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Possible spy deal and computer malware add intrigue to international scene

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment
By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and other Democrats apparently are circulating a letter calling on President Obama to pardon convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel’s agreement not to build houses for Jews in places the Administration doesn’t want them built. (The Palestinians don’t want them built between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, but that’s another matter.)

The letter, according to Ha’aretz, “notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people…This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors.”  Our thoughts:

  • Jonathan Pollard has been in jail a really, really long time for the crimes he committed. It seems to us that a parole board might reasonably decide that he had spent long enough in jail and could be released without posing a threat to security. We would be OK with that but not with a pardon that erases the criminality of what he did. Has Pollard had a parole hearing? Why don’t Mr. Frank and company petition the Justice Department for one? 
  • The goodwill of “our nation toward Israel and the Israeli people” is not in doubt; concerns about policies pursued by one President or another are something else. If Israel has concerns about the policies of President Obama, its democratically elected government has an obligation to raise and deal with them. But in this case, Mr. Frank appears to be saying that Israel’s policies are problematic – and maybe a bribe by the President will cause Israel to change those policies. That should be beneath the Government of the United States.
  • Israel does indeed face “difficult decisions” about its future. The U.S. government appears to have dropped the requirement that the Palestinians and Arab States acknowledge the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty and provide the “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” that are due to Israel under the terms of UN Resolution 242. For the United States to suggest that Israel ignore the real issue and make decisions based on “goodwill” from an American bribe should similarly be beneath our government.

Mssrs. Frank and Weiner appear to have re-election issues and may be looking for support among left-of-center American Jews who oppose “settlements” under any circumstances and might appreciate American lawmakers who put the bait in front of the Israeli government. But that should be beneath an American Congressman.

Note on Stuxnet – The Internet was awash over the weekend with stories about a virus that appears to have infected a variety of computers around the world, including, perhaps, some in Iran and, perhaps, some involved in Iran’s nuclear program. According to a Yahoo report, “It is the first malware known to target and infiltrate industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software used to run chemical plants and factories as well as electric power plants and transmission systems worldwide.”

Take the idea of a virus taking control of factories; note that it could be used as a weapon; throw in the possibility that it was invented by the Israelis; and surmise that it was sent to destroy Iran’s reactor complex without planes, cruise missiles and/or collateral damage. Voila – a story so enticing as to invite a total suspension of disbelief! Too enticing, maybe. Stay tuned.

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Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.