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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

U.S. Reportedly Offers Israel Pollard Prisoner Exchange for PA Terrorists

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The United States has allegedly pulled out its ace in the hole this week, reportedly offering at last to free imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the release by Israel of 26 Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners.

The move, reported Wednesday morning by Ilil Shachar on IDF Army Radio, would force Israel to complete the last of a four-stage prisoner release that has thus far freed 78 PA inmates from Israeli jails.

Israeli government officials could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett told The Jewish Press, “Nothing is official, and we have not been given any information at this point. We haven’t been told anything other than the report we heard this morning on the radio.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed eight months ago to the “good will gesture” as a means of testing the truth of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s resolve as a peace partner in working towards a final status deal.

Netanyahu stated from the outset in an “open letter to the citizens of Israel” that the process would depend upon the actions of the PA and its ability to prove it is “really serious and not playing games.”

Pollard’s incarceration in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation (Israel) has long been a sore point for Jews and Israelis the world over. The crime normally carries a maximum prison term of two to four years. Pollard has been often been held in harsh and sometimes inhumane conditions, and has suffered serious health problems as a result. Despite numerous appeals for his release by hundreds of American and Israeli leaders, every U.S. president has turned a deaf ear to requests for clemency, to terminate his sentence to time served.

According to the report, the alleged U.S. decision to offer Pollard in exchange for the PA prisoners came after Prime Minister Netanyahu told the White House officials that too many of his coalition members opposed the release.

Among those opposing the release were senior officials including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.

Shachar reported the U.S. proposed the swap deal for Pollard on condition that Israel would free the fourth round of 26 PA terrorists, which includes some 20 Israeli Arab citizens. The PA, in return, would also agree not to withdraw from the talks at least until the end of 2014.

Nevertheless, it is entirely possible the offer may have come too late.

Israeli advocacy groups, the Israeli public and numerous Israeli officials appear fed up with the White House intransigence on Pollard’s incarceration – and resent using him as a bargaining chip over the safety of Israeli citizens. Some have said they will not agree to support such a deal.

Pollard himself has said that he will not agree to be used in a prisoners swap for Arab terrorists.

Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League yesterday at its summit in Kuwait that the PA has no interest in continuing negotiations with Israel. Both the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority has categorically refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. They continue to insist on the so-called “right of return” for millions of Arabs, generations later, to return to homes they fled after the wars of 1948 and 1967. They also insist Israel hand them a major part of Jerusalem including Judaism’s holy sites, to which Jews would then have no access whatsoever.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials are set to meet with PA leaders to discuss the proposal today.

Visiting Tel Aviv, Capturing Iranian Ships, and Jews in Ukraine

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014


Yishai and Malkah kick of this week’s show with Malkah discussing her and Yishai’s recent trip to Tel Aviv with her visiting sister and brother in-law and the amazing time they had on the boardwalk. Yishai moves on to talk about an Iranian ship that was captured by Israeli commandos in the sea and also how Jews are being treated currently in Ukraine with Yishai talking about a new friend he met at the gym that has first-hand experience with Ukrainian life. Yishai and Malkah talk about health issues that are being faced by Jonathan Pollard, who has been held in American prison for almost 30 years and how American President Obama needs to release him. They wrap the segment up by further talking about the Israeli capture of an Iranian vessel and how this affects the relationship between Israel and its allies.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Jonathan Pollard Underwent Emergency Surgery

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday, after becoming seriously ill.

After being rushed to the hospital, Pollard underwent surgery, but it not currently known for what specific health problem.

Pollard’s health has been seriously deteriorating as of late.

Refuah Sheleimah.

Pollard Pardon? Not Now

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison for some years in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.

I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit). I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

Confession of a Pollard Advocate Who Lost his Way

Monday, February 24th, 2014

I was the first person, save for his family and attorney, to make contact with Jonathan Pollard after his November 21, 1985 arrest for passing classified information to Israel.

At the time of Jonathan’s apprehension, I was the Rabbi of Sinai Synagogue in South Bend, Indiana, a traditional, Modern Orthodox congregation. Pollard’s family was very active in the synagogue for decades. Jonathan celebrated his Bar Mitzvah there.

Jonathan’s parents, Molly (Mildred) and Dr. Morris Pollard, were ardent Zionists, and among the most prominent members of the South Bend Jewish community. Morris was a world-renowned microbiologist, who headed the Lobund Laboratory, and an award-winning professor at Notre Dame University. I was very close to both parents. We shared many a festive Shabbat meal together at our home.

I cannot begin to tell you how shattered and devastated Morris and Molly were over this whole sordid saga. It essentially destroyed their lives. Morris, a decorated WW2 army veteran, winner of a Commendation Medal and three Presidential Citations, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, was a fierce patriot, and could not begin to comprehend the charges against Jonathan that questioned Jonathan’s upbringing, and his family’s loyalties.

From the start, Morris and Molly advocated for leniency for Jonathan. As my career brought me to Springfield, Massachusetts, and Stamford, Connecticut, I invited Morris to address my congregations in an effort to rally support for his son.

I spent more than seven hours with Jonathan outside his prison cell in Marion, Illinois. He was kept in a subterranean vault, in solitary confinement, several floors below ground, in a cell near that of John Anthony Walker, Jr., who committed treason in what is considered the most damaging Russian spy-ring in history. Walker constantly bombarded Jonathan with anti-Semitic drivel, and Jonathan showed the scars of that incessant abuse. Jonathan was brought to me in handcuffs and leg shackles. His pallor did not seem human. I had never seen anyone whose skin was so white and pasty, as though he had never seen the sun. It was a pitiful sight to behold.

When I saw Jonathan in jail, in 1987, he seemed to have aged then well beyond his years. Imagine how he must be doing now, in 2014.

I corresponded with Jonathan and visited his then wife, Anne Henderson Pollard, in a prison in Danbury, Connecticut. I wrote an amicus memorandum to Jonathan’s sentencing judge, Aubrey Robinson, pleading for leniency, a message undoubtedly lost on the Court, and also penned articles in the general and Jewish press advocating for Jonathan.

I wrote about my visit with Jonathan. I stressed that our democratic ideals and our unique system of justice are tested most and best by our fair and balanced treatment of those who do the unsavory deed, and are universally condemned and vilified for it. I also described Jonathan as an angry young man, not the easiest to root for. I noted as well that just because Jonathan indisputably erred does not mean, therefore, that we should throw away the key to his cell.

This is a theme to which I still wholeheartedly subscribe. Yet, my words reflected an insensitivity to the emotional toll that Jonathan’s ordeal must have taken on him. I focused indelicately on his anger, and was oblivious to his circumstances. My words hurt Morris and Molly deeply, and, after that, they refused all contact with me.

In response, I inexplicably buried my support for Jonathan then and there. I no longer advocated for Jonathan on any level, and, for a long time, I would not follow closely the unfolding story.

I cannot possibly justify my silence. I suppose that it was a way of masking or sublimating my own upset or hurt in the matter. All that I can do now is what I ought have done all along: simply add my own voice to the growing international groundswell of support for Jonathan’s immediate release from prison on humanitarian grounds, if nothing else. My complicity of silence ends here and now.

Jonathan is more than just a case or a cause. He found love and faith while in prison. He is married to Esther, and is now an observant Jew.

To add to the tragedy of a brilliant young man with abundant promise consigned to an interminable nightmare in prison, Jonathan has not been well. He has a variety of serious ailments that have required surgeries, among them gallbladder and kidney issues. His current health condition is reported to be poor, as he has suffered from the cumulative effects of his long-term incarceration under harsh conditions, including seven (7) years in solitary confinement.

A growing chorus of American political leaders and cultural icons has appealed for Pollard’s immediate release on humanitarian grounds under the President’s powers of clemency and pardon, among them Elie Weisel, Alan Dershowitz, Rudy Guliani, John McCain, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former CIA director James Woolsley, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasy, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Lawrence Korb, Benjamin Hooks, the former executive director of the NAACP, and scores of U.S. congressmen who have signed petitions requesting the commutation of Pollard’s sentence to time served.

Most recently, David Durenberger, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when Jonathan was convicted, who is intimately acquainted with the full details of Jonathan’s crime, wrote to President Obama arguing that the harshness of Jonathan’s sentence was “uncalled for,” and appealing for his immediate release.

In addition, a number of petitions for clemency for Pollard, each signed by hundreds of U.S. religious leaders across all faith lines, have urged the president to act now, arguing that failing to do so represents a “gross miscarriage of justice.” And, the drum roll for Jonathan’s freedom beats long and hard internationally as well, in academic and political leadership circles, and at the grassroots, most especially in Israel. A petition urging President Obama to commute Jonathan’s sentence was signed by 200,000 Israelis.

Jonathan is ailing, and has spent the better part of his life in jail. His life has been ruined. The authorities barred Jonathan from visiting his dying mother in 2003, and his father in 2011, nor was he permitted to attend their funerals.

When we examine all the arguments on both sides of a presidential pardon or clemency for Jonathan Pollard, it might do us well to consider the United States Attorneys’ Manual, which provides guidelines for the consideration of petitions for Presidential pardons and clemency. It notes, in Section 1-2.112, that the President’s consideration of a request for pardon takes into account post-conviction conduct, and acceptance of responsibility. Jonathan has a spotless prison record, and cooperated fully with the government following his arrest. He has also accepted responsibility for his actions, and has repeatedly expressed great remorse for his unlawful actions.

Further, as the Manual points out, in Section 1-2.113, a presidential sentence commutation request is reviewed with a mind to the undue severity of the sentence, and the critical nature of a prisoner’s illness. Jonathan Pollard’s request for commutation or clemency clearly provides ample evidence in support of these two factors as well. Recall that the median sentence for the offense for which Jonathan was convicted is two (2) to four (4) years. The maximum sentence today for such an offense is ten (10) years. Incredibly, Jonathan is now in the 29th year of his incarceration, having been sentenced to life imprisonment. And, the critical nature of Jonathan’s deteriorating health condition has been duly noted.

The call of restorative justice summons us to find that pristine place in our warm, compassionate hearts to help Jonathan Pollard come back from the brink. A few months before Pollard’s father died, it was reported in the local South Bend press that he could only hope and pray that justice for Jonathan would prevail. Let us honor a dying father’s last wish, answer the call of equity and justice, and join the fight for Jonathan’s freedom.

Better late than never.

Hundreds Rally for Pollard Release at US Embassy in Tel Aviv

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Hundreds of demonstrators calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The demonstration on Sunday night was led by Pollard’s wife, Esther.

“How is it that in spite of all the gestures that Israel is making at the request of the U.S., the Americans are not willing to make the smallest, most minimal gesture towards Israel, the release of one prisoner?” Esther Pollard said.

Teenagers from the national religious camp made up much of the rally’s crowd, according to The Jerusalem Post. Israeli lawmakers from the government coalition and the opposition also were in attendance.

Pollard is in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel while a civilian U.S. Navy analyst. He is up for parole in less than two years.

Earlier this month Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. deputy national security adviser, said in an interview that Pollard should be released. He is among an increasing number of figures involved in the U.S. government when Pollard was given his life sentence in 1987 who now say the sentence should be commuted.

The calls to release Pollard have intensified in the last year, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both U.S. political parties.

Pro Pollard Rally Today, 6 PM at US Embassy

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

According to the organizers, Women in Green, the eyes of the world will be upon the Pollard demo, this Sunday, February 23, at 6 PM, in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, 81 Herbert Samuel Street (on the promenade).

“This is the first official Pollard demo in front of the US Embassy. Your presence is needed to ensure that, with God’s help, it will also be the last.”

  • Stand up for a just cause, the release of Jonathan Pollard, after 29 years of affliction in American prisons for his service to Israel
  • Contribute to absolute Jewish unity on this issue and on the many Jewish and Israeli issues that Pollard’s case represents
  • Show the kind of solidarity that will ultimately define not only Pollard’s fate, but the fate of Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-pollard-rally-today-6-pm-at-us-embassy/2014/02/23/

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