Gore Cops Out on Pollard Case
Marvin Greisman - The Jewish Press - January 7, 2000
Recently, when Vice President Al Gore came to Orthodox Brooklyn to
campaign for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, he simply
copped out when asked about Jonathan Pollard. One observer told the
Jewish Press that "Gore was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the
Jewish community when addressing his position on the Pollard matter," a
red hot issue of grass-roots Jews nation-wide. "He (Gore) just took a
pass on the issue and straddled the fence."
According to Gore, the key to clemency for Pollard rests with the
President, and Clinton can only act on the matter if the U.S. Justice
Department gives him the green light. When a Pollard supporter asked
the Vice President about his position on the matter, Gore tried very
hard to skirt the issue. As an anxious audience of Jewish supporters of
the Vice President awaited a positive or at least a hopeful response on
the matter, Gore said that, "my position on the Jonathan Pollard case is
that it should be handled through the appropriate legal channels, and
only the President of the United States can act upon a petition for
He quickly added: "The President should do so only upon a recommendation
from the Justice Department."
The observer noted that, "the U.S. Justice Department under Reno has
been a Justice Department riddled with politics, more than any of the
Justice Departments in previous administrations. Politics is their
guideline to making decisions, to appointing special prosecutors when it
suits their purposes, and rejecting them when it does not."
While some say that the Pollard issue is not the only issue in the next
presidential election, the observer stressed that "perhaps it would be a
step in the right direction if President Clinton ruled on the merits of
the case by granting Pollard his long overdue clemency. That way,
Pollard would cease to be a political football, and candidates like the
Vice President, Bradley and others would not be obliged to continue to
do their political dance affecting the life of a person who should be
finally granted his freedom, especially where he has shown remorse."
The observer also noted that Clinton was moving in the right direction
when, as part of the Wye agreement, Clinton promised Netanyahu that
Pollard would be given his freedom. But like many other U.S. promises,
the promise to grant freedom to Pollard was denied..
He also stressed that Gore should know better when speaking about
decision making in the Justice Department with regard to Pollard.
Consistently through the years, the U.S. Justice Department has made
recommendations that commutation be denied. "And I am sure that Reno's
people have not changed their minds on the matter since the last
rejection of commutation."
The observer charged that campaign contributions to the Gore effort by
American Jews continue unabated although this administration has shown
hostility in freeing Pollard. "These contributions to Gore's campaign
should cease and maybe then the Vice President will understand that
American Jews care deeply about Pollard's dire circumstances and seek
his immediate release with no strings attached.
See also: Nice Try Mr. Gore, But Clintonisms Won't Work