Pollard Not on Jewish Leaders Agenda
As Bush Holds First Meeting With Jewish Leaders

Melissa Radler - Jerusalem Post - March 9, 2001

Justice4JP Note:

During the 8 years that President George W. Bush's predacessor was in office, leaders of the American Jewish community never once put Jonathan Pollard on the official agenda of any of their meetings with the president. When many of the same Jewish leaders recently met with President Bush, again there was no evidence of their concern for Jonathan Pollard, not as an official part of the agenda nor even in off the cuff remarks. For further information on the failure of the American Jewish leadership to effectively demonstrate interest in or concern for Jonathan Pollard, see the Clemency Page.

NEW YORK - In his first meeting with US Jewish leaders at the White House on Wednesday, President George W. Bush reaffirmed his support for Israel and his backing of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He also discussed faith-based initiatives and school vouchers.

Bush spoke to the representatives of 10 Jewish groups of his commitment to Israel's security and his policy on Iraq, sanctions, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the transfer of technology from Russia and North Korea to rogue nations, said an attendee.

On the domestic agenda, Bush answered queries concerning school vouchers, faith-based initiatives, the separation of church and state, and domestic terrorism.

According to an attendee, Bush spoke for nearly an hour, without notes.

After the meeting, some leaders were invited to a special White House screening of Varian's War, a film that details the life of Varian Fry, a New Yorker who defied the US government to help Jews flee Nazi territory.

"The president's views on many of the vital issues were very reassuring, and his answers about Israel showed real commitment to Israel's security," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

"He was certainly informed about the issues that we were concerned about," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "He opened with statements about Israel that were strong, supportive, and knowledgeable."

Harvey Blitz, president of the Orthodox Union, said that Bush explained his faith-based initiative to leaders concerned with the separation of church and state. "He's trying to find ways to address church-state concerns and keep the program going forward," he said. "He made an extremely positive statement on Israel. I really think he meant it."

"I think it was the beginning of an education process for the president and for him to make an impression upon a constituency that remains to be won over," said David Zweibel, Agudath Israel of America's executive vice president for government and public affairs. "There's no hiding that a number of Jews have problems with a number of his initiatives."

However, he said that Bush "did a good job because he does have certain interpersonal qualities that are effective in that type of relationship-developing initiative."

See Also

  • Clemency Page
  • Yediot Exposé: Using Pollard to Get Rich
  • An Unusual Snapshot of American Justice