Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Pollard Letter

Office of Congressman Barney Frank     
For Immediate Release   Contact: Harry Gural   
Thursday, November 18, 2010     Phone: (202) 225-9400  
        Cell:  (202) 281-0670  
Legislators and Jewish Leaders Call for the President to Grant Clemency to Jonathan Pollard    

WASHINGTON -- Congressmen Barney Frank, Bill Pascrell Jr., Anthony Weiner and Steven Rothman, along with representatives of major Jewish organizations, held a press conference today to call for President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen and formal naval officer who has been incarcerated since 1985 for spying on behalf of Israel.  Pollard is the only American who has received a life sentence for spying for an ally.

The Representatives were joined by Eric Fusfield of B'nai Brith International, Juliana Schnur of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Abba Cohen of Agudath Israel of America.  David Nyer, a key grassroots organizer of the effort to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard, conveyed words of support from Rabbi Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Major Jewish Presidents and Rabbi Pesach Lerner of the National Council of Young Israel.

At the press conference, Frank, Pascrell, Weiner and Rothman released a letter to President Obama, signed by thirty-nine Members of Congress, asking him to take action on the Pollard issue.  The letter is attached.

The Members do not dispute Mr. Pollard’s guilt in this case, but they request that his sentence be reduced so it is comparable to sentences served by others convicted of spying for allies or non-adversarial nations.

“We are not questioning Mr. Pollard’s guilt, but rather appealing for clemency based on the vast disparity between his sentence and his crime,” said Congressman Pascrell, who visited Pollard in a federal prison in North Carolina in the late 1990s. “Israel is one of America’s strongest allies, and I believe that 25 years behind bars is far too many for Mr. Pollard, especially considering the sentences to those convicted of similar crimes on behalf of countries who are not our friends.”

“A decision by the President to grant clemency would not only be a humane act regarding Mr. Pollard, but I believe it would be taken as an affirmation of the strong commitment the U.S. has to Israel,” said Congressman Frank.  “This is especially important at a time when Israel, our democratic ally, is facing difficult decisions regarding its efforts to make peace with its neighbors.”
“There is no doubt that Jonathan Pollard committed a very serious offense. But, the simple fact is that the punishment does not fit the crime,” Rep. Weiner said. “Out of commonsense and compassion for someone who cooperated fully, at what point do you say ‘enough is enough’?”
“This cause is about one simple but crucial principle: Equal justice under the law,” said Eric Fusfield, Director of Legislative Affairs of B’nai B’rith International.  “Jonathan Pollard has already served 25 years of a life sentence for one count of passing classified information to an ally, a crime that, for other offenders, carries an average sentence of much less than 10 years; in fact, today the maximum sentence for this crime is 10 years.  In Pollard’s case, the sentence clearly is vastly disproportionate to the crime and should be commuted to time already served.



Naomi Litvin said...

I admire you for speaking out for Jonathan Pollard's freedom. I am following @Justice4JP on Twitter for updates and just don't understand why more people are not coming forward to do the same. When this man walks out into the sunshine, it will be a victory for him and his family and for the Jewish people. I only hope that his health will improve and that he will be able to enjoy his life.

YMedad said...

In 1987, I became the coordinator of the Pollard Lobby in the Knesset and I think I did a good job. I visited him in jail twice. I agree with her perplexity.

Suleiman Kahani said...

Now the zionists not only own totally the u.s. foreign policy, keeping them yoked to their bandwagon and forcing them to attack, invade and occupy those nations they don't like...they want to pull the strings of u.s. penal justice too!

This is prime material for my pro-palestinian weblog, we'll have an op-ed on the encroaching grip of the Zioni clique on the u.s.

America, how much longer will you tolerate to be the harlot of Tel Aviv?

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Here, I do not actually consider this will have success.