The real story of Jonathan Pollard

The complicated story of Jonathan Pollard will be our topic of discussion on Sunday afternoon, February 18 in the David G. Willens Community Room of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 2201, Naples. We start with Coffee ’n Chat at 1:30 p.m. before speaker Tom Eastwood takes the podium promptly at 2:00 p.m. To RSVP, contact Dena Sklaroff at denas27@aol.com or 239.591.0101. The public is encouraged to join to share in our exploration of this controversial Jewish character.

Mr. Eastwood began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms before transferring as a special agent, and later as an executive with the Department of Defense where for 15 years he conducted and led counterintelligence, security and criminal investigations. He was trained by and worked on joint investigations with many agencies including ATF, CIA, DEA, DoJ, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and U.S. military and foreign intelligence agencies. At his retirement, he was serving as Director of the IRS in Michigan, and had previously served in this position in Milwaukee, Louisville and Fargo. In his current career, Eastwood bills himself as lecturer, consultant and “Edutainer.” Locally, he has lectured at FGCU, Renaissance, Shell Point and for the Bonita Bay Community Association, to great acclaim.

Jonathan Jay Pollard (born August 7, 1954) is a former intelligence analyst for the United States government. In 1987, as part of a plea agreement, Pollard pleaded guilty to spying for and providing top-secret classified information to Israel. He was sentenced to life in prison for violations of the Espionage Act.

Pollard is the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. He was released on November 20, 2015, in accordance with federal guidelines in place at the time of his sentencing. Pollard’s parole terms were upheld on appeal after he served 30 years of a life sentence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked President Donald Trump to allow Jonathan Pollard to immigrate to Israel, but at the time of his arrest, Israel maintained that Pollard worked for an unauthorized rogue operation, a position they maintained for more than ten years.

The prevailing conception is he was a U.S. citizen who received a life sentence for spying for Israel and giving away sensitive American intelligence. Tom Eastwood will address the facts behind this highly debated and political case. Was Pollard motivated by love for Israel and its security or was his aim more sinister – greed? Also, did he spy only for Israel? Mr. Eastwood will also discuss other Mossad operations (Eichmann, the “Hangman of Riga,” assassinations) and Israeli intelligence organizations.

The complicated issue now is whether Pollard should be allowed to leave the country to live in Israel, or remain in the U.S. and live under the terms of his tethered parole? As American Jews, where do our allegiances lie? As Humanists we are compelled to look at the facts to discover both sides of the question.

We believe reason is the best method for the discovery of truth. And then, can reason prevail? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, on the one hand, this. On the other hand, that. It’s not always easy to reach a proper conclusion. But then, what is the proper conclusion?

Reason requires a special discipline. When sufficient facts are available, strong convictions are possible. When facts are meager or unavailable, uncertainty follows. Reasonable people often say, “I don’t know.”

The use of reason, a distinctly human capacity, enables human beings to be most fully human.