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Apr 22, 2011

Jonathan Pollard Appeals To Obama To Commute his Sentence

It has now come to light that for the first time since Jonathan Pollard went to jail, he has written to a US president requesting a commutation of sentence.

Pollard wrote to Obama a letter that was hand-delivered by Israeli president Shimon Peres during his recent visit with Obama in Washington. In the letter Pollard expresses remorse and regret for what he did, and appeals to the president to commute his sentence to time served. he references those US officials, past and present, who support his release, his health, his wife's health, his regret, and US friendship and relationship with Israel. President Obama has yet to respond publicly to the request, or even to PM Benjamin Netanyahu's request a month ago.

From The Jerusalem Post:
“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,” Pollard wrote Obama.

“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.”

In the letter, Pollard unequivocally expressed remorse for his crime, as he has publicly and privately on numerous occasions and in various documents. He noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had also apologized on behalf of Israel.

“After serving more than a quarter 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,” Pollard wrote. “I am genuinely and sincerely sorry for the offense 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.”

Pollard raised the legal arguments for his release about his sentence being disproportionate, deferring to the opinion of experts who have written the US president, such as former CIA director James Woolsey, former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, who were aware of the contents of the classified material Pollard passed to Israel.

The Israeli agent also issued a personal appeal for himself, noting his own deteriorating health and that of his wife, Esther, who has been fighting cancer.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

Pollard concluded the letter by writing that “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.”

Esther Pollard expressed a deep sense of hurt and bewilderment on Wednesday at the lack of response by Obama to her husband’s letter and to the personal request by Peres to release her husband ahead of Pessah, the festival of freedom.

“Obama’s utter indifference to Peres’s request was very puzzling, but it has to be seen in context of the president’s indifference to all of the requests he has received to release Jonathan Pollard after 26 years in prison, not only from Peres and Netanyahu but also from ranking senior American officials,” she said.

“The president’s resounding silence in the face of all of these requests leaves no room for any doubt. Clearly it is nothing personal against Jonathan, but it is, without a doubt, a devastating slap in the face to Israel and Jews worldwide.”

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand why Pollard repeatedly mentions his view of Israel as his home. Doesn't that sort of cast his actions in a more treasonous light than if he acted as if he was an American who made a mistake?


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