What's next for the campaign to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard?

On November 21, 2008, Jonathan Pollard entered the 24th year of his life sentence, with no end in sight. Mr. Pollard's life sentence is disproportionate even when compared to the sentences of those who spied for America's enemies, not withstanding those, like Mr. Pollard, convicted for spying for America's allies.

Pres. George Bush's having declined to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence, must Mr. Pollard suffer a minimum of 4 more years dreaming of clemency from a potentially out-bound President Obama?

Eric Sherby, vice-chair of the Middle-East Law Committee of the American Bar Association, writes a Jerusalem Post OpEd, "The Pollard Case after Bush":
Despite thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of phone calls, e-mails and letters to the White House from Pollard sympathizers, the Bush Administration never even hinted that it might be softening its no-pardon/no-commutation stance as to Pollard.

Now what?

The beginning of a presidency is never "pardon season," and that fact would appear to mean that Jonathan Pollard will be in prison until 2012 at least.

Yet there is one ray of hope. The new American vice president, Joe Biden, had, until early 2008, been a presidential candidate. In Biden's presidential candidate days, while he was trying to court the Jewish vote, he was asked about Jonathan Pollard. Biden responded that Pollard should be given "leniency." What precisely did Biden mean by "leniency" in the case of Jonathan Pollard - who has already been in prison for more than two decades? Apparently he was not asked to elaborate.

Now that the Bush presidency has ended, it is time for the new vice president to explain what he meant by leniency.

How, and by whom, should that question be posed to Vice President Biden? By President Shimon Peres.
(Click Read More below for full article.)

Many individuals believing that presidential clemency should be granted for Mr. Pollard's more than 23-years of time-served in Federal penitentiary have petitioned the White House with letters and phone calls.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Vice President of the American organization, National Council of Young Israel, gives a compelling video overview of the situation at hand. (Courtesy Maximum Impact Media)

(Handcuffed human-chain rally in Jerusalem in 2004 comemorating Jonathan Pollard's 20th-year of disproportionate captivity in American prison).
Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard, explained Jonathan's plight in this interview with Hebrew newspaper, "First Place," in January 2007.  Please click "Read More" to read full article.
The information that Jonathan provided to Israel included Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities - all being developed for use against Israel. He also provided information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on up-coming terrorist attacks planned against Israeli civilian targets.
To sign the Free Pollard Now petition please click this link.
Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries. But the information was deliberately being withheld from Israel as the result of an illegal intelligence embargo implemented by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and former Deputy Director of the CIA Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, whose pro-Arab tilt did not jibe with declared US foreign policy.

Instead, successive Governments of Israel have routinely exploited Jonathan's name and his plight, using it as a sweetener to sell unpopular unilateral concessions to the Israeli public. But when crunch time comes, Jonathan is always dropped from every deal and painful unilateral concessions to the enemy are made regardless. (Some examples include the Hebron Accords, the Wye Accords, and most recently the Disengagement from Gaza and northern Samaria).

In Washington it is an open secret that Jonathan's sentence is grossly disproportionate and purely political. This was confirmed in a 2002 interview with former Secretary of Defense, the late Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger openly admitted that Jonathan's case was a "minor matter" that had been exaggerated out of all proportion to serve another political agenda. The opening that this admission created to secure Jonathan's release was totally ignored.

Similarly Dennis Ross, the former US Special Envoy to the Middle East, stated in his book "The Missing Peace" (published in 2004) that Jonathan deserves to be freed unconditionally. Nevertheless, writes Ross, Pollard is far too valuable as a bargaining chip against Israel, so he advised the president at Wye not to release him. Still no response from Israel.

In point of fact, Israel has already "paid" for Jonathan's release several times over (including freeing 750 murderers and terrorists with blood on their hands as part of the Wye Accords), but has never bothered to collect its due.

In the 22 years that Jonathan has been in prison, he has repeatedly been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and severe affliction. The Government of Israel has been informed of each and every episode of mistreatment of its agent but has never once intervened on his behalf, nor has the (Israeli) Government ever protested.

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