Letter: Lookstein Blasts NJCRAC's Counter-Productive Resolution

March 3, 1994

Mr. Kenneth Bandler
443 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-7322

Dear Mr. Bandler:

I just received the resolutions adopted at the NJCRAC meeting in New Orleans. It is too bad that the one issue on which the NJCRAC resolution might have had an effect is the one which was treated with so much neutrality as to be, in essence, counterproductive. I refer, of course, to the pareve letter that it was decided should be sent to President Clinton.

Fortunately, the Pollard case has a wall-to-wall coalition of Jewish organizations - religious, secular - and everything in between - which has made the simple point that Pollard has suffered sufficiently and deserves to be pardoned. It really is too bad - actually, a shame - that the overall Community Relations Council for the Jewish people stands aside on this issue. Did anybody in your organization ever hear of the principle of "Do not stand idly by while your brother's blood is spilled?" What kind of a resolution says that "If the President determines that the sentence was inappropriate, he could reduce the sentence or commute it to time served?" Are you really giving the President permission to do what he thinks is right?

If the whole thing were not so sad it would be positively funny. Unfortunately, it is sad because your action - or inaction - together with a similar stand - or lack of same - by ADL, Congress and the United Synagogue prevents total unanimity among the Jewish organizations on this issue. If we had total unanimity the President might indeed do what is right and what is fair. In the absence of that unanimity the President probably will not act, and we will know where the blame lies.

Please feel free to communicate the contents of this letter to Jerome Chanes who was good enough to contradict me in public - as printed in the Jewish Week a couple of weeks ago - after I tried to convey to Janet Reno the unanimity of the Jewish community on this issue. For an example of that unanimity, please see the enclosed ad. To the best of my knowledge, no issue in the Jewish community has ever gained such virtual, universal support.

Very cordially yours,

Haskel Lookstein


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