With President Obama set to make his first visit to Israel as President on March 20th amidst a groundswell of support for Jonathan Pollard’s release, now is the time to call the White House and urge the President to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served. Next month, on April 8, 2013, Jonathan Pollard will have spent 10,000 long and lonely days in prison.
Although the “Call for Clemency Campaign” is an initiative of the National Council of Young Israel, it is supported by Jews throughout the United States, as evidenced by the growing calls for President Obama to commute Pollard’s prison sentence. There has been a flurry of activity in recent weeks relative to the plight of Jonathan Pollard, as 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.
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 AM and 5:00 PM EST at 202-456-1414.
Everyone is urged to participate in this national grassroots effort starting today, by calling the White House and urging President Obama to free Jonathan Pollard. Tell the President that releasing Jonathan Pollard would end an injustice. Please encourage your family and friends to call today.
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 the revelations stemming from the 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. It is unethical for the government to say he violated the plea agreement to obtain a harsher sentence for Pollard without throwing out the terms of the agreement that were beneficial to the government. Further, such actions by the government is a disincentive for others giving classified information to plea bargain because of their lack of confidence that the government would comply with their promise concerning what sentence the plea bargainer would receive. 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.
During a visit to Israel with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last month, National Council of Young Israel President Farley Weiss raised the issue of Pollard’s release publically with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, drawing applause from his fellow Jewish leaders when he did so.
In just one month, an online Israel-based petition calling on President Obama to free Jonathan Pollard has garnered over 120,000 signatures. The petition will be hand-delivered to the President when he arrives in Israel on March 20th.
The major decision makers who were intimately involved in the Pollard case and who were most informed on the impact of Pollard’s actions 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 at the time 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.”
In addition, 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.
In addition, some of the 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, former Vice President Dan Quayle, 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.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, and Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum have come together to issue a strong and unified appeal for Jonathan Pollard’s release,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “The National Council of Young Israel echoes their plea and wholeheartedly endorses the Israeli government’s calls for clemency for Jonathan Pollard. After nearly 10,000 days, it would be completely unjust for Jonathan Pollard to spend even one more day in prison. We need to let the White House know that American Jewry stands firmly behind Israel’s calls for Pollard’s release.”
Call President Obama today at 202-456-1414 and ask him to free Jonathan Pollard.