Since 1987—when Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison—the Jewish community and political leaders from across the spectrum have urged administration officials to release Pollard. In January of 2011, Benjamin Netanyahu was the first Israeli Prime Minister to formally issue a statement urging the US to grant Pollard clemency.
In 1993, the Hadassah National Board approved a policy statement stating, “Now therefore, be it resolved, that on humanitarian grounds Hadassah calls on the President of the United States to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time already served.” Earlier this year, Hadassah joined the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ call for humanitarian compassion to allow Jonathan Pollard to attend the funeral of his father.
A few weeks ago, Vice President Joe Biden mentioned to a group of rabbis in Florida that “President Obama was considering clemency [for Pollard], but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.’” In response, several Jewish community leaders have spoken out against Biden’s position and have urged him to reconsider.
Biden, while at a Rosh Hashanah reception at his residence, spoke with Jewish community leaders and agreed to arrange a meeting in the near future for an “open and frank discussion” about the issue, according to Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents.
Jewish community members and allies are also advocating for Pollard’s release through the White House’s new We The People online petition system. The White House has agreed to consider all petitions that reach 25,000 signatures by November 8, 2011. Click here to register for We The People and sign the petition Free Jonathan Pollard. Date: 10/10/2011 12:00:00 AM