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January 3, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 3, 2014 i Snowden revelations boost calls for Pollard's release By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--The dis- closure last week that Ameri- can intelligence spied on former Israeli prime ministers has given new momentum to the effort to secure a pardon for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu and several leading members of Knesset have called in recent days for Pollard's release following re- ports that documents leaked by former defense contractor Edward Snowden showed U.S. intelligence had targeted the email addresses ofEhud Barak and Ehud Olmert. Pollard's case "isn't discon- nected from the U.S. spying on Israel," Nachman Shai, the co-chairman of the Knesset caucus to free Pollard, told JTA. "It turns out, it's part of life. And what he did is a part of life." Knesset Speaker Yuli Edel- stein accused the United States of"hypocrisy" for hold- ing Pollard, who as a civilian U.S. Navy analyst spied on the United States for Israel, even as it spied on Israeli lead- ers. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said he wants the Israeli government to demand Pollard's release and insist the United States cease its espionage operations in Israel. And opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Pollard's punishment "has long passed the limits of sensibility.'! "We hope that the condi- tions will be created that will enable us to bring Jonathan home," Netanyahu said last Sunday at the Israeli Cabi- net's weekly meeting. "This is neither conditional on, nor related to, recent events, even though we have given our opinion on these develop- ments." When Pollard's crimes first came to light in the mid- 1980s, his activities seemed like a major act of betrayal given the close alliance be- tween Israel and the United States. But the Snowden revelations show that spying by the United States and Israel was a two-way affair, prompt- ing a new round of calls for the release of Pollard. Support for freeing Pollard represents a rare point of consensus in Israeli politics, with 100 Knesset members among the 120 signing a let- ter asking Obama to release Pollard, according to Shai. Eighty members signed a similar letter last year. But Ronen Bergman, an expert on Israeli intelligence who is writing a history of Israel's spy agencies, says Israeli pressure is unlikely to convince President Obama to free Pollard in the short term. "I'm quite positive that it won't happen tomorrow be- cause otherwise it will look as if the president of the United States accepts the claim that following the recent revela- tions from Edward Snowden, he should parole Jonathan Pollard," Bergman told JTA. "But once the Americans were caught with their hands in the cookie jar, it paints the Pollard issue in a different color." The clamor for Pollard's release has grown steadily over the past two years, with the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Spec- ter, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Secretary of State George Shultz expressing their sup- port. Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, a vocal advocate for Pollard's release who raised the issue last month in his speech to the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, told JTA that Ameri- can calls for the release of Yonatan Sidnel/Flash90 Jewish Agency chiefNatan Sharansky called for the release of Jonathan Pollard in his speech to the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Jerusalem, Nov. 12, 2013. Pollard hold more sway than Israeli advocacy. "What really matters is whatAmerican public opinion and American professionals and the American Jewish community feel," Sharansky said. "I want to be cautious, but I think we passed a check- point. Now we don't see people thinking [Pollard's release] is unthinkable." Supporters of Pollard have long argued that his three decades of incarceration for spying on an ally is exces- sive. Revelations of American espionage may strengthen the Snowden on page 13A Jet-setting Edgar Bronfman flexed muscles for Jewish causes By Cnaan Liphshiz and Julie Wiener could catch his plane to Geneva. "It's a good demonstration of the ease with which Bron- fman conducted himself with world leaders," Cwajgenbaum says. As the longtime head of the Seagram Company--at one point the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world--Bronfman, who died last week at 84, was among the world's most powerful industrialists, credited with expanding the company's reach into the oil and chemi- cal sectors and enhancing its reputation as a purveyor of high-quality spirits. But Bronfman will be re- membered in the Jewishworld for bringing that same flair and jet-setter assertiveness to his defense of communal interests, most notably in his role as head of the World Jewish Congress, a position he assumed in 1981. "Whether people liked (JTA)--In 1992, Edgar Bronfman was preparing to leave North America for Paris for his first meeting with then-French President Francois Mitterand at the Elysee Palace when at the last minute Bronfman decided he wanted to take an unexpected meeting in Geneva instead. So he asked Serge Cwajgen- baum, Bronfman's right-hand man in Europe, to phone the palace and ask to reschedule. The Elysee secretary, Hubert Vendrine, exploded. "He asked me who Edgar Bronfman thinks he is to move around a meeting with the president," Cwajgenbaum recalled. His answer? "The owner of half the wineries and vineyards in Bordeaux." In the end, Mitterand met earlier with Bronfman and then gave him a police escort to the airport so Bronfman x Friedman & Friedman Excellence in Real Estate Jeffrey and Barbara Friedman 407-222-6059 - Direct One Team. Twice the Knowledge, Service and Experience Serving the Central Florida Jewish Community for over 12 years m00.L, him or disliked him, agreed or disagreed with him, there was a stature he had that no one has today," said Rabbi Richard Marker, who served as executive vice president of the Samuel Bronfman Foun- dation in the 1990s. In 1988, Bronfman flew in his private plane to Romania in the midst of an anti-Semitic campaign in state-run media targeting the country's late chief rabbi, Moses Rosen. Shortly after landing in Bucharest, Bronfman was negotiatingwith the country's CommuniSt dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, promising him better ties with the West in exchange for letting the WJC help Romanian Jews. He also warned that targeting Jews would increase Romania's iso- lation and tighten the Soviet grip on Ceausescu. There was another threat looming as well: The Ro- manian government's plans to demolish ancient Jewish sites in Bucharest as part of a real-estate reform. Ceausescu was tried and executed the following year, but not before he managed to destroy several Jewish sites in the capital. "If not for Bronfman's in- tervention, he may have also destroyed the Choral Temple, Romania's Grand Synagogue, during that critical period," said Liviu Rotman, a Roma- nian historian whq has stud- ied Bronfman's negotiations with Ceausescu. The year before, in the wake of an Israeli media report that the Union of Swiss Banks had made a $40 million dona- tion to the Swiss Red Cross as compensation for Jewish money pocketed during the Holocaust, Bronfman walked into the union's Geneva offices Edgar Bronfman and demanded to see the presi- dent. Bronfman came out of the meeting as he had come in: empty-handed. "But that didn't prevent him from bluffing and bang- ing his fist on the table," said Martin Stern, the British- born Jerusalemite and restitu- tion campaigner who alerted Israeli media to the donation. That encounter was only the opening shot in a much wider effort that culminated in the 1990s, when Swiss banks finally agreed to pay out roughly $1 billion in restitution. The legacy of these and similar campaigns is evident at Bronfman's office, located in the iconic Seagram's build- ing at 53rd street and Park Avenue in Manhattan, which is lined with photos of him with popes and presidents as well as a framed copy of Israel's Declaration of Independence. In the latter decades of his life, Bronfman would turn his attention more toward groom- ing the leaders of tomorrow Jet-setter on page 15A Surprise support from unlikely source By Gidon Ben-zvi The Algemeiner Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was surprised by a forthright expression of support for the Jewish state from Russian President Vladimir Putin dur- ing a meeting last month in Moscow, Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported on Friday. Netanyahu had flown to meet the Russian leader in a last minute effort to prevent an interim nuclear deal be- tween Iran and world powers from being signed. During the meeting, Ne- tanyahu asked Putin to with- hold support for the convening of a Nuclear Non Proliferation Conference the stated pur- pose of which would be to rid the entire Middle East of nuclear weapons, accord- ing to the report. In 2010, President Barack Obama first announced plans for the con- vening of this international meeting. However, due to Is- raeli pressure, America pulled its support for the initiative late in 2012. Russia was and remains one of the Conference's chief backers. Ma'ariv said that in his meeting with Putin, Ne- tanyahu explained that a meeting with effectively the chief aim of dismantling Is- rael's nuclear capability - the existence of which has never been confirmed by Israel - will harm the country's vital national interests. Netanyahu went on to ex- plain to the Russian President that there will only be a place for the convening of such a meeting after peaceful rela- tions have been established between Israel and Arab countries across the Middle East, Ma'ariv said. At this point in their hour- and-a-half conversation, Pu- tin surprised the Israeli Premier. "Russia will slow all efforts to convene the confer- ence," Putin promised Netan- yahu, according to Ma'ariv. Putin went even further, mak- ing it clear to Netanyahu that Russia will not do anything to harm Israel. He added that despite the alliance between Israel and the United States, Russia stands by Israel. The reported comments come as somewhat of a policy about -face, as four short months ago Putin stated that Israel should dismantle its nuclear capability. However, the devil is in the details of this apparent change in the official Russian posi- tion vis-a-vis Israel's nuclear program. Specifically, Putin told Netanyahu that Rus- sia supports the 'slowing' of efforts to convene an international Nuclear Non Proliferation Conference, not a complete cessation of such efforts. In short, while Putin is taking the Israeli position into account, he fully in- tends to keep all options on the table. JNF responds to boycott call with plan NEW YORK- Jewish Na- tional Fund (JNF) is de- nouncing the decision by the American Studies As- sociation to boycott Israel's academic and research in- stitutions by encouraging people to take action. Items include a letter writing campaign to the president of the ASA and university deans and faculty members, tweets to the ASA ("End the @AmerStudiesAssn boycott of academic institutions in #Israel! #academicfreedom"), and spreading the Positively Israel message of Israel's contributions to the world by bringing a Positively Israel event to campus, helping to bring academics to Israel on JNF's Faculty Fellowship to Israel Mission, or funding a participant to go on JNF's Caravan for Democracy Mis- sion to Israel so that they can see the real Israel for themselves. "The goal of the executive committee of the American Studies Association is the destruction of the State of Israel," said Scott Gendell, JNF vice president, Commu- nity and Congregational Rela- tions. "From China to Syria to Iran and more, academic and political freedoms are non-existent, but it is Israel that is attacked and singled out. There is a melding of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agendas that is clear to any free-thinking person. Now is the time to stand up on college campuses and let our voices be heard."