FOIA Doc: March 10, 1987 Statement of Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations
After Pollard is Sentenced to Life March 4, 1987
J4JP Release - November 19, 2002
The following press statement was recently obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It was released to the media
6 days after Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life. See the
J4JP Comment below.
Statement by Morris B. Abram, Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on the Pollard Affair - March 10, 1987
The espionage activity for which Jonathan Pollard was justly sentenced was a serious crime and should never have taken place.
I am also deeply concerned by the public perception of the official treatment accorded Colonel Sella and Rafael Eitan, and will raise these concerns with the proper authorities next week during a visit to Israel.
The State of Israel, through its then Prime Minister Shimon Peres, apologized to the highest levels of the United States government for an unauthorized operation. The Pollard activities were inexcusable and offend all Americans.
I know that relations between the US and Israel, two democracies whose vital interests are intimately linked, are strong enough to weather this deplorable incident. Israel needs America. America needs Israel. This interdependence will and must be the overriding consideration binding the two countries in their common devotion, to freedom, to justice and to human dignity.
This March 10, 1987 statement by Morris Abram on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations put its seal of approval on the grossly disproportionate sentence of life which was meted out to Jonathan Pollard only 6 days earlier. It assured the American government that it could do as it pleased with Pollard without fear of protest from the Jewish community and its leadership.
The statement which insists that Pollard was "justly sentenced" takes no note of the fact that that Pollard received his life sentence in complete violation of a plea agreement which Pollard honored and the government violated. It also makes no mention of the false charge of
treason that was leveled at Pollard by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in his last-minute memorandum to the sentencing judge.
By falsely accusing Pollard of treason, Weinberger was attempting to create a de facto legal redefinition of Israel as an enemy state. From the time that Pollard was sentenced in 1987 right up to this very day, none of his security-cleared attorneys have been permitted to access the Weinberger Memorandum in order to challenge it in a court of law.
In all the ensuing years there has never been any protest from the Conference of Presidents - or any other major Jewish organization - about the government's blatant violation of Jonathan Pollard's constitutional rights, about his grossly disproportionate sentence, or about his unusually harsh treatment. To this day, the issue of Jonathan Pollard has never been on the official agenda of Jewish leaders in any of their meetings with the White House. On November 21, 2002, Jonathan Pollard begins his 18th year of a life sentence with no end in sight.