He Shall Be Released


In 1968, Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy wrote “Hurricane,” a song about a man, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who many believed was falsely convicted of murder. The song became one of Dylan’s most successful singles, and it was credited with helping Carter receive a new trial.

For literally decades, Jewish and Israeli activists have been campaigning for a new trial or an early release for Jonathan Pollard. Once an American intelligence analyst, Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel. In 1987, he was sentenced to life in prison. His supporters claim that his sentence is disproportionately severe.

Last month the Israeli activist and rapper Shi 360 (real name: Shai Haddad) released a new provocative single, “Yonatan (Should Be Released),” to serve as a rallying cry for Pollard’s supporters. In the song Shi 360 argues that while Pollard shared vital information for Israel (specifically that “Iraq and Syria, Iran & Libya/Plotting to attack, chemical and nuclear”), the United States punished Pollard to excess. “He never brought harm to the red, white and blue, only his concern for the white and blue…” Shi 360 raps, “No chance for rebuttal, no chance to fight/And that’s why they call it constitutional rights?”

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