April 14, 2024
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Young Israel Launches “Call For Clemency Campaign”

Goal is to gain pardon for Pollard

(from combined services)

The national office of Young Israel is encouraging people to call the White House, when President Barack Obama leaves for Israel, to ask him to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served. By April 8, he will have spent 10,000 days in prison.

As part of the “Call for Clemency Campaign,” people across the United States are encouraged to call President Obama and request the release of Jonathan Pollard and to tell the White House that 28 years in prison is more than enough. People can contact the White House between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST at 202-456-1414 to ask the President to release Pollard.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, the leaders of every major political party in the Knesset, and U.S. government officials, legal professionals, and religious groups have all called for Pollard›s release, as has the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The new revelations are a game changer. Now that so many of the lies about the case have been cleared up, President Obama is in a much better position to respond positively to clear up this injustice.”

Pollard has spent 28 years of an unprecedented life sentence in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The median time served for this offense is 2 to 4 years. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense. Pollard and the Government of Israel have both apologized and expressed remorse for their actions.

Calls for Jonathan Pollard›s release intensified in recent months in light of a recently declassified CIA damage assessment in the Pollard case. The CIA document disclosed that Pollard spied for Israel, and did not spy against the U.S. The report also stated that Pollard received a life sentence not because of the damage he did, but because he gave an interview to journalist Wolf Blitzer of The Jerusalem Post in 1986. The government used the interview, which could not have been done without government approval, to push for a different sentence than the plea bargain required without negating the plea bargain. Such a situation could hurt U.S. security, as a failure to agree on a plea bargains would lead to trials that could lead to the release of information that the U.S. Government would prefer to remain classified.

In recent weeks, an online Israel-based petition calling on President Obama to free Jonathan Pollard has garnered over 150,000 signatures. The petition will be hand-delivered to the President when he arrives in Israel on March 20th.

Major decision makers have issued public calls for his release, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator David Durenberger, who served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard’s conviction, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard’s sentencing, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, who served under President Ronald Reagan when Pollard was investigated and ultimately charged with disclosing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States.

McFarlane called Pollard’s sentence “a great injustice” and stated that it was only due to former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s “unbalanced” views regarding Israel and his “deeply held animus toward the State of Israel.”

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, each of whom reviewed the classified intelligence reports about the Pollard case, have publically called for Pollard’s release.

Other prominent American leaders who have called for clemency for Pollard include Republican Senator John McCain, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. There have also been numerous bipartisan calls for Pollard’s release that have emanated from Congress and numerous former Senators.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Esther Pollard met at length with Peres and Netanyahu, accompanied by Lawrence Korb. Peres thinks it would be a “win-win” situation for both countries for the issue to finally be resolved and for Pollard to go free. ”As one who is often called upon to weigh clemency requests,” Peres said he would tell Obama, “President to President” to release Jonathan without delay, on humanitarian grounds.

Netanyahu indicated that “both the public struggle and behind the scenes diplomacy are legitimate means to achieve that end.” He too repeated his strong commitment to do everything possible “to seek Jonathan›s immediate release and repatriation to Israel.”

Korb said that given the information in the declassified report and in light of Pollard›s failing health, it was time to release him. Korb told Peres. “The new revelations are a game changer. Now that so many of the lies about the case have been cleared up, President Obama is in a much better position to respond positively to clear up this injustice.”

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