Senator Moynihan Responds to "Reciprocity for Jonathan Pollard"

March 7, 1997 - The Jewish Press

The editorial to which Senator Moynihan responds, "Reciprocity for Jonathan Pollard," made the point that an important opportunity to secure the release of Mr. Pollard had been missed. We noted that President Clinton had applied enormous pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to arrive at an agreement on redeployment in Hebron, which, because of Arafat's insistence, had to include the release of some

30 terrorists

imprisoned for acts of violence against Jews, including four who were jailed for


. We said:

"What is disturbing to us is that Mr. Netanyahu did not insist that, if he is being asked to free unrepentant murderesses and attackers of innocent civilians,

the U.S. should also free the hapless Pollard

. After all, Pollard aided a U.S.


, and has been languishing in a federal prison for

12 years in solitary confinement!


We went on to chide MK Natan Sharansky for not using his key position in the Cabinet during the discussions over Hebron to lobby the Prime Minister to make Mr. Pollard's release an issue with President Clinton. We said that Mr. Sharansky knows full well the importance of such importunings.

Finally, we urged Senator Moynihan to take up the cudgels on behalf of Mr. Pollard. We said:

"As a senior United States Senator from the same party, Senator Moynihan is well positioned to get Mr. Clinton to appreciate the anomaly of

his continuing Jonathan Pollard's incarceration while urging the release of remorseless killers

and terrorists."

It is disappointing in that Senator Moynihan, in his response,

chose to ignore the real issue

. We do not appreciate his lecture about the nature of Mr. Pollard's crime. We were not suggesting that Mr. Pollard be given any medals because he spied for Israel. We were focusing on his motivation. And this is very relevant when his crime is contrasted with the cold-blooded acts committed by the 30 terrorists, for which they remain


, but who were nonetheless freed as a part of a political accommodation. Under the circumstances, we continue to believe that Mr. Pollard is entitled to at least the same treatment.

Indeed, Senator Moynihan's recitation of what he has tried to do for Mr. Pollard with the President, and his observation that the standard parole process rather that Presidential intervention may be the more appropriate avenue, is


. It indicates that he believes there is merit to Mr. Pollard's cause, but that he just doesn't want to be identified with it, much less do what a senior United States Senator can do to champion it.

And that is very sad, very instructive and worth remembering.

In this connection, it should be underscored that Mr. Pollard's cause does not repose one segment of the America Jewish community; it cuts across the broad spectrum of Jewry in New York State and nationally. Indeed, when Mr. Netanyahu was in Washington two weeks ago, Edgar Bronfman and Rabbi Alexander Schindler urged him to seek Mr. Pollard's release.

Simply stated, Jews, left, right and center, are rallying to this cause. It is long since past the time for the senior Senator from New York to get on board. After all, he has been consistently sent back to the United States Senate with approximately 90% of New York's Jewish vote.

  • Email, write or call Senator Moynihan.

  • See also:
  • The Pollards' response to Senator Moynihan's letter
  • Jonathan Pollard's response to "Reciprocity for Jonathan Pollard"