Esther Pollard Responds to President Clinton's Alleged Comments

May 6, 1996 - Media Release

The following comments were made by Mrs. Jonathan Pollard in an interview with Kol Yisrael Radio, May 3, 1996. They were in response to a Kol Yisrael News Report (May 2, 1996) that President Clinton's refusal to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard is a direct consequence of the high-profile media campaign being run by Pollard's relatives and lawyers.

The quote stating that the activities of Pollard's relatives and supporters angered President Clinton was said to have occurred during discussions between Prime Minister Peres and President Clinton on the Prime Minister's last visit to the United States.

"I find it difficult to believe that President Clinton said such a thing. I find it extremely difficult to believe that the Government of the United States intends to continue the brutal and excessive punishment of my husband simply because they do not appreciate the activities or the behavior of my husband's relatives. The idea is absurd. In fact, it is ridiculous.

To those who would, nevertheless, insist that it is a true and that President Clinton did, indeed, make such a statement, I would answer as follows:

I cannot presume to speak for everyone. I can only speak for Jonathan and myself. I would like to point out that we have never run an intensive, high-profile media campaign in the United States -

only in Israel!

And that is because we have always known that it is the responsibility of the Government of Israel to secure Jonathan's release.

As far as the words or actions of any other individuals are concerned, there are only two people who are legally and officially authorized to speak on behalf of Jonathan. One is myself, and the other is Jonathan's attorney, Larry Dub. I can only answer for Jonathan and myself. Not for what others are saying or doing, unsupervised and unauthorized.

Moreover, the entire notion that President Clinton bases such a weighty matter on the behavior of my husband's relatives, is not only ridiculous but totally beside the point. My husband's release is based on two issues alone: the first is the issue of

equal justice

. Every American citizen is entitled to proportional justice, and Jonathan's harsh and excessive sentence is unprecedented in the history of the United States.

The second issue is the fact that Prime Minister Peres personally requested Jonathan's release from his dear friend, President Clinton, and Israel's closest ally. It is Mr. Peres' personal request that is the issue, not the behavior of Jonathan's relatives. Utterly ridiculous!"