web analytics
October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

A Presidential Pardon

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Israel’s President Ruby Rivlin recites Slichot, the prayers for forgiveness that are said leading up to Yom Kippur. This slichot prayer session was held at the President’s official residence.

Speaking of presidential pardons, it would be good if this were the year that Jonathan Pollard was let free.

Obama Passes the Buck, Dumps Pollard Problem onto AG Eric Holder

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama doesn’t want to disappoint an old friend, nor does he want to end his presidency on a sour note with Israel, and he certainly wants to sidestep a political minefield.

What’s a president to do?

Faced with the eternal American dilemma over how to deal with the Jonathan Pollard debacle, it could be that Obama believed he had finally figured out a win-win solution to evade responsibility for the endless nightmare.

Let Eric make the call.

If Attorney-General Eric Holder recommends to let him go for whatever reason, Obama will be hailed as a hero by the Jews, and by the now-countless political and community leaders who have said for years Pollard should be freed. Justice will prevail and Israel will be grateful. Israeli and Jewish gratitude is a precious gift, because neither tends to forget their friends. Or their enemies.

If Holder recommends to keep him in jail for whatever reason, Obama will have someone else to blame.

He’ll also join the list of presidents before him who rejected a request from the State of Israel and ignored the Jews again. Pollard will likely die in prison, and Obama will go down in history as having been the president on whose watch justice was not served – along with all the others. He will be vindicated by the anti-Semites within the U.S. State Department and justice system, and vilified by a host of others. And life will go on.

So that’s the answer he gave his good friend Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday during a visit at the White House. Peres, who just turned 90 and who is ending his own term in office next month, is in Washington on a final state visit in that capacity.

By the way, it was Peres who was Israel’s prime minister when he handed over documents with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate the Israeli agent and jail him for life, after being initially charged on a single count of passing classified information to America’s ally, Israel.

On Wednesday, he and Obama – the only two current heads of state to both have won the Nobel Peace Prize – met in the White House to discuss the matter. Peres had promised Pollard’s wife he would make one more try to convince Obama to grant her husband clemency – a presidential privilege used for humanitarian purposes.

Speaking with with uncharacteristic realism to Israeli media in Washington after his meeting with Obama, Peres briefed reporters on his attempt to secure freedom for Pollard, now entering his 29th year of incarceration in a U.S. prison.

But Obama ducked, apparently – and passed the buck to his attorney general.

Speaking with obvious reluctance, Peres told reporters in a briefing following the meeting, “I cannot say that he answered me on the spot. I don’t want to go with more than what he said,” Peres began. “He said the attorney general would [get involved.]

“His answer was, ‘The attorney general, it belongs to him. He will decide,’” Peres continued.

“There is a problem if I am optimistic, if I would say more than what he [actually] said,” Peres continued. “We have to cautious, and not to inflate or exaggerate … I asked specifically to be given the wording of what I could and could not say — and I have used precisely [the wording] that I was told I could say,” he concluded.

But it is very important to realize that the privilege of clemency — moderating the severity of a sentence in an act of mercy or leniency — is one unique to a president. Not an attorney general.

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

President Peres Meets with Esther Pollard Prior to His US Trip

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

JERUSALEM – President Shimon Peres met this morning (Jun. 22) with Esther Pollard, wife of incarcerated Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard, MK’s Nachman Shai Ayelet Shaked, at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.
The meeting took place a day before Peres is scheduled to depart for his final foreign visit, to the United States, where he will meet with President Obama and deliver a speech at Congress. Esther Pollard, began by thanking President Peres and said, “I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard.”

Coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, Efi Lahav, said: “We know that you, Mr. President, have made significant efforts during your term in office and now we believe in your ability to persuade the President of the United States. We believe your upcoming visit to the US is the most serious opportunity yet to release Jonathan Pollard.”

President Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States, “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard, I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House.”

MK Ayelet Shaked said, “You have done a lot on behalf of the State of Israel and the people of Israel both in Israel and abroad; I believe that only you can use your influence on the American leadership to bring Jonathan home.” MK Nachman Shai added: “There is a national consensus, which crosses party divides in the Knesset, of Jews and Arabs who agree that Jonathan Pollard must be released. I believe that if the President of the United States hears from you that the issue is important to you and to the people of Israel there will be progress.”

NRG reports that U.S. officials said in recent days to staff members of the campaign to free Pollard that after Pollard’s release was previously placed on the table by the US Government within the framework of a political deal tied in with the peace negotiations, it has been proven that there is no real reason to prevent Pollard’s release. They said that currently a political deal is not at hand, so it is now a question of a humanitarian gesture on the part of President Obama.

Israeli citizens recently launched a petition requesting that Peres return for the US with Jonathan pollard. “At this time, when the diplomatic process is not on the agenda, we ask that you become our advocate and that you bring to bear the full weight of your influence in the U.S. so that justice and compassion may prevail and Jonathan will be released without any further delay,” the petition reads. “We believe that there would be nothing more noble and just, than to use this unique opportunity to save a life.”

MKs to Peres: Ask Obama to Free Pollard

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

President Shimon Peres met this morning met with Esther Pollard and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard, MK Nachman Shai and MK Ayelet Shaked. The meeting took place one day before the president is scheduled to depart for his final official foreign visit, to the United States, where he will meet with President Obama and deliver a speech in Congress.

Esther Pollard, Jonathan’as wife, began by thanking President Peres and said, “I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard.”

The Campaign Coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, Efi Lahav said, “We know that you, Mr. President, have made significant efforts during your term in office and now we believe in your ability to persuade the President of the United States. We believe your upcoming visit to the US is the most serious opportunity yet to release Jonathan Pollard.”

President Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States, “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard, I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House.”

MK Ayelet Shaked said, “You have done a lot on behalf of the State of Israel and the people of Israel both in Israel and abroad – I believe that only you can use your influence on the American leadership to bring Jonathan home.” MK Nachman Shai said, “There is a national consensus, which crosses party divides in the Knesset, of Jews and Arabs who agree that Jonathan Pollard must be released. I believe that if the President of the United States hears from you that the issue is important to you and to the people of Israel there will be progress.”

Jonathan Pollard Praying for the Boys

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard is praying for the safe return of the kidnapped boys, and has asked that Jews around the world do the same, according to a Jerusalem Post report.

Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Naftali Frankel (16) were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Thursday night.

Israel Slams Claim of Spying on U.S.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed a report by U.S.-based Newsweek magazine claiming Israel has been “spying” on America.

The foreign minister told listeners on Israel’s Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning, “First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.”

Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”

The report, published Tuesday by Newsweek, quoted anonymous senior intelligence officials in the United States, and Congressional staffers.

Written by journalist Jeff Stein, the report began with the question, “Whatever happened to honor among thieves? When the National Security Agency was caught eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, it was considered a rude way to treat a friend. Now U.S. intelligence officials are saying – albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill – that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.”

Stein wrote the espionage had allegedly been revealed in recent visa waiver briefings, saying the spying came under cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts. The alleged primary target: “America’s industrial and technical secrets,” according to his report.

Last month a senior House aide also noted the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the visa waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country, the CQ Roll Call news site reported.

Counter intelligence agents, wrote Stein, had called Israel’s “espionage activities in America… unrivaled and unseemly,” and said they went “far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan.” Unnamed Congressional staffers referred to testimony at the briefings as “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying … damaging.”

Of course, wrote Stein, the United States spies on Israel as well. He quoted a former top CIA operative who told him that Israel was “the last place you wanted to go on vacation” because of ‘heavy-handed Israeli surveillance.’

Israel’s foreign minister, however, said Wednesday morning that he heard no complaints about “spying” during a meeting with members of Congress on a visit to the United States last month. Mr. Liberman told listeners he believes the charges are the work of saboteurs trying to scotch relations between the two countries.

The U.S. visa waiver program enables travelers to the United States to enter the country without first having to obtain a visa. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security quoted by Newsweek, requirements for entry to the program include “enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.”

Israelis face a high rate of visa refusal by the U.S. due to the problem of young people entering the country and then staying past the expiration date of tourist visas in order to work illegally.

Another obstacle to Israel’s acceptance to the program is the U.S. government’s perception of alleged discrimination against Arab Americans in Israeli security protocols.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-slams-claim-of-spying-on-u-s/2014/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: