President Clinton, The FALN, And Jonathan Pollard - Editorial

The Jewish Press (NY) - August 20, 1999

We hope that those Jewish elected officials in Washington and organizational leaders who have stayed away from the Pollard issue will take a lesson from the Hispanic community. As has been widely reported, at the request of all members of the Hispanic Congressional delegation and others, President Clinton has granted clemency to 16 Puerto Rican separatists who bombed buildings, and committed armed robbery purportedly as part of an effort to secure the separation of Puerto Rico from the United States. The 16 were members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, of FALN, who carried out 130 bombings of various political and military targets in the United States from 1974 to 1983.

These were terrorists who deliberately put innocent people at risk of their lives and safety for their own reasons. Yet the Hispanic community had no hesitation to seek their release. They were not concerned with accusations of dual loyalty as some of our so-called leaders are with respect to the effort to free Jonathan Pollard. The Hispanic community felt that there was injustice in that the sentences were out of proportion to the crimes and acted accordingly.

Of course, one cannot help but noting that President Clinton acted in the context of First Lady Hillary Clinton's virtual Senate campaign. It could not have been lost on the President that the Hispanic vote is crucial in any election in New York State. So President Clinton found a way around the opposition of the FBI, CIA, and the Justice Department, to grant clemency to the FALN members - even as he claimed to be unable to do so with respect to the opposition of these agencies to the freeing of Jonathan Pollard some months ago.

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