Sunday, April 19, 2020

The efforts of Jewish anti-Zionists to free Palestinian terrorists speak volumes about their goals - Jonathan S. Tobin

Prison officials should do what they can to mitigate the effect of the virus on their charges, even if social distancing isn’t always possible there. Releases of those who don’t pose a threat to society should also be considered. However, those who advocate the release of violent thugs, including Palestinian-terrorist murderers, under the guise of coronavirus compassion should never be allowed to get away with posing as supporters of human rights.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
17 April '20..

What is our duty to those confined in places where the coronavirus crisis is a threat? Efforts to protect residents of facilities that serve the elderly have gained a great deal of attention. Yet the inhabitants of prisons may be in as much danger. Still, the question of what we should do about this problem says a great deal about the willingness of some to let their ideology overcome common sense. It also illustrates just how little some who claim the title of “human-rights activists” or advocates for “peace” value the lives of others, including their fellow Jews.

There’s little doubt that once the virus is let loose on those locked up in jails, as well as those who guard them, the results could be bad. That’s why some American states and cities where the disease has become a particularly potent threat, such as New York and New Jersey, have released large numbers of inmates in order to allow elderly prisoners who are most at risk to evade a potential deathtrap. Others, including those who were sentenced for non-violent offenses or whose sentences were nearly finished, have been freed in order to relieve overcrowding.

This has led to a spirited debate about the moral dilemma involved in maintaining penal institutions during a pandemic. The government has an obligation not to let a prison term become a death sentence. But it is equally obligated not to make decisions that endanger other citizens, who may be more likely to be victims should this policy lead to a jailbreak crime wave. The fact that New York City has released hundreds of people accused of violent crimes, in part because of the virus and also due to a recently passed dangerous “bail reform” law, has led to understandable fears about life in quarantine becoming more like a dystopian post-apocalyptic scenario than an orderly attempt to reduce deaths from a deadly disease.

At a time when the ranks of the police and first responders have been thinned by the disease, and those who are still healthy are preoccupied with dealing with the problems created by the pandemic, any mass release of prisoners has the potential to create a real crime problem. While crime rates are reportedly down, that may be more a measure of lower arrest rates than a decline in felonious behavior.

The debate in New York has exposed the fact some of those advocating such prison releases, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are motivated by a belief that the entire criminal justice system is unjust and even the most guilty prisoners can deserve a pass. But as risible as that position might be, when it is transposed to Israel, such efforts tell us something even more outrageous. Those clamoring for prison releases there are not so much driven by concern for the health of prisoners, but by a belief that captured terrorists don’t deserve punishment.

That is the position of Jewish Voice for Peace, a left-wing group whose real agenda is the eradication of the Jewish state.

(Continue to Full Column)

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