Mark Green: Time To Free Pollard

July 31, 1998 - Adam Dickter - The New York Jewish Week
On The Issues: The 98 Statewide Candidates - 5th In A Series

As a public-interest lawyer, consumer affairs commissioner and public advocate of New York, Mark Green has a track record of working on Jewish issues, from advocacy of German reparations for East bloc Holocaust survivors abroad to kosher-food price protection in New York. In his second bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Green is advocating for Jonathan Pollard, the former naval intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

Green recalled a phone call to his office two years ago from Pollard in prison. "We struck up a conversation and a relationship, and I became persuaded that he had committed a serious crime that he seriously regretted, and that people in roughly comparable circumstances had served far less time. It doesn't set any bad precedent to release him. "Who else would do what he did, knowing they would get at least 12 years? I believe in deterrence, not torture."

At the time, Green wrote President Clinton to express those sentiments. This week, Green wrote to National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, his former roommate at Harvard Law School, calling for his help in securing Pollard's release.

"[Berger] is a good friend, and I try not to bother him except on matters I feel very strongly about," said Green in an interview with Jewish Week reporters. "I expressed my firm belief that enough is enough, and his sentence should now be commuted to time served."

Green has been an impressive vote-getter throughout his political career, winning more votes in his 1997 re-election than anyone on the ballot. He won the 1986 Democratic primary for Senate against John Dyson, only to lose to Alfonse D'Amato in the general election. This year, with about $1.1 million on hand, he lags behind D'Amato and primary opponent Rep. Charles Schumer in funds, and behind Geraldine Ferraro in the polls.

But Green insists things will swing his way by the Sept. 15 primary. "In the last month of the primary when there will be a ton of free media attention and paid media ads by me, I will be able to tell voters I'm the activist on their side and win," Green told The Jewish Week...