Pollard to Obama: Free Me for Pesach


pollardJonathan Pollard #09185-016, FCI Butner Butner, NC 27509

The Honorable Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Via Hand-delivery April 1, 2011

Dear President Obama: 

I am writing to you with faint hope in my heart as Jewish people the world over are preparing for Passover, the Jewish national holiday of freedom. With the help of President Shimon Peres, G-d willing, this letter will reach you personally.

I write to implore you, Mr. President, in the wake of numerous calls by senior American officials urging you to commute my sentence to time served, and in light of the official request by Prime Minister Netanyahu, to please send me home to Israel now, in time to celebrate my first Passover in freedom in 26 years.

After serving more than a quarter of a century in some of the harshest prisons in the American penal system, I have had a great deal of time to think and to regret. As you are likely aware, I have expressed remorse publicly and privately on numerous occasions and in various documents. Let me take this opportunity to do so once again and to state unequivocally that I am genuinely and sincerely sorry for the offense that I committed in passing classified information to Israel. My actions were wrong and I deeply regret that I did not find a legal way to act upon my concerns for Israel.

As part of an official appeal to you for my release made earlier this year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also apologized for the operation and expressed remorse on behalf of the State of Israel. I am grateful that the State of Israel has taken this step to assure the United States that such actions will never again be repeated.

As you are also aware, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, in recent letters to you, have indicated that my continued incarceration is unjust. I defer to their professional judgment, gratefully.

Similarly, I deeply appreciate the principled statement of former Secretary of State George Shultz, who wrote to you that the people who are best informed about the classified material that was passed to Israel favor my release. He referenced, Messers Woolsey, Deconcini and Michael Mukasey amongst them.

The prominent American leaders who have recently appealed to you to commute my sentence to time served (to whom I am also deeply indebted) include: US Former Vice President Dan Quayle, Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey; Former White House Legal Counsel Bernard Nussbaum; Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Head of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; Former Secretary of State George Shultz; Former Head of Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis Deconcini; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb; Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Former Deputy Attorney General Phillip Heymann; Republican Leader Gary Bauer; more than 500 American Religious and Communal Leaders of all denominations; Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree; Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr; Congressman Barney Frank along with 39 congressional colleagues; Homeland Security and International Security Adviser, former Congressman Lee Hamilton; Dr. Henry A. Kissinger; Senator John McCain; Congressman Michael Grimm; 100 New York State legislators; and the Reverend Pat Robertson. (A summary of “Notable Quotes” is attached for your convenience.)

A common theme expressed in these appeals concerns the disproportionate nature of my sentence. Again, I deeply appreciate the expert opinions which state that while I deserved to be convicted, my sentence is grossly disproportionate to the offense committed and that I have served far more time than others convicted of similar offenses. I defer to those officials named above who are far better qualified than I am to make the case on these issues.

For my part, I hope that my own personal appeal may touch your heart and elicit a compassionate, humanitarian response to my heartfelt request to be sent home to Israel for Passover, the holiday of freedom.

My devoted wife, Esther, whom I met and befriended as a teenager, has been faithfully doing everything she can to help me and to bring about my freedom. She has led the struggle for my release for 2 decades, sacrificing her life and her health in the process. She has also had to wage a relentless battle with cancer concurrent with her efforts on my behalf, without the help and support of a loving husband by her side. When she married me in prison years ago, she never imagined that after more than two decades the honeymoon she dreamed of would still be delayed. Mr. President, as much for her sake as for my own, I beseech you to please send me home now, to the first happy holiday that the two of us will ever have.

In a similar vein, after more than a quarter of a century in prison, 7 years in solitary, and much of the time in harsh conditions, my health has dangerously deteriorated. I am in dire need of medical attention and care.

In light of the above compelling health and family reasons, and with the principled support of so many senior American officials, I implore you to act expeditiously to commute the more than 25 years that I have already served in prison to time served.

My release in time to celebrate Passover at home in Israel with my beloved wife would be a welcome gesture of friendship to the Israeli people, an act of solidarity with a staunch and long-time ally of the United States, and a deeply compassionate and humane gift of life to my wife and me.


Jonathan Pollard

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Yonasan ben Malkah, all of Klal Yisrael must daven for you — and call the White House.
    Obama may conduct a so-called seder at the White House but this action would be much more significant.

  2. anti-semtism…………………. every other spy got less then 15years and always got let out early-but pollard is a diffrent story….. he helped a ally….. why is he still in jail?????? anti-semtism……

  3. If Pres. Obama spurns this request, he will have portrayed himself as truly heartless. His staff should wake him up to this. It might even eventuate into a plausible issue in his re-relection campaign, because many of his former voters are from a fundamentalist ethnic group who can feel embarrassed by such behavior.

  4. may he be released asap !!!!!!!!!!
    i feeel soooooo bad for him
    my heart goes out to him
    why cant obama just release him????

  5. Dont murderers get 8 to 12 years: i suppose some get life if it was premeditated etc. But minimum 8 years. Especially second degree murder. So here he is 25 years later for a crime that should have got MAXIMUM 3 years. purely anti semitism. I cant think o


  6. Every US president seems so hesitant to even give this a serious consideration.There is absolutely no logical reason why in light of all the above mentioned that he should not be freed.Its nothing more than hyteria and emotion surrounding this case that makes this (or any other previous)US president so scared to do what is right.Its really sad.