Former US Deputy National Security adviser Elliott Abrams came out in support of releasing jailed American Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in an exclusive interview with i24News on Thursday.
The statement comes in the wake of a tide of support from an increasing number of former US officials who have called for Pollard’s release. Pollard, a former US Navy analyst, was convicted of passing secrets to Israel and has served 28 years in jail. Successive US administrations have rejected Israeli requests to free him.
“I don’t think he’s a hero,” Abrams told i24, “but the way to judge it is by the normal treatment like other cases of espionage and it’s hard to find someone – particularly in the case of a friendly country – that has been imprisoned for 29 years.”
“I think that here is a just and a humanitarian case for his release,” Abrams said.
Just last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud party’s Knesset faction that Pollard, “should have been released a long time ago.” It was reported that Netanyahu was going to condition future peace negotiations with the Palestinians on Pollards release.
In an interview to the Jerusalem Post in 2009, Abrams had refused to back Pollards clemency, saying, “There are details of his case that have always made his release problematic, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”