Reich Protests Clemency Denial, Slap in Face to Jewish Leaders
Even as Jewish leaders were meeting with President Clinton inside the White House, outside (unknown to them) his press secretary was announcing the president's denial of clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
Clinton did not bother announcing the denial to the Jewish leaders inside. After all, Jewish leaders did not place Pollard on their official agenda with Clinton, so he took advantage of this and did not feel obliged to inform them.
In his letter of protest below, Reich tries to mitigate the damage to Jewish leaders' prestige by insisting that had he been given a chance, he would have brought Pollard up with the President as part of the Question and Answer session.
AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT
110 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022 - 212 318 6100 - Fax 212 935 3578
March 25, 1994
President Bill Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President;
As a past Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and currently as President of the American Zionist Movement, I was pleased to be part of the group that met with you yesterday at the White House.
Your remarks in support of the State of Israel and your efforts with respect to the peace process were reassuring, and are appreciated by the American Jewish community.
Three members of the Conference of President [s] had the opportunity to express themselves and to raise questions, which you graciously answered. Had there been an opportunity for a fourth, Lester Pollack was prepared to call on me.
The purpose of this letter is to share with you what I would have verbalized had I next been called.
I would have expressed the deep disappointment of the overwhelming majority of those present and the American Jewish community for your denial of the application for commutation of Jonathan Pollard's life sentence.
For humanitarian reasons and in light of the request of Prime Minister Rabin we hoped for commutation and were disappointed by your decision. We would request when Pollard comes up for parole in September of 1995, your administration will again review the matter, and will be supportive of parole.
Thank you for your consideration.
Seymour D. Reich
Cc: Lester Pollack