"This is a pattern of American pressure that repeats itself," Ben-David
said. "The tactic is geared to embarrass American supporters of Israel,
particularly members of Congress, who oppose weapons sales to Israel's foes,
dangerous concessions to the Palestinians, or the abrogation of previous
commitments to Israel."
In an effort to pressure Israel into a unilateral withdrawal from the
West Bank, Ms. Rice was said to have pressed for the prosecution on
espionage charges of two senior members of the American-Israel Public
Affairs Committee. The diplomats said the secretary has also sought to
reduce support for Israel in Congress, many of whose members have quietly
advised the Olmert government to hold fast until Bush leaves office in
"It's a great way to pressure Israel into giving up the store to the
Islamic world's favorite football, the Palestinians," Debbi Schussel, a
leading conservative commentator said.
The Justice Department, in an unprecedented prosecution 25 years after
the alleged espionage, has refused to say when it knew of Kadish's alleged
activities for Israel. The State Department, which linked Kadish to the case
of former U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, referred all such questions to
"You can talk with the Justice Department about why it has taken as long
as it has from the original incident to be able to develop and establish
enough information to actually be able to move forward with an arrest and
prosecution," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.
But other diplomatic sources disagree with the assessment that the
Kadish case was being used as a lever against Israel. They cited the mild
and even reassuring reaction from the State Department as well as the calm
response from Israel.
At a hearing in U.S. District Court in New York on April 22, Kadish was
released on $300,000 bail until his next hearing, scheduled for May 24.
Kadish appeared relaxed and even bantered in Hebrew with at least one
"If this was a truly serious case, he would have been denied bail and
there would be hysteria on the Israeli side," a veteran diplomat in
Washington said. "We are talking about a case that has been stage-managed
with the full cooperation of the suspect and Israel."
Under this scenario, Kadish was surrendered by Israel after months of
negotiations concerning Israel's quiet demand for the release of Pollard,
serving a life sentence since 1986. The diplomats said Olmert and his senior
ministers have urged Bush and Ms. Rice to release Pollard in what could
provide the Israeli government with sufficient political support to destroy
the unauthorized Jewish communities in the West Bank and withdraw from most
of the area over the next year.
"The last thing the administration wants to do is threaten the
Israeli-U.S. relationship on the strategic level," the diplomat said. "This
would bolster the argument against any withdrawal."
Instead, these diplomats and analysts said, Israel gave Kadish's name to
the U.S. intelligence community in an effort to remove its objections to the
release of Pollard. Since his arrest in 1985, the CIA has asserted that at
least one other American Jew was spying for Israel.
"I think what primarily bothers the Americans is the feeling that Israel
didn't tell them the whole truth two decades ago, in 1985, when the Pollard
affair exploded," former Mossad director Danny Yatom said.