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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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The Pollard Petition

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The Jewish Press urges readers to sign a circulating petition that calls on Shimon Peres to do all he can, in advance of accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, to persuade Mr. Obama to free Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy serving a life sentence in a federal prison. (President Obama announced last month that he would be awarding the Medal to Mr. Peres, the president of Israel, in June.)

The petition appears in Hebrew (the project began in Israel, but there is also an accompanying English version) and can be joined by logging on to JonathanPollard.org.

Although Mr. Peres sent a letter to President Obama requesting Mr. Pollard’s release, to this point no such action has been taken. And supporters of Mr. Pollard note the incongruity of the Israeli statesman accepting an award from the American president while Mr. Pollard continues to languish in an American jail under a sentence denounced as draconian and excessive by dozens of former American officials.

We have long felt, and emerging evidence seems to confirm, that Jonathan Pollard’s extraordinary life sentence resulted in no small measure from his having spied for Israel, which though a close ally of the U.S. was anathema to some senior officials in the Reagan administration, particularly then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and several members of the intelligence community. So it cannot be that Pollard’s plight should not somehow resonate when Israel’s president receives the highest U.S. civilian award – especially given that it was Mr. Peres who happened to be the prime minister of Israel when Mr. Pollard was apprehended.

What role the Israeli president can play here is not clear. But it merits mentioning that in announcing the honor to be bestowed on Mr. Peres, President Obama pointed to the 89-year-old statesman’s long career as one of the architects of modern Israel and his great diplomatic skills. “He has taught us to ask more of ourselves, and to empathize more with our fellow human beings,” said Mr. Obama.

If enough of us sign that online petition, perhaps Mr. Peres might just feel empowered enough to use those diplomatic skills to persuade President Obama to empathize with – and release – Jonathan Pollard.

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8 Responses to “The Pollard Petition”

  1. Daniel J. Dulnikowski says:

    As an American, Pollard can rot in prison until he is dead.

  2. There is much about the Pollard case that never made sense but his guilt was never in question after the trial. He went to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on Nov. 21, 1985 when he was not in U.S. custody but when he asked for aylum in Israel, the guards at the Embassy turned him away. Israel never admitted that it purchased the U.S. Navy classified documents from Pollard until 1998. The life sentence is not excessive given the crime, and Caspar Weinberger had no role in any sentence recommendation but his only role was to give prosecutors and Judge Robinson a damage assessment memorandum which was shared with Pollard and his attorneys. The prosecutor honored the plea agreement deal with Pollard and only recommended "a substantial number of years" for his sentence but Judge Robinson was not part of the deal and he imposed the life sentence as was common in other espionage cases. Pollard was born an American citizen and he has been treated humanely and not unjustly for the nature and scope of his crimes against America and the damage they did to U.S. navy security in the 1980s. Pollard has now served 25 years which is a "substantial number" but any reduction in sentence should come from the U.S. judicial system in an orderly manner using standard due process and not from short cuts or arbitrary emotional negotiations of politicians. Done in the right way, I think Pollard's attorneys could get credit for time served and a reduction in sentence from the courts. But going the route of an executive pardon from any president is not the right approach in my opinion until or unless all court appeals have been exhausted not to absolve the crimes he was guilty of but to reduce the sentence which is the only real issue at this point.

  3. Matthew Huck says:

    As an American Jew, amen. I can't believe the Jewish/Israeli clamor for Pollard's release when the record shows that he would have sold Israel's secrets if he had had access to them. The guy regarded his security clearance as a credit/debit card for which he would never have to pay.

  4. If Shimon Peres had any shred of decency, he would refuse to accept the award unless Pollard is released!

  5. Mr Rhoads, you are wrong from the very start of your comments. Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. The judge threw out the plea agreement because of whatever Caspar Weinberger told him, all of which has never been revealed, not even to Jonathan's lawyers. The life sentence that judge Robinson imposed was anything but common as the median sentence for passing classified documents to an ally (the only crime Jonathan was ever charged with) was 2 to 4 years. Jonathan's sentence is unprecedented. Jonathan has not been treated humanely. You call years of solitary confinement and denial of medical treatment humane!? As for the damage done to America by the information that Jonathan passed to Israel, there I can't argue with you. America's had some serious mud on its face because they were in breach of the treaty they had with Israel and should have been sending them that information and more. No damage was done to America by Jonathan except for showing up the state department and the anti Semites that run it. As for the judicial system, it wrote Jonathan off years ago. Jonathan could not even get a "new trial" (hard for it to be new since he never had an "old" one) because his first incompetent lawyer failed to file for one within the time limit of his sentencing. Every petition to the courts has been rejected on some technicality or another. Jonathan's current lawyers have exhausted every legal option and hit a brick wall each time. The only thing left is clemency from the President of the United States. Let's be clear, Jonathan is not asking for a pardon, all he is asking is for his sentence to be reduced to time served. Many high ranking US government officials have already stated that Jonathan should have been released years ago. Even Caspar Weinberger, before he died said "As I say, the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance." Jonathan's sentence was and remains political punishment, period. I suggest you do a little more research and get your facts straight.

  6. Do u believe any normal American cares at all whether Mr. Peres accepts or declines the award?

  7. Michael Mannion – Peres getting the award is barely news worthy. But refusing to accept the award from Obama without the release of Jonathan Pollard would be headline news all over the world.

  8. לעזאזל בישראל

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