Eliyahu Yosef, one of the founders of the Committee to Free Pollard, has tried unsuccessfully over the past 30 years to meet with US senators and convince them that the Jonathan Pollard espionage case was the result of an "Israeli screw-up."
"After the hunger strike I undertook in 2000, I traveled to Washington to meet with senators and congressman to enlist support for his release," Yosef recounted to Arutz Sheva. "If you recall, Senator [Joe] Lieberman opposed the release, even though then-president Bill Clinton wanted to release Pollard. Lieberman and the CIA's opposition forced Clinton to back down."
According to Yosef, the State of Israel has never taken adequate responsibility for Pollard's spying and ensuing conviction in 1985.
"Over the years, I tried to convince US officials that Israel encouraged Pollard to continue transmitting information, because they thought the information would upgrade our intelligence on the [military] preparations of Arab countries."
"Thanks to Pollard's information, we received gas masks during the Gulf War," Yosef continued. "The US violated its memorandum of understanding with Israel, whereby vital intelligence is passed to Israel. But the information on chemical weapons was not passed, in part because of a misunderstanding between the Shamir government and the first President Bush."
"I met with Senator Lieberman and I told him there was actually a misunderstanding and what had motived Pollard was his belief the US was hiding information from Israel."
"There was a two-part screw-up here," Yosef explained, "not just Pollard's. Some tried to present Pollard as an opportunist who did it for the money. There was some American rabbi who sent him a letter asking how how he could make rotten [everything for Jews] and Pollard answered, 'what was I supposed to do?'"
"Pollard really thought his people were going to be destroyed with gas," Yosef stressed. "He was not looking for money. His motives were pure and if that had been emphasized, he wouldn't have sat in prison for years."
After the many years of protests and hunger strikes, Yosef expressed happiness at the "end of this long darkness, a difficult and damaging period for him, his health and his family. I wish him many good years and that he can rebuild his life."