Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Netanyahu Wants Obama to Release Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard

As reported by the WaPo.  The request has been widely expected, with the understanding that Obama might grant it in return for some significant "concessions" on Israel's illegal settlement-building in the West Bank.

Netanyahu won't - and can't, from a domestic political standpoint or his own "Greater Israel" principles - make any meaningful concessions.  Nonetheless, as he notes explicitly in his request, he's playing his US Congress card, especially with all those new Republicans now seated.  But if Obama caves on this - and especially, if he does so with no meaningful give-back from Netanyahu - he will be reviled in the CIA.

My sense is that a majority of Americans will not support the release of a man who was, after all, sent to prison for life because he was a traitor whose actions did huge damage to the US intelligence establishment.  And if Obama does relent, he will be seen, not as magnanimous, but as even more pusillanimous than so many have already pegged him.

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