Malcolm Hoenlein Response to Esther Pollard

Posted to Web May 7, 2001

Justice4JP Note:

See Esther Pollard's March 22, 2001 letter to Malcolm Hoenlein which generated this response.
See also Esther Pollard's April 15, 2001 Response to this letter.

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

March 27, 2001

Mrs. Esther Pollard
Via Fax

Dear Esther

I appreciate you writing so that I can correct some of the misinformation or misunderstandings regarding the Conference's activities.

As I told you when we met, albeit briefly, we were committed to continuing our efforts to gain Jonathan's release.

First, before Leon Levy became chairman, Lester Pollack and I went to Butner to visit Jonathan. As you may know, prior to that, Seymour Reich visited Jonathan twice in Marion and as chairman, Seymour was and remains today, deeply committed to Jonathan's cause. Indeed Seymour has written several letters to the New York Times on behalf of Jonathan, all of which have been printed. They, as did every chairman during my tenure, raised this matter during White House meetings. While we did not always issue press releases, we sought public and private opportunities to speak about Jonathan with the President, Vice President and other relevant officials.

During the last months of the Clinton administration we wrote the President several times, and spoke often to White House officials. On December 23rd, I went to the White House to raise Jonathan's case directly with the President. In my conversation with him and Mrs. Clinton, I was told the review had just been completed and he was considering it. We pressed the issue in correspondence and phone calls thereafter. As I hope you know, we wrote on behalf of the full Conference several times and the co-chairs of our Pollard Committee, Ronald Lauder and I sent additional correspondence. We also spoke about this in many press interviews.

During the recent meeting with President Bush we did raise Jonathan's case in private. The meeting was to deal with domestic issues exclusively, but was diverted a bit by the President who recounted his just-concluded conversation with Prime Minister Sharon. Some of the group had an additional opportunity to see the President a bit later that day.

We understand the concern, frustration and disappointment you feel. But it does not advance Jonathan's case to make assertions or level criticisms that are not correct. As I told Rabbi Lerner and you, we will be pleased to meet with Jonathan's attorneys.

Sincerely yours,

Malcolm Hoenlein
Executive Vice Chairman

Cc: Phil Baum
Seymour D. Reich
Ronald S. Lauder
Rabbi Pesach Lerner

See Also:
  • Esther Pollard's April 15, 2001 Response to this letter
  • Esther Pollard's Original Letter to the Conference (March 22, 2001)