The goal was to return a son to his father. With that in mind, the largest pro-Jonathan Pollard Rally to date took place in Manhattan on June 21 - Father's Day.
Over 3,000 people gathered to hear high-profile speakers declare their support for the imprisoned naval intelligence analyst and urge for the commutation of Pollard's sentence to time served.
Keynote speakers included television evangelist Pat Robertson, Nobel Prize winner Prof. Eli Wiesel and Jonathan's personal rabbi, Avi Weiss. Their Rally speeches were rebroadcast publicly to thousands and related, in part, to millions more in subsequent news articles published worldwide.
In a three part series, The Bulletin carries in full the memorable speeches made by three key dignitaries.
By Pat Robertson
We're here today in support of justice. And we're also here to let the powers that be in our nation hear a cry of rage from our lips at the injustice THAT HAS BEEN DONE TO JONATHAN POLLARD.
I have been many times to the state of Israel, 15 or more. Our organization maintains a television station on the border of Israel, just north of Metullah, in Southern Lebanon.
Our staff has been with their Israeli friends in Kiryat Shmona and also Metullah when incoming rounds have come across the border from various of the terrorist groups in the Arab world. The station that we have has been car bombed twice, it has been the victim of Ketushya rocket attacks from Syrian communists at least once.
I happen to know that between Damascus and Tel Aviv by high speed jet is about 60 seconds. Between Damascus and Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is certainly no more than a minute-and-a-half or two minutes.
That little nation, Israel, has its fate hanging in the balance, every minute of every day.
And there's something else we should understand about Israel. In my opinion-and I've travelled to well over 50 nations and sat with the heads of state of a number of them-Israel is the strongest friend the United States has in the world.
It is the only democracy existing in the Middle East in that entire part of the world. It is the only outpost of what we would call Western Civilization or Western Culture.
It has been a strong ally every since its inception in 1948 and we, as Americans, have received countless pieces of intelligence information from Israel, the most notable of which resulted after what was called Operation Northern Galilee, when American weapons in Israeli hands and were used against Soviet weapons in Syrian hands and we gained an incredible wealth of information from our Israeli friends.
There was never any suggestion that there should be some wall between Israel and the United States, because we shared common aims for justice, for liberty, for democracy and for freedom of all people.
And here comes a young man, a brilliant scholar, a dedicated American and a man who was dedicated to the preservation of freedom in the Middle East, to realize that the Iraqis were not only developing nuclear weapons, but also developing poison gas facilities which had been used against their Kurdish minority.
He also was aware of some of the buildup in Syria and he felt, in the interest of Israel and the United States, that that information should be shared even as there had been common sharing in the past.
But something happened in our government and I, for one, as an outside observer, can't understand it. What were we trying to cover up? Were we ashamed that the foreign policy of America had been tilted on behalf of that butcher of Baghdad, is that the problem?
Why was there such a sentence imposed on this gentleman and why did the attorney involved break a solemn plea bargain agreement which has the force of a contract? But it was violated.
My organization was very intimately involved with the John Walker spy case, as a matter of fact.
The story was really broken though the daughter of Walker and that is how the FBI learned about it. If it hadn't been for our organization, they wouldn't have known about Walker. Walker, systematically, for roughly 15 years, gave the most highly classified information about the naval formations, the naval codes and the naval capacity of our Atlantic fleet to our announced enemy, the Soviet Union., He committed treason and he did it for money, not for noble reasons.
And yet, by his sentence, I think, he will be eligible for parole after about six years in prison. (Editor's note: as of web-posting July 2001: Michael Walker went free last year. Jonathan Pollard remains in prison.)
This was the most flagrant violation.
And many of your who live in New York, remember a recent exchange where Col. Abel from the Soviet Union, who was thought to be the head of the KGB in America, was exchanged for American secret agents-with no prison and no penalty whatsoever. He was allowed to return to his own nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am outraged at this miscarriage of justice in relation to Jonathan Pollard. This is too severe a sentence.
Personally, corporately and privately, I am a man who upholds the laws of the United States. I believe that we should have streets that are free from crime and violence. I believe that we should have a drug-free, crime-free school environment. I believe that habitual criminals should be locked up. I'm not somebody who is not in favor of law enforcement.
But every time there is a miscarriage of justice in our system it will eat like a cancer at the credibility of the rest of the system of justice that we love in this country.
And isn't it-I don't know if you can use the term-poetic justice, that the man (Weinberger) who called for stiff sentence and asked for the Justice Department to violate their sworn contract is now, himself, the victim of the arbitrary independent prosecutor?
Father Drinan, before this meeting, said, "What would the Evangelical Christians feel if President Bush commuted the sentence of Pollard?" I said, "The Evangelical Christians in America would be thrilled to hear it! Anything that favors Israel, they're in favor of!"
So, speaking for myself and millions of others who share my point of view, I'm here in support of this cause and I would like to make a fervent call now t to the president of the United States of America:
"George Bush, commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to the time he has already served!"
My best wishes are with you, with this distinguished chemist (Dr. Morris Pollard) we have heard-and with Jonathan Pollard. And I say to each of you, thank you and G-d bless you very much!
Next Week: Rabbi Avi Weiss