My Mideast Punchlines: the story of sweet and sour Park….

Although the Israelis have demanded his release for decades, the imminent parole of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after almost 30 years in prison is not likely to put even a dent in the iciness between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surrounding the Iran nuclear deal. And that is evidence of just how far Washington and Jerusalem have to go before they can get to the place both countries desperately need to be: cooperating closely to deal with a volcanic Middle East.

As for Pollard, his parole should be seen a little more than a footnote. While the Department of Justice said the U.S. would favor Pollard’s parole, the White House was very careful not to trumpet this move as a gesture to Israel. In any case, the White House understands that the issue of Iran is viewed as existential by Israel and Israelis see no connection between that threat and Pollard’s release. Pollard apparently was due out anyway under U.S. rules mandating parole after 30 years except under extraordinary circumstances.

Small FistMy name is Lee. I am a former officer in the North Korean army who ‘escaped’ across the DMZ and eventually reached Seoul, where I received asylum. I later moved to the US under a new identity, San Yong Park. Indeed, under my fake identity I was an American, born and bred in San Francisco. I joined US  Naval Intelligence. So far, so sweet. For the next five years I spied for North Korea, the sworn enemy of the United States. Then things turned sour when I was exposed. Never mind, After three years in an American jail, I was traded for an American GI who had wandered across the 38th parallel by mistake.

My name is Pollard. I am a Jew who served in Naval intelligence and spied for a friendly nation, Israel. I have spent the last 30 years languishing in a US jail, many of them in solitary confinement.

The moral of this story is that it is more dangerous to be a friend of the US than an enemy. While Lee was number 38 (Sweet & Sour Park) on America’s menu of retribution, Pollard was at number 1: Dog.

*please don’t waste time googling San Yong Park. I made it up.



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