When President Barack Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday, it'll be tough for him to miss the campaign pressing him to release an American-born man convicted of spying for Israel: Jonathan Pollard.
I hope Obama says no. I agree with Bret Stephens that:
... whatever the humanitarian interest in freeing Pollard, it must be weighed against other interests, American as well as Israeli.
Regarding the Israeli interest: It does not help Israel to make a hero of a compulsive liar and braggart, fond of cocaine, who violated his oaths, spied on his country, inflicted damage that took billions of dollars to repair, accepted payment for his spying, jeopardized Israel's relationship with its closest ally, failed to show remorse at the time of his sentencing, made himself into Exhibit A of every anti-Semitic conspiracy nut, and then had the chutzpah to call himself a martyr to the Jewish people.
Regarding the American interest: What's inequitable about Pollard's sentence isn't that his is too heavy. It's that the sentences of spies such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Robert Kim have been too light. Particularly in the age of digital downloads, WikiLeaks and self-appointed transparency crusaders, the U.S. needs to make harsh examples of those who betray its secrets. That goes especially for those who spy on behalf of friendly countries or, as Bradley Manning imagined, in the ostensible interests of humanity at large.
Let him rot.