who had firsthand information about some of these cases.
The increased scrutiny facing American Jews, especially those with ties to Israel, was not only Pollard’s fault, a Jewish former senior military officer said, “it was also because of the large number of people in the Jewish community who seemed to say he was right in terms of what he did.” And the tighter the community’s embrace of Pollard grew, the more Pollard was perceived as representing a certain mindset within the community.
In a recent case, heard in February by the Defense Department’s appeals board, a longtime defense contractor was stripped of his security clearance for reasons of “foreign influence,” which were based on his ties to Israel: a brother living in Israel, a niece who used to work for an intelligence unit there and a neighbor suspected of being a courier for an Israeli intelligence agency. In filings to the panel, Defense Department officials mentioned Pollard’s actions, nearly three decades earlier, as evidence of the threat posed by close ties with Israel. The department also showed an email that the contractor forwarded, which contained an open appeal to the president to commute Pollard’s sentence.
“It’s not as if there is a complete bar preventing Jews from getting clearance,” said Shapiro, who represented the contractor, “but there is definitely an impediment.”
Dov Zakheim served as the Defense Department’s deputy undersecretary when the Pollard case broke. In his leadership Pentagon position, Zakheim did not personally feel the heat from the Pollard affair, though he said it was clear to him that people in the “contracting community” were under pressure.
Pollard’s acts, he said, made him “very, very angry,” but he also found the Jewish community’s reaction troubling. “Pollard seems to have infatuated the Jewish community, and especially the Orthodox community, that he is somehow a prisoner of Zion,” Zakheim said.
He noted that there are many American Jews in high-level government defense positions. “Obviously Pollard made it more difficult for Jews,” he said, “but clearly there is no widespread denial of clearance.”
If anything, Zakheim believes the Jewish community should be appreciative of the way the U. S. government responded to Pollard’s spying. “If it was in Europe, they’d kick out all the Jews,” he said. “The point is that this country did not take it out on the Jews, and that shows what America is about.”
The July 31 letter to the editor “Supply Kurds and Protect Israeli Druze” characterized the Kurds incorrectly. They are non-Arabs, not non-Muslims.