Chutzph Dershowitz In Alan Dershowitz’s novel Chutzpah, he devotes an entire section to the issue of, and his personal feelings about James Pollard. He begins this section with a description of the way in which this man was caught selling classified government documents to the nation of Israel. Basically this man was a Jewish American spy for the Israeli government because of a duty he felt stemming from a secret loyalty he felt toward the nation of Israel. Over an extended period of time this man sold thousand of secret documents which in the eyes of Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense for the United States was a serious breech in national security. Dershowitz emphasizes in great detail how in order to avoid a trial in which the declassification of these documents would be required, Pollard was pressured to accept a plea bargain in which he would plead guilty, give full disclosure pertaining to the information he handed over, and release all rights to any of his future published material that pertained to the case.
In exchange for these things he would be granted a formal request by the US government to the judge of the case which would call for a restricted sentence for him and his wife. Pollard agreed to this deal and was satisfied with it until he received a sentence of life in a maximum security prison and his wife received 5 years in prison. The evidence that Dershowitz presents suggests that Pollard did get an unfair deal, and a much harsher sentence than others in the past have received for similar crimes. Dershowitz stated in no uncertain terms that in his opinion the reason for for this discrepancy in the sentencing process has to do with the fact that Pollard is a Jewish man who betrayed America for Israel. He states: I am convinced that if Pollard were a non-Jew who had spied for a non-Jewish country, he would not be in prison today.
Dershowitz finds fault in the way Pollards lawyers handled the case. He claims that if Pollard had used his constitutional right to remain silent that the government would have been hard pressed to to make a case against him because it would have required declassification of highly sensitive intelligence documents. His choice to accept the plea bargain and submit himself to the mercy of the government was in Dershowitzs eyes a terrible mistake and a partial reason for imprisonment. There is no doubt that in Dershowitzs eyes that this case is an issue of race and not so much an issue of foul play. He reiterates over and over that Pollards actions were not in conflict with American national security and that Israel was some how entitled to the documents because in many ways they pertained to Israeli national security.
Dershowitz does his best to downplay Pollards acts of treason and at the same hammers home his point that Pollard is being unfairly held. He repeatedly emphasizes that Israel is an American ally, and that Pollard could have easily commanded much greater sums of money than he received from Israel if he had sold the information to more hostile nations. His description of the situation lacks legal substance, and tends to suggest a theory of widespread anti Semitism. Dershowitz makes a convincing argument that Pollard received a sentence that was inconsistent both with past cases as well as what he was actually promised in return for his guilty plea. It does seem that if Pollard had fought to the end that his worst case scenario would not be much different from what he got out of the plea bargain.
Dershowitz blames poor legal advice and failure for the government to hold up its end of the deal for Pollards present situation. It is not exactly clear to the general public exactly what information Pollard turned over to the Israelis. All of these documents are still classified and it is likely that they will be for many years to come. However, the fact is that this man had an extremely high security clearance and that he broke a sworn oath to protect the interests of the American people. This is a very serious crime, and in my opinion should not be diluted with charges of anti Semitism. It is likely that Pollard received less than a square deal from the US government in regards to his sentence.
It is also likely that an example is being made of his mistake and its consequences. It has been suggested that if Pollard were released he could move to Israel at which time he would receive a heros welcome and a new life of wealth and prestige. This is something that a majority of Americans would find disheartening at best. In this section of his book, Dershowitz is pleading for the Jewish community to pull together on Pollards behalf. He goes on to give a very persuasive argument as to why Jewish leaders should not fear being accused of having dual national loyalty.
Pollards ultimate fate is still not clear, but he is presently in prison and will most likely be there for the duration of his sentence. However, Dershowitz has pledged to fight on his behalf until he is released.