Demonstrators hold signs of Jonathan Pollard as they attend a protest calling for his release. (Miriam Alster/Flash90) (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Pollard demo

Jonathan Pollard, a Jew and an Israeli, has again been denied parole by the US government. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the decision “crosses every moral boundary.”  

Eight former leading US security officials and statesmen sent a letter of protest to US President Barack Obama in which they blasted the “unjust denial of parole” for Jonathan Pollard and criticized the “deeply flawed” parole process.

Pollard submitted a request to be released under restricted conditions last week. However, American officials rejected the request, saying that freeing Pollard at this time would “constitute contempt for the severity of the offense and promote a lack of respect for the law.”

The letter of protest stated that the assertion that Pollard’s espionage “was the greatest compromise of U.S. security to that date” was a “patently false claim” that “is not supported by any evidence in the public record or the classified file.”

 

The letter was signed by former CIA director James Woolsey; former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini, David F. Durenburger, a former chair of  the Senate Intelligence Committee; former U.S. National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane; former assistant U.S. defense secretary, Lawrence J. Korb; Professor Angelo Codevilla, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer; former chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Lee Hamilton; and former White House counsel attorney Bernard W. Nussbaum.

All the signatories have first-hand knowledge of the Pollard case and the classified material pertaining to his incarceration.

Thirty Years for Spying for a Friend

Pollard, 60, who has just entered his 30th year in an American prison, was arrested by U.S. authorities in 1985 for spying for Israel and was later sentenced to life in prison.

Esther Pollard during a protest calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard near the US embassy Tel Aviv on February 23, 2014. (Photo: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Esther Pollard during a protest calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard near the US embassy Tel Aviv on February 23, 2014. (Photo: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

In recent years, numerous former U.S. government officials, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, have called for Pollard’s release, saying his punishment was disproportionate for the crime he committed – spying for a friendly country. Other American spies, who have even caused the death of Americans, have received shorter prison terms.

Last March, Pollard’s wife Esther, personally appealed to US President Barack Obama to free her husband.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) responded harshly to the board’s negative response, saying it “crosses every moral boundary:” “It seems to me that mercy has completely fallen off the ladder of [the US government’s] values,” Edelstein said.
The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard expressed shock and anger at the decision to prevent Pollard’s release. “The heart breaks at the thought that Jonathan will not be freed after 30 years in prison,” the committee said. “The denial of the request proves that the regular bureaucratic path will not lead to justice for Jonathan.”

The committee said Obama should use the right given to him by the US Constitution to cut short an inmate’s prison sentence “to redress the injustice” done to Pollard. “The regular procedure will not lead to this,” the committee stated.

Pollard has spent half his life in prison and his health has deteriorated significantly in recent years. He has required urgent medical treatment several times due to a life-threatening condition, and has undergone surgery to stabilize his health.

Tell us in the comments below: Do YOU think the American government should show Pollard clemency? Should Pollard be released? Why? 

Author: United with Israel Staff
(With files from IsraelHayom)