Orthodox and Reform Joint Appeal

Rabbi Erich H. Yoffie
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
838 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Rabbi Raphael B. Butler
Executive Vice President
Orthodox Union
333 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY l000l

April 18, 1997

The President
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

In the noblest spirit of biblical teaching, we turn to you once again to ask that you grant mercy to Jonathan Pollard and commute his prison sentence.

We realize that you are familiar with his case and have considered such appeals in the past. Yet we - the representatives of the broadest spectrum of the American Jewish community - come together in the spirit of unity and out of a clear sense of fellowship and brotherhood as fellow Jews to raise Jonathan's plight with you once again.

Let us be clear. We do not condone the violation of the laws of the United States, nor do we contend that Mr. Pollard is innocent of the crime with which he was charged. We do, however, contend that a hallmark of American Justice is its consistent effort to "make the punishment fit the crime." Jonathan's sentence is grossly disproportionate to his crime and this can readily be seen in comparison with sentences given to others who have committed similar crimes. A life sentence for espionage has been meted out only to those who have committed such treason against the United States for the benefit of one of our sworn enemies. Jonathan, wrongly, disclosed secret information to one of the United States' most trusted allies. He has already more than served the time of a sentence imposed upon such offenders.

Our patriarch, Abraham, dared to argue with God over the fate of the wicked city of Sodom, contending that it would be "wrong for You to do such a thing" - to lump the righteous with the wicked in a wholesale fashion. Mr. President, we feel it is wrong for American justice to treat Jonathan Pollard, a contrite offender, as you would those who have committed high treason against our nation. We urge that you seek to right this wrong.

We thank you for your consideration.


(signed) Rabbi Eric Yoffie
Union of American Hebrew Congregations

(signed) Raphael B. Butler
Executive Vice President
Orthodox Union

  • See also: Reform and Orthodox Groups Unite On Pollard