There is some buzz in intelligence circles about recent Justice Department inquiries both at CIA and also at the Pentagon about the damage done by Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, suggesting to some that (a) Obama will release him and may even announce it when he addresses AIPAC on the weekend or (b) Obama knows Netanyahu will again ask that Pollard be released during their talk next week and is briefing himself up on why he has to stay in jail. Inevitably, most think it will be choice (a) and that Obama is thinking of shoring up his re-election prospects for 2012 by courting a key constituency.
The Lobby has been active lately in the lead-up to the AIPAC conference. A letter calling on Obama to free Pollard has been circulating since January and has attracted a number of endorsements including George Shultz. Last week 36 congressmen signed on to a letter originated by Rep. Steve Israel (no irony intended) calling on the Turkish government to stop the next aid flotilla planned for Gaza, which will likely depart next month. The letter implies that there will be dire consequences, and rightly so, if the ships are allowed to sail. Today the White House press secretary all but commended Israel for killing twenty protesters along the Syrian and Lebanese borders during demonstrations on Sunday, praising the “restraint” and noting that it was a proper remedy for “unauthorized border crossing.” Part of the border in question is Israeli-occupied Syrian territory in any event but one wonders if the Obama Administration is planning a similar remedy for Mexicans trying to enter the United States.