Hillary Comes To The Aid Of Jonathan Pollard

The Jewish Press - Editorial - September 8, 2000

We welcome the news that Mrs. Hillary Clinton's timely intervention has enabled Jonathan Pollard to avoid being transferred to a dangerous unit in the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, where he is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. As we understand it, Pollard had been held in a relatively secure unit for his safety because of his high profile as a Jew and agent of Israel, but was to be transferred in the normal course because of budgetary reasons.

Apparently, the day after a meeting between Mrs. Clinton and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, arranged by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, at which she was importuned by both to call for clemency for Pollard, Mrs. Clinton was notified by Assemblyman Hikind of the impending transfer. Mrs. Clinton reportedly contacted federal prison officials and registered her concern and, according to Mr. Hikind, the transfer order was rescinded.

It is interesting that some have suggested that this was mere campaign grandstanding on Mrs. Clinton's part. One person even suggested to us that this was nothing but a straw man charade orchestrated by the Clinton campaign to allow her to appeal to the Jewish community. Given the timing of her intervention, this latter observation is implausible. But it, like the more general comment, reveals the depth of skepticism surrounding Mrs. Clinton's candidacy a scant two months before the election.

In truth, had Mrs. Clinton ignored the request to intervene, we would all have been on her case in a heartbeat. And we note that as far as we can tell, the reports of her action did not emanate from her campaign, but rather from those who had asked her to act.

So we take her gesture at face value and urge our readers to do the same. At the same time we note that both Mrs. Clinton and her adversary, Rick Lazio, have declined to take a public position on the broader question of freedom for Pollard. Mrs. Clinton continues to state that she has not yet come to a conclusion, while Mr. Lazio has said that he believes that it is the President's call to make.

This continues to be a great disappointment to us. We do not see this matter only as one of justice for an individual, as important as that is. Indeed, as we have often said in the past, Jonathan Pollard sits in federal prison under a life sentence - draconian under the circumstances because he spied for the Jewish State. Nor have there ever been so many glaring irregularities in the legal process as in Pollard's case. We will be watching to see if the candidates revisit this issue, which is of such concern to our community.

See Also:
  • Hillary Was Not Alone
  • Where Does Rick Lazio Stand?
  • Hillary Pulls Strings for Pollard
  • The Senate Race page