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March 20, 2013 1:48 am

Obama, in Plea by 30 Jewish Groups, Asked to free Pollard Before 10,000th Day in Prison

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Jonathan Pollard. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

While President Barack Obama recently said he has no immediate plans to grant clemency to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, national Jewish organizations are maintaining their request for his timely release.

Thirty Jewish groups who are part of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday asked Obama to free Pollard, who is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally (Israel), before the “milestone” of his 10,000th day in prison arrives April 8.

“Among those who have called for [Pollard’s] release are former Director of the CIA, James Woolsey, former Undersecretary of Defense, Lawrence Korb, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and former Secretary of State, George Schultz,” Conference of Presidents Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein told Obama in a statement. “We add our voice to theirs, as we have in the past, to ask that you take the steps necessary to expedite the review process you have mentioned and to facilitate the release of Mr. Pollard in an act of both justice and humanity.”

Obama had told Israeli Channel 2 News last week, “I have no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately, but what I am going to be doing is to make sure that he is accorded the same kinds of review as others. I recognize the emotions involved in this. One of the strengths of the Israeli people is that you think about your people wherever they are.”

“As president my first obligation is to observe the law here in the U.S,” Obama said. “I need to make sure that every individual is treated fairly and equally.”

More than 200,000 people—including Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, former Hamas captive Gilad Shalit, and Jewish Agency for Israel head Natan Sharansky—have signed a petition asking Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence, and on Tuesday about 5,000 people demonstrated for Pollard’s release outside of Israeli President Shimon Peres’s residence in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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  • Why would anyone think Pollard should be reliesed? The man is a convicted spy! His handeler still isn’t allowed in the states. The Israeli government should think about things like this happening when they pay people to spy on the ONLY friendly nation on earth for them. He got off better than he deserved. He should have gotten the death sentance. Israel claims to be a friend to America; and as long as the money keeps coming in to them. They are some-what friendly. But Israel isn’t to be trusted! As proof; they pay Americans to spy for them. What kind of friend does that?

  • Shaunra

    Everyone who thinks the US is Israel’s ally is silly. America has its own interests at heart (though nowadays it is influenced by the Muslim world).

  • Parker

    “I need to make sure that every individual is treated fairly and equally.”

    And if you believe that I have bridges around the world to sell you for pennies on the dollar.