an American and push for transparency from both the US and Israel in the matter. Who was involved? Is Pollard meshugah? What was the sequence of events? Until something provable comes out, I think we have an obligation to request mercy. If you just "guess' that he's a very bad man and throw him to the wolves, you are risking your olum habah on hearsay.

    We have gotten so caught up on this blog with the bad people who are hurting those in the frum world that maybe we are getting too adapted to condemning Jews. Each case is different, and each case needs its own evidence.

  9. The only one who knows nothing about Kolko seems to be Pichol if he means he doesn't believe there are victims.

  10. to Flatbush,

    It would do you a world of good to take a course in reading comprehension.

    What I said was: People say they have insider information, and then use that as an argument to prove their point. They say, "How can you say that that if...", where the "if" is something they claim only they know.

    I think you need to ask me mechilah as you insinuated that I am a kolko defender.

    And I will claim, not insinuate, that you are not the best thing that ever happened to our people when it comes to ahavas yisroel, when you start an argument at the drop of a hat like that.

  11. I am shocked by this article. What an outrage. There has been a chorus of self-hating and/or wimpering fearful Jews (and neo-nazis) who have condemned Pollard in the strongest terms since day one. He even quotes one in his article who was in utter fear for his "position" and the "status" the Jewish political eschelon had achieved and what this might mean for it. Please.

    Casper Weinberger at the end of his life openly admitted that they made too big a deal out of the Pollard case. And yet R. Yair Hoffman seems to think he knows better than the one who gave out the sentence. By quoting "govt employees" who have personal agendas against Pollard and have been marching out the same tripe for decades that he's been in prison.

    The most astounding part of the article is this: "The government did believe that Pollard for the most part cooperated, but they also felt that he did not come completely clean in regard to his attempt to work out arms deals with Afghanistan rebels. They felt that there was a possibility that he may have divulged classified information. This could not be proven and the government attorneys chose not to pursue it. They believe that both he and Anne did cooperate."

    So based on what a few people in the govt FELT but could NOT substantiate by facts or evidence, (so much so that because their case was so weak they didn't even pursue it in court), R Hoffman declares a man guilty of this very thing? And this is somehow being compared to someone who admitted to shooting a cop-woman in cold blood (grossman case)?

    Why does R Hoffman pretend that everyone has been on Pollard's side all this time? Many "court Jews" have condemned him loudly. The real culprits though are the Israeli govt. Because if they had ever taken initiative like they have for other prisoners of the US, they could have freed Pollard. And they still could free Pollard today if they bothered to petition for it. The US would likely allow it.

    Clinton even offered to free Pollard as part of the Wye agreements, but Bibi did not hold clinton to his word (of course Bibi did his part and carried out the Israeli "commitments." )

    It's easy for a free man like R Hoffman to say it's "only" 5 more years in prison for another man who has no freedom. It's already been *at least* 16 years too many.

    Pollard knows things that implicate both the US and Israeli regimes in terrible crimes they have committed. John Loftus hypothesizes that this includes their involvement in the Iran-contra affair, more than we already know about. There are other motivations behind this exhorbitant punishment that no one who commits similar-scale crimes has ever received. Please be advised to use your common sense about this issue.

  12. Jonathan Pollard Pleaded Guilty
    What other mea culpa is necessary?

    The punishment meeted is not consistant.

  13. My grandfather zl used to say that stupidity was a commodity given out by the RSO in great abundance.

    After reading some of these comments his words are once more validated.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the whole Pollard story (and the damage he caused) has yet to be released, it astonishes me that there are those who are 'experts' on the matter.

    I shall refrain from further input other than to note that anyone who believes Pollard was and continues to to be prosecuted so forcefully because he was a Jews is an idiot.

    Having an opinion of the subject is not like citing the facts.

  14. By the way, while I'm no fan of Rabbi Shafran, it bears recalling that even a broken watch is right twice a day.

  15. My sons, from two differnt yeshivos, came home with letters saying that it is a chiyuv to vote for Dovid Greenfield and that he has actually brought money directly to the yeshivos. There was a sign hanging in my shule, signed by my Ruv saying the same thing.

    The “raid” is that the Agudah is only “appearing” to support the Hikind/Lazar team, because Hikind has threatened them with no more funding.

    There are also signs up all over Boro Park, with a “mechaah” against Hikind as a mevaze rabonim and yeshivos on his show regarding the “molestation ” issue. He also many times criticized the AGUDAH and MOETZES regarding its stance on the Markey Bill.

    Only some chasidishe groups have signed with Hikind/Lazar. (dehainu Belz and Ger); and thats because they’ve been promised big money for their POWER BROKERS (machers blaaz)

    Bkitzur, Agudah and many chasidishe groups want an end to the "bizayon" talmidei chachomim and yeshivos on Hikind’s radio show. They want him OUT.

    Ask around and you will see for yourself.

  16. Just realized that Yonatan has been in jail now for 23 years, so my above comment should have read that he has been there for *at least* 19 years too many.

  17. Boro Park:

    Bringing money to yeshivos is not a reason to vote for anyone. Elected officials are supposed to represent an entire community with the framework of government. If the reason to vote for an elected official is to bring money to yeshivos, you can be sure there will be corruption, theft and more chilul hashem.

    Further, Hikind isn't the problem. It is a shame that he has so much to work with. The Agudah has proved to be no different than the Catholic church, lehavdil, when it comes to dealing with sexual predators (molesters is too mild a word. Let's call it for what it really is) among other things

    We are in no position to distinguish ourselves from any other groups when it comes to corruption. Ask yourself what R' Moshe would say about the filthy and disgusting behavior that lands the community on the front pages.

    The bizayon goes far beyond Hikind.

  18. First Greenfield played dirty with Satmar, the Vatican & Agudah to protect pedophiles, now he's scared of a political challenger so he takes him to court without a heter beis din.


    A Brooklyn teen is hoping to become the City Council's youngest member ever - but the adults are fighting tooth and nail to keep him off the ballot.

    Abraham Tischler, 18, is running for the Borough Park Council seat left vacant when Simcha Felder took a job with city Controller John Liu.

    His platform is teen friendly - he wants to save free student MetroCards; but he also is vowing to fight to keep city firehouses open and crack down on bogus parking tickets.

    The Touro College sophomore says his inexperience is actually a plus. So far, he has spent just $560 - for posters and flyers.

    "I owe no one favors," he said.

    Still, at least one of the adults running against him in the 44th Council District worried enough to take him to court.

    David Greenfield, 31, the executive vice president of the Sephardic Community Federation, is suing Tischler and says the teen's petitions have forged and duplicated signatures.

    Tischler insists there is nothing wrong with his petitions.

    After all, his mom and dad helped him gather the 1,415 signatures he eventually submitted - nearly double the required 765. Anything that looked fishy, Tischler said, was tossed.

    "They wouldn't knock me off if they didn't think I was a real challenge," Tischler said. "Let the people decide who they want to be their councilman."

    Greenfield, a former chief of staff for Assemblyman Dov Hikind, has Mayor Bloomberg's backing and is one of the frontrunners. So is longtime community board lead Joe Lazar, who has Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's backing. But it's Greenfield, who has raised $131,000 for the race, who is pressing a lawsuit.

    "We don't know anything about the guy," said his spokesman, Eric Kuo. The campaign is also concerned, he said, because Tischler isn't participating in the city campaign financing system.

    "He could drop half a million dollars of family money in the campaign tomorrow," Kuo said.

    Ridiculous, said the teen's dad, who has capped spending for his son's campaign at $1,000.

    "David Greenfield, with all his money, with all his power, is trying to get an 18-year-old kid off the ballot because he's scared," said Harold Tischler, 46, a construction contractor.

    "Give him a shot."

  19. First Yair Hoffman was against mercy for Martin Grossman A"H. Now he against clemency for lehavdil Pollard. I wonder is he really such a cruel person or does he write these articles for the shock value?

  20. American Rabbi-

    Or, Hoffman is being consistent. Felons are felons.

    That really shouldn't be pilpul, you know?

  21. Or, Hoffman is being consistent. Felons are felons.

    Growing Up - Hoffman is NOT being consistent. Hoffman supports clemency for Pollard. He is just saying go about it with a different approach in order to be successful.

    By Michoel Yechiel Grossman z"l, Hoffman supported murdering him.

  22. No Dave, R. Hoffman is suggesting that Hoffman ask for parole only AFTER he admits to the magnitude of the crime he committed. That is not 'a different approach'. Your words are at best, misleading. There is a material difference.

    Not to worry though- Pollard has shown little interest in contrition. Perhaps he is has already been blessed by the RSO. In just about every other country he would have been shot for treason and/or sedition.

    Further, contrition/teshuva does not guarantee absolution or accountability.

  23. http://www.jewishledger.com/articles/2010/03/03/news/news04.txt

    Rabbi Yitzhok Adler, spiritual leader of Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, questioned Agudath Israel's condemnation of Rabbi Weiss, whose congregation is a member of the Orthodox Union (OU) and not Agudas Israel.

    "What is troublesome about the statement by [Agudath Israel] is, number one, what business does any agency have in poking its nose in the operations of an independent congregation? Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is not an affiliate of Agudath Israel."

    Rabbi Adler added that he thinks this Weiss' move has the potential to affect not only the Orthodox world, but other Jewish movements as well.

    "The establishment of Yeshivat Maharat has the capacity not only to impact Orthodox congregational life, it also has the capacity to impact congregational life outside of the Orthodox community," he said. "We know there are unaffiliated and unaligned congregations around the country who select and hire clergy not based on denominational training but on spiritual ideology and there very well might be congregations not aligned with national Orthodox movements that might feel their constituencies would be best served with female clergy leadership."

    Adler said that he would consider bringing a graduate of Yeshivat Maharat to Beth David.

    "I would definitely consider bringing an intern to my congregation, if I believe that person, male or female, had a significant and meaningful message and contribution. I personally do not believe that what Rabbi Weiss has instituted at Yeshivat Maharat is, to be honest, a legitimate rabbinical training program. I, however, would never negate the virtues of what he is doing, the Torah that he is teaching and the capacity of his students to make significant, positive differences in Jewish communities."

  24. "In just about every other country he would have been shot for treason and/or sedition."

    This is akin to saying that in barbaric countries people accused of witchcraft or voodoo are burnt to death, so an American who a person suspects of witchcraft is lucky the American courts don't burn him or charge him with a crime. Of what relevance is it what other backwards countries do? The question is what is the legal system of America and what does it prescribe for his *Specific crimes* which do not include treason by the way (nor was he tried for treason, since he did not commit treason). Get your facts straight and use accurate terms.

    In any case, it's not true what you are saying. We see spies being caught by other countries all the time. Israel notably gives slap on the wrist to such people, including the American spy who served in Knesset. The sentences for what Pollard did are very small. You want him to be made into an example and get a much bigger punishment. On what grounds? Because you are fearful with a galut mentality, a fellow Jew should suffer more? It is against the constitution to "make examples" of people with excessive punishment. So that clearly cannot be used as the rationale for the side which wishes to keep him in jail for life (or do worse things like you suggest).

  25. From reading Rav Hoffman's writings, I believe that he is simply in support of the chiyuv of Bnei Noach to establish "dinim" meaning courts that promote and enforce justice. He has discussed several times the Rambam's halachos of such courts, including the correctness of their giving the death penalty.

  26. http://www.aish.com/jw/s/85028667.html

    Jews in prisons and the people who have not forgotten them.

  27. Student V

    Clearly, you are in possession of facts that the general public is unaware of.

    Spies are not witches, but since you bring up other countries, the UK, France and Germany have all jailed spies for periods of time equal to or exceeding Pollard's sentence. Saying otherwise is either deliberate deceit on your part or a matter of ignorance of the facts. I shall be dan le kav zechus and just assume you know nothing of what you speak.

    Further, that Israel gives spies a 'slap on the wrist' is irrelevant. Israel also gives frum pedophiles abusers a pass more often than not. If I were you I would not bring Israeli justice into the conversation. You are in position to talk about accuracy. That Pollard was not tried for treason out of rachamim and that is why he has an 'out date'. A lot of people went to a lot of effort to influence the authorities.

    Nevertheless , you are not addressing the misrepresentations you made earlier regarding Rabbi Hoffman's remarks. I don't blame you of course. Pollard has shown no contrition and nothing but contempt for the American legal system.

    I can understand why you don't want to address that truth.

  28. By the way, Student, you also noted that "I am... fearful with a galut mentality, a fellow Jew should suffer more." Where did I say a Jew should suffer more? Why the continued misrepresentations?

    You know nothing of me, so you remarks are irrelevant at best.

    As for golus mentality, it bears recalling that in golus that isn't such a bad idea. Maybe if more of us had a genuine golus mentality, we wouldn't be making the front pages so often.

    But they're just goyim, right?

  29. To Growing Up,

    I don't agree with either your point of view or that of Student V, because I don't think you can take the responsibility of judging Pollard or the governments who dealt with his incarceration without knowing the facts. You Studnt V, and Hoffman all seem to think you know the facts, which seems a bit silly to me.

    This isn't a debating game. There is a man's freedom and the relations between Jews and governments if it gets out of hand, either by the perception of our disloyalty or of the perception an overabundance of our compliance.

    With that mouthful said, I think you are distorting what el studente said. He did not say that spies are witches, but that you cannot bring a rayoh from what other governments do to prove the righteousness of your position, just as you cannot prove that you should burn one suspected of witchcraft just because it is PC to do so. I disagree with the veracity of his view that Pollard received a sentence out of proportion to his crimes, because I don't know what really happened there. I don't that student V does either. I don't think you do. I don't think even most politicians do. Like most people, I have suspicions that are completely ungrounded. But in a case like this, you cannot quote what is written in newspaper articles or books and call them facts.

    Also, V never claimed that you said Pollard should suffer more because he is a Jew. He insinuated that a golut mentality would make one prone to sacrifice Jews as a form of overcompensation, and asked if that was the case with you. Insulting, yes. I was looking forward to your answer. Instead you went somewhere else completely, claiming he said something that he did not.

    My take on the matter, which I assume both of you will reject, is as follows: Since there is only a small percentage of Pollard's sentence left, politicians won't go out on a limb to say their government was wrong and he should therefore be set free (unless such a gesture would be traded for peace in the Mideast or some other playing card). The guy has obviously suffered for a large part of his life, and freedom after all this might be the merciful thing to do if he is not a threat to world peace (which I don't know). So asking for (not demanding) rachmonus is something we should do. If he is a threat, the requests will go unanswered.

    But demands polarize decision makers into positions they would not normally have. If someone in government feels Pollard is guilty as sin but has done his time, it is probable that he won't support freeing him if it will be seen as an admission of wrongful imprisonment. Doubly so if he sees support of Pollard's continued imprisonment from the Jewish community.

    I think this should be about Pollard, not us. He should not sit in t'fisoh to prove how just we are. That's having us being tzaddikim on his cheshbon. And we should not claim that his incarceration is unjust, because we don't know that for sure. I believe some in the Israeli intelligence community know (not necessarily the ones who publicly claim they know). But the Israeli government really hasn't made an issue of it beyond making noise now and then. So we are back to asking for mercy.

  30. "That Pollard was not tried for treason out of rachamim and that is why he has an 'out date'."

    That's amazing considering his actions did not constitute treason under any definition of the term. That it had anything to do with "rachamim" is something you just made up wholecloth. Under what delusion should I believe that if Pollard had done something treasonous they wouldn't have tried him for it? He did not commit treason and they did not accuse him of that.

    Now, let's define treason from the US constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. "

    Yonatan Pollard did not do this under any possible explanation of his activities, even if you include the most extensive accusations (of those with grudges against him), which were never proven in court nor established by fact. Even those do not constitute treason.

    "Nevertheless , you are not addressing the misrepresentations you made earlier regarding Rabbi Hoffman's remarks. "

    What did I "misrepresent?" There is nothing to address because I did not put words in R Hoffman's mouth, I quoted him directly and responded.

  31. That last comment should have read not that it led to the osirak bombing but that it could lead to operations of a similar nature, (or anyway other self defense measures against arab neighbors hostile to Israel) since he was countering the intelligence "embargo" imposed by the US after that attack. It seems likely this was specifically what he was hired for.

  32. Oh, it appears the "last comment" I referred to either didn't make it through or is still being moderated/approved for publication. I hope that it will go through and I didn't waste all that typing...

  33. http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a18020/News/New_York.html

    Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, said Grossman “showed profound remorse and regret.”

    Yet for 25 years, Grossman never expressed remorse to the Park family until the night of his execution.

    Dershowitz wrote to the governor that this murder was not “heinous” enough for the death penalty. Crist said by e-mail: “Officer Park’s autopsy revealed lacerations on top of her head, hemorrhaging inside the scalp and extensive fracturing of the skull. All of these injuries resulted from Mr. Grossman’s attack. The facts of this crime clearly meet the definition of heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

    Dershowitz and Grossman’s rabbinic supporters were saying two opposite things at once in his defense. On the one hand, Grossman was an introspective and serious baal teshuvah, capable of “profound” remorse, and yet, on the other hand, that Grossman could not comprehend the basic law against murder because he had such a low IQ that he was “borderline retarded,” according to Rabbi Kurinsky’s site. Yet long and detailed letters written by Grossman, posted on www.savemartingrossman.com, as well as on Yeshiva World News, reveal an intelligent letter-writer by any reasonable standard, someone who could write about his legal appeals and how “cognizant” he was of other people’s feelings, and the meaning of tefillin. Borderline retarded? As Crist said in his e-mail, Grossman’s actions after the murder demonstrated “his well-reasoned attempts to cover it up.”
    As for the widespread claim by Grossman’s defenders that he only murdered Park under the influence of drugs and alcohol, how does anyone know? Grossman wasn’t tested for drugs or alcohol until 11 days after the murder, when he was arrested.

    More than a few Orthodox bloggers were put off by it all. On the Frum Satire blog, “Jew for Justice” writes: “As someone who has spent years working on behalf of death row inmates and someone who is very much against the death penalty as practiced, this massive effort on his behalf sickens me.”

    Rabbi Shafran, disavowing the extremists, explained Agudah’s support: “We did what anyone would do if their own son or daughter did a crime like that. We’d be outraged, furious, and yet if it was your child facing execution you’d do everything you could to plead for mercy — not to forgive, not to let him go, but to commute the sentence to life imprisonment.”

    As his last afternoon ticked away, Grossman ordered his last meal from the prison canteen: a banana cream, peanut butter cookies, canned fruit punch and a chicken sandwich.

    Just prior to being lethally injected at 6:04 p.m., Grossman confessed, sort of: “Everything that was done, whether I remember everything or not, I accept responsibility.” Then he said Shema Yisroel, adding “Ahavas Yisroel,” the transcendent love of one Jew for another that inspired so much of his support.

    The body of Michoel Yechiel Ben-Avraham Grossman, a native of Florida, was shipped north to a funeral service at the Niklesberg Bais Medrash in Monsey, N.Y., where a car drove through the streets, blaring, “zecher tzaddik v’kudosh livrucha,” the memory of a righteous and holy man should be a blessing.

  34. Does anyone know if it's possible to get a kosher chicken sandwich from a prison canteen in Florida of all places? I mean it's not Otisville with a large heimisher population.

    If Grossman would have eaten treif chicken for his last meal, that shatters another myth put out by the establishment that he was a baal teshuva.

  35. Wow, after reading the Grossman article I am greatly disappointed with some of my fellow Jews.

    Here is someone who is not in the drug or other criminal trade, has not killed people for business, was not a serial or spree killer, was a teenager at the time, was safely locked up, has sat for years, was a model prisoner, had requests from spokespeople of multiple faiths to spare him the death penalty, and yet there exist Jews with a bloodlust who are willing to condemn him even after death.

    We have gangs of repeat killers and rapists running loose and in prison who are not condemned to death who are real threats to society, and the death penalty is not even requested.

    The crime Grossman committed was heinous and disgusting. Most violent killings are. He was terrified of going to prison when he did it, and his punishment was to spend decades, maybe life, in prison.

    There are reasons for punishment in the US criminal justice system. To help the victims feel avenged, to let society feel safe, to deter future criminals and to rehabilitate criminals.

    The only possible reason that could apply here is number 1, but it's a cop out. You could say you need to see him burning on a stake for that reason, too. There is a limit. We had criminals like Charles Manson and Squeaky Fromme who never were brought to this stage.

    If you have ever spent any time in the system, you know the reason he was executed was because he killed a law enforcement officer. Scream all you want that an officer's life is sacred, but this is retribution, another form of gang mentality. To see Jews joining the call for blood is disgusting.

    When I learned in E"Y, my Rosh Yeshiva taught that sometimes Jews are willing to do the most perverse things to be accepted by the society in which they wish to be assimilated. To jump on this bandwagon is the opposite of everything I ever learned we should do.

  36. Hmm interesting. On what does R. Hoffman base his presumption that Pollard has and/or has expressed no remorse?

    Just found this:

    "The information Jonathan passed to Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities - all being developed for use against Israel. It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets. When he resigned in 1994, former NSA Director Bobby Ray Inman publicly admitted that this critical information had been deliberately, illegally withheld from Israel, in retaliation for Israel's 1981 strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor.

    "Nevertheless and notwithstanding, Jonathan broke the law and he acknowledges his guilt. On numerous occasions he has expressed remorse for his actions, regretting that he did not find a legal means to act upon his concerns for Israel. Jonathan has long since paid his dues for the one count of disclosing classified information to Israel with intent that it be used to Israel's benefit, with which he was charged. "

    This is from Esther Pollard in Jerusalem Post February 2009 "Right of Reply: Not treason, not dual loyalty, but equal justice is the issue"

    In this article, she also makes the same point I made above, that "treason" never enters the discussion because none was committed and none was accused. Only people completely ignorant of the case or the crime of treason can mention it in this context.

  37. R Hoffman is just saying we should not publicly condone criminals. I agree

  38. Interesting update: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136451

    Knesset to Biden: Free Pollard as Gesture Toward Israel

    Signatories are Uri Ariel (National Union), Dalia Itzik (Kadima), Zeev Elkin (Likud), Robert Ilatov (Israel Our Home), Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Orit Noked (Labor), Menachem Moses (Judaism Torah), Yaakov Katz (National Union) and Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home). Meretz faction chairman, Ilan Gilon, refused to sign the letter.


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