Free Jonathan Pollard

From the U.S. point of view, if justice would be served by freeing Pollard at this point, this should happen, regardless of whether his release is a useful lever in peace negotiations. That Secretary of State John Kerry is scrambling to come up with crumbs to toss the Israelis to lure them to the bargaining table only underscores the desperation of his peace bid.

From the Israeli point of view, if it is in the national interest to freeze settlements, release additional Palestinian prisoners or remain at the negotiating table, this should be done whether Pollard is freed or not. Conversely, it would be wrong for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to secure Pollard’s freedom if they were against his country’s interest.

But diplomacy has its ugly aspects. From the U.S. side, Pollard will be eligible for parole in November 2015, after serving 30 years. His release is not certain but wouldn’t be surprising. What more is to be achieved from his continued incarceration for a few extra months — especially when there is the prospect, however slim, of gain from letting him go early?