Arnon Milchan at the Oscars

In my article on Abe Foxman’s retirement, I discussed Foxman’s letter complaining that Jonathan Pollard’s continuing incarceration is “an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.  … So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.”

My response was that Foxman should be happy about the long list of Jews who should have been imprisoned for spying on behalf of Israel but were not. And now we have the outrageous example of Arnon Michan not only admitting  that he stole nuclear secrets on behalf of Israel, but continues his high profile life in Hollywood with no fear of prosecution (“Admitted Spy Shows Up for Oscars — and Wins“). Michan was at the Oscar ceremony because his film, 12 Years a Slave, was nominated (and won) the Oscar for Best Picture.

Though Milchan, an Israeli citizen, admitted in November that he engaged in espionage against the U.S for many years, including helping to smuggle American nuclear bomb parts to Israel, his appearance at the Oscars was pretty much proof not all spies are treated equally.

Forbes columnist Dorothy Pomerantz, who writes about Hollywood for the magazine, noted in her morning after rundown of the Oscars, “The Billionaire Winners of the 2014 Academy Awards,” that it is “unlikely the admission will affect his standing in the film industry.”

Since revealing his “James Bond”-like past on Israeli television in November, Milchan has apparently not generated interest among U.S. law enforcement agencies. The FBI won’t even acknowledge that it investigated him previously (it has) and would not say it has plans to interview him about his spying activities now that he’s admitted to them. …

Grant Smith, author of Divert, about the decades-long Israeli operation to funnel U.S. nuclear secrets, uranium and parts to Israel, was not surprised that Milchan was “unconcerned and on stage” at the Oscars. Smith said Milchan has dodged prosecution for more than 30 years, even as a colleague in the smuggling of nuclear triggers, Richard Kelley Smyth, ultimately was arrested and jailed.

What has made Milchan untouchable, according to Smith, is his connections. These include long time associations with Israeli leaders including Shimon Peres and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who worked at Heli Trading, a Milchan front company used for smuggling, according to Smith, who cites Justice Department documents that he acquired through the Freedom of Information Act.

So cheer up, Abe. It could be a lot worse.

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