Why Did Sen. Torricelli Cancel His Trip To Visit Jonathan Pollard?
Susan L. Rosenbluth - The Jewish Voice and Opinion: July 1998 Issue
For a few weeks in May, it seemed as though Jonathan Pollard was going to
receive a long-promised Senatorial visit. Through the efforts of Robert
Rogoff of Passaic, Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) was planning a trip to Mr.
Pollard's prison in Butner, North Carolina, along with his long-time
supporter Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood and Holocaust scholar Elie
At the end of May, the prisoner's hopes were dashed. For some reason that
is not at all clear, Mr. Torricelli insisted on bringing to the meeting two
reporters who Mr. Pollard and his wife, Esther, had reason to suspect would
do them damage in the press.
When the Pollards begged the Senator to choose other journalists to report
on their meeting, Mr. Torricelli declared that he would not visit Mr.
Pollard at all.
Why the Insistence?
Neither the Pollards nor Mr. Rogoff have any idea why Mr. Torricelli
seemed so insistent on bringing Tim Wiener of the New York Times and Peter Pearl of the Washington Post.
According to Mrs. Pollard, her husband is aware that these two journalists
are hostile and have an agenda that is harmful to Jonathan's best
When Mr. Rogoff tried to intervene, a spokesman in Mr.
Torricellis office informed him that any harm these journalists will do
will be outweighed by the good that Sen. Torricelli can do.
Mrs. Pollard said that contention is not legitimate. Why would anyone ask
Jonathan to incur any amount of harm in order to receive the Senator's help?
By insisting on these two journalists, the Senator is asking Jonathan to
put himself in harm's way, she said.
She did not deny that her husband is desperate for help. But not at a cost
that is so great that he must harm himself in the process, she said.
Late last month, in an effort to try to convince Mr. Torricelli to
reconsider, Mr. Rogoff called his office and was told to bring staffers a
list of acceptable journalists. But Mrs. Pollard explained that David
Twersky, editor of the New Jersey Jewish News, and the Israeli Embassy had
already given the Senator such a list. Mrs. Pollard asked Mr. Rogoff to
assure Mr. Torricelli that her husband would gladly accept his choice of
any two other journalists suggested.
According to a spokesman for Mr. Torricelli, the senator was not currently
considering making the trip to Butner because of the "pre-conditions
insisted on by the Pollards." Asked if there had been any other
stipulations besides finding other neutral journalists, the spokesman said
the office would have no comment.
According to Mrs. Pollard and Mr. Rogoff, there were no other
Note: The Pollards' concerns were vindicated in short order. On July 5,
1998 the Washington Post published a devastating article on the Pollard
Case which Jonathan Pollard characterized as "lies, lies, and more lies."
This twisted piece of yellow journalism was authored by Peter Perl, one of
the journalists that Senator Toricelli insisted must accompany him as a
precondition to visiting Jonathan Pollard.