Friday, March 08, 2013

Moshe Feiglin's Knesset Speech on Pollard

Click here for the video of the speech, with English and all language subtitles.

Speech Transcript:
Honorable Chairman, my friends, Knesset Members,

First, I would like to thank Knesset Member Braverman who openly told us that at least during a certain time period, Jonathan Pollard remained imprisoned because that was also the will of people here, in Israel.

This is a very important statement, which was said in an offhand way. But in my opinion, it is certainly possible that this problem still exists.

Jonathan Pollard is not a traitor. We have to look at Jonathan Pollard through Jewish, Israeli, Zionist eyes. Jonathan Pollard is an Israeli agent. He performed a service for us. It is unthinkable that we should look at Jonathan through American eyes.

Jonathan Pollard is a hero; he is a hero of Israel. He is a hero who risked his life for us. And who knows how many of us he literally saved.

I have no intention of signing the petition for Jonathan Pollard. It is just meaningless words. It is lip-service. I have no intention of being dragged once again into processes that have nothing behind them. Similarly, in my evaluation, this petition will fade away when US President Barack Obama arrives here if we, the MKs do not take tangible action - and I intend to propose just such an action. With it, our loyalty to the person who we sent to risk his life for us will be put to the test.

Our brother, Jonathan, who risked his life for us as our envoy, was not the only one who ran to the Israeli embassy for protection on that bitter day 28 years ago.
His direct handler, Colonel Aviem Selah, also ran to the embassy with him.

The US forcefully demanded that both men – the Jew and the Israeli - be handed over to them.

We betrayed the Jew, and handed him over to his captors – the FBI agents waiting outside.

As far as the Israeli – we proved that when Israel wants something, it can certainly stand firm. Aviem Selah was not handed over – and a way was even found to bring him back to Israel.

On that day I understood that the State of Israel is not really the State of the Jews. Israel is the State of the Israelis. And from this denial of its identity and its foundations, my friends, Knesset Members, Israel is progressively losing the legitimacy for its very right to exist.

I have visited my brother, Jonathan, many times. When I saw him for the first time, I couldn't stop my tears. It was awkward: He was the inmate, who, despite the terrible torture that he had endured, and that in order to maintain his honor, I will not describe here at the podium – he remained peaceful and calm, while I, a free lark, was crying like a baby.

Since then, Jonathan's picture is on the front door of my house. One cannot enter the Feiglin Family home without remembering our brother, Jonathan.

The betrayal of Pollard continues until today. It is hard to believe, but the simple fact is that the prime minister then, the person who authorized the extradition and today serves as President of the State of Israel, until recently never officially requested Jonathan's release. We often hear that Israel is doing its utmost. We heard that and we will continue to hear it. We will sign petitions. But an official request was never presented – until Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu did so after 20 years.

But the resolve is still missing. Our body language - and I am referring to the body language of the regime – not of the Nation of Israel and not of the Knesset Members, but the body language of those responsible, still says to the Americans, "Keep Pollard to yourselves, we don't really want him here."

The type of spying that Pollard conducted is carried out by US agents in Israel as a matter of course and is public information. Israel has the ability to demand and receive our brother Jonathan, if it wants. If we want.

In another two weeks, the President of the US will arrive in Israel and he will want to speak from this podium. Welcome to Israel, US President Barack Obama – with my brother, Jonathan Pollard.

But if you continue to imprison my brother Jonathan, you will have to speak to my empty chair. And I hope that more Knesset chairs than just mine will be empty.

I call upon all the members of the Knesset to take similar action and to prove that a new generation has risen in Israel; a generation that is not willing to continue betraying Jonathan, under the guise of meaningless diplomatic chatter. A generation of solidarity with every Jew. A generation that gives true meaning to the concept 'the State of the Jews' - the Jewish State.

Thank you very much.

Update: Thursday evening, Moshe Feiglin wrote the following on his Facebook page:

Israel's press is reporting that Obama's major speech in Israel will take place in the Jerusalem Convention Hall and not in the Knesset. According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, Obama's team was concerned that his speech would be interrupted by rightist MKs, or that they would get up and exit the plenum at the start of the President's speech, as Moshe Feiglin had proposed. In response, Moshe Feiglin wrote:

Obama's decision not to come to the Knesset did not surprise me. As early as last week, very senior officials who are aware of my connection to Pollard attempted to find out how I planned to react. I thought it over for a while, because it is not my way to shout and make a scene. On the other hand, how could I sit quietly and honor the president of the nation that has imprisoned our brother Jonathan for 28 years? I decided upon the empty-chair method and I have no doubt that quite a few of the Knesset Members were going to join me.

Now that we have done our duty in the Knesset, the ball is in the public's court. Whoever feels Pollard's pain should make every effort to attain tickets for Obama's speech in Binyanei Ha'umah. If Obama comes without Pollard, rise in a dignified manner when he begins his speech and quietly exit the hall.

No comments: