Abner Mikva - Ignorance, Indifference or Expedience?

Justice4JP Release - October 17, 1994

Addressing The National Jewish Democratic Council recently, Abner Mikva, newly-appointed Counsel to the President, declared that he is less concerned about the principle of equal justice for all under the law, than he is about "the consequences of an overcrowded prison system."

The issue of equal justice for all under the law is at the heart of the worldwide appeals to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence. Jonathan Pollard is serving the longest, harshest sentence in the history of the United States for one count of passing classified information to an ally. The Pollard Case was termed "a fundamental miscarriage of justice" by Appeals Court Judge Steven Williams. Arnold Forster, former legal counsel to the Anti-Defamation League, refers to it as "America's Dreyfus Case".

Millions of people worldwide - dignitaries, celebrities, Nobel laureates, major organizations, chief rabbis, eminent clergy, law societies, legislators, city councils, even heads of state - have voiced their concerns to President Clinton, and called upon him to commute Jonathan Pollard's life sentence to time served.

That Judge Mikva considers a gross travesty of justice to be of lesser importance to the criminal justice system than overcrowding in prisons, suggests that he is either ignorant of the facts, indifferent to serious public outcry, or has been seduced by political expediency.

If Mr. Mikva is ignorant of the facts of the Pollard Case, it would have been prudent for him to refrain from raising the subject and rendering judgment.

If Mr. Mikva is not ignorant of the facts, then his attitude suggests an appalling indifference to the expressed concerns of millions of citizens worldwide.

And if neither of the above is true, then we are led to the inescapable conclusion that it is the deafening silence of American Jewish leadership - with whom Judge Mikva is closely associated - that gave him the green light to once again bury Pollard alive. The responsibility for setting Mr. Mikva straight rests squarely with American Jewish leaders.

In visits to Jonathan Pollard in prison, these same Jewish leaders have made strong promises to press for the immediate commutation of his sentence. It is time for these leaders to make good on their promises and to deliver a strong message to the American Administration that any further delay in commuting his sentence will not be tolerated.