Letter from BB International Hon. President Tommy Baer to Esther Pollard
B' N A I B' R I T H I N T E R N A T I O N A L
February 4, 2003
2201 Libbie Avenue
Richmond, VA 23230
(416) 781 3166
Mrs. Esther Pollard
I have received a copy of your J4JP release of January 24, 2003, referring to James Besser's interview of Seymour Reich.
You may recall my intense advocacy on behalf of your husband when I was president of B'nai B'rith. You may also recall that I was one of the first, if not actually the first, American Jewish leader to visit Jonathan in jail, after which I announced that this could potentially become a "Dreyfus" case for America. You may further recall B'nai B'rith's consistent public position calling for the commutation of Jonathan's sentence on humanitarian grounds.
That leads me to your comments about Seymour, also a past president of B'nai B'rtith, whose statements I submit you have misinterpreted.
Seymour was the first Jewish leader to call for Jonathan's release or commutation. He, in fact, did speak directly with Presidents Clinton and George Bush, in addition to White House counsel. He was also the first to lead the B'nai B'rith effort in support of Jonathan. He also raised the issue with every Israeli Prime Minister from Shamir, with the exception of Sharon. I, too, spoke with Peres and Netanyahu during my term as president of B'nai B'rith and urged the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to take greater action. Both Seymour and I also took up the issue with the Israeli Embassy.
Although I applaud your efforts to keep this unjust matter in the forefront of the consciousness of both American and Israeli leaders, I respectfully suggest that it does not promote Jonathan's cause to lash out at those who are still attempting, under difficult and incredulous circumstances, to support Jonathan.
My prayers continue to be with you and Jonathan.
Tommy P. Baer
Honorary President of B'nai Brith International
Cc: James D. Besser
Seymour Reich, Honorary president of B'nai B'rith International
Joel Kaplan, President of B'nai B'rith International.
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