Young Israel Leadership Pushes for Release of Jonathan Pollard
October 7, 1996 - Press Release - National Council of Young Israel
The Rabbinic and lay leadership of the National Council of Young Israel recently met with Vice President Al Gore. Among the issues discussed was the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.
Rabbi Neil Winkler, of the Young Israel of Fort Lee, New Jersey, addressed the Vice President on this issue: "In 1948 a former haberdasher sat in the White House debating whether or not to recognize the fledgling State of Israel. Conventional political wisdom and State Department advice dictated that he not. But President Truman listened to the pleas of his former partner and became the first to recognize the Jewish state. When questioned why he ignored the words of his close advisors, and chose to recognize Israel, he responded: "Because it was the
right thing to do!"
"Mr. Vice President, we thank you for this opportunity to discuss with you those issues close to our hearts and those of the communities we represent. In this light, we would like to express the concern of our constituents - many strong supporters of the Democratic ticket - regarding the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard. We feel, unequivocally, that his confinement serves neither the interests of justice nor morality. It simply is
not the right thing.
"While not maintaining his innocence, we nonetheless feel that he has served more than adequate time as punishment for his crime. The lack of any trial to consider evidence, the maximum sentence passed - despite government assurances of clemency - gave many in our community the uneasy feeling that true justice is being denied.
"No one in the history of the United States found guilty of a comparable crime has ever served even one-half the time served by Pollard. Lighter sentences have been meted out to professional spies who worked for years supplying military information to the
adversaries of our country. Many of us wonder why the exception was made passing information to this staunch
ally in the Middle East.
"Mr. Vice President, we know that you share our Biblical passion for justice. Please relate our concern to President Clinton.
It is time to release Jonathan Pollard.
"Not because it is politically expedient.
Not because it will win votes.
But because it is
the right thing to do.
Contact: Rabbi Pesach Lerner
Phone: (212) 929-1525, ext. 115
Fax: (212) 727-9526
Jonathan and Esther Pollard applaud the principled position taken by The Young Israel, and appreciate their willingness to make their principled position public. We call upon
all Jewish organizations to issue similar public statements calling for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard.