Pollard to Lapid: Opportunity To Help Me With Ashcroft Was Wasted

Justice4JP Release - March 31, 2003

To: Israeli Minister of Justice, Tommy Lapid
Date: March 31, 2003


From: Jonathan Pollard 09185-016
FCI Butner POB 1000
Butner, North Carolina
USA 27509-1000

Dear Tommy,

According to Kol Yisrael Radio News (03/30/03), you recently met with American Attorney General John Ashcroft in Washington and asked him to pardon me. Ashcroft responded that he could not.

Of course not! The American Attorney General has no authority to pardon anyone! Only the President can. By going to the wrong official, you have done my case immeasurable harm. This initiative merely broadcasts to the Americans, Israel's insincerity and indifference towards my release.

The fact that you made the request to A.G. Ashcroft without having bothered to consult with my attorneys and without learning anything about the merits of my legal case reinforces the American perception that my release is of no consequence to the Israeli Government.

My attorney, Larry Dub, asked to meet with you in Jerusalem BEFORE your trip to Washington in order to introduce you to my American attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman. Had you met them, Lauer and Semmelman would have briefed you on my new legal case. They would have told you that the most effective help that you could request from John Ashcroft would be to allow my attorneys access to the classified portion of my court docket. Even though Lauer and Semmelman have Top Secret clearances, the U.S. Government has been stonewalling their efforts to see the classified material.

Lauer and Semmelman would also have asked you to banish the word "pardon" from your vocabulary. I am not seeking a pardon. I am seeking commutation of my sentence. There is an important legal distinction.

What is more Tommy, If you were truly serious about helping me, you might even have asked Lauer and Semmelman to accompany you to the meeting with Ashcroft. Their command of my legal case is unparalleled and their presence would have strengthened your hand. The truth is the most compelling way to advocate for my release, and it is all there in black and white in my new legal filings. Instead an important opportunity was lost.

It has not escaped my notice that as a new Minister you undoubtedly cleared this mission with Prime Minister Sharon, who apparently gave his blessing to an initiative that he surely knew was futile.

Nevertheless, even after you failed with Ashcroft, you could have sustained an American initiative had you, even at that point, met with my attorneys and asked them for input and direction. You could have come to see me. Instead you went to the media. That was, of course, the surest way to kill any further initiative on my behalf.

The Americans are not fools. They understand that this was about Israeli domestic politics, not about securing my release. They know that if Israel had any serious intent, then intensive efforts would be on-going at all levels of the Government in all of Israel's contacts in the U.S., and not a word would be breathed to the media until success was achieved. This has been the modus operandi in every other case where Israel successfully secured the release of her agents, whether it was Jordan, Cyprus or Switzerland. Only in my case has this NEVER been done.

Kol Yisrael's publicizing of your "effort" with Ashcroft is consistent with 18 years of Israeli government-controlled media trumpeting phony initiatives on my behalf; explaining that the Americans just can't release me; strongly implying that it must somehow be my fault; and obliquely suggesting that I deserve to remain in prison. It troubles me, Tommy, that as the new Minister of Justice, you participated in this dishonorable Government agenda.

The missed opportunity with Ashcroft is now history. Tommy, if you are sincere and you really mean to help me, then as Israel's Minister of Justice, there is something that you can do. Something that is within your own power to act upon. No need to go to the Americans. You have repeatedly expressed your faith in the law, in man-made law that is. With that in mind, I ask what you propose to do about the following:

My last BAGATZ (Supreme Court lawsuit) against the Government of Israel was filed in 1999. I sued the Government for completely failing to discharge its moral and legal and financial obligations to me as an Israeli agent. The Government responded that it was well aware of its moral, legal and financial obligations, including the obligation to seek my immediate release and it promised the court that it would do so. It never did. In fact, even after making those promises in writing to the Court, the Government never even attempted to contact me or my representatives!

Months later, the Supreme Court handed down its Decision on the BAGATZ without ever verifying whether or not the Government was in compliance. Instead, the Court expressed its confidence in the Government's promises to fulfill all of its obligations to me as an Israeli agent - including seeking my immediate release and providing full financial support for me and my wife. The Court then dismissed the case.

In all the years since, the Government has not lived up to a single one of its promises to Court. In fact, it has never even made the slightest effort to discharge any of its responsibilities to me. It goes without saying that we have never received a cent from the Government, nor has there ever been a serious initiative for my release. Instead there have been additional betrayals.

As the Minister of Justice, it is within your power to hold the Government responsible, and to make the Court's assumptions as expressed in its Decision have the power of law - as they were in fact intended. My attorneys and I look forward to your immediate personal intervention and are prepared to work with you to expedite this matter. I have already waited 18 years. May I hear from you this week?

Stay well.

Jonathan Pollard

P.S. My wife is in Jerusalem and she looks forward meeting with you at the earliest opportunity. She can be contacted via Attorney Larry Dub.

cc Larry Dub
Eliot Lauer
Jacques Semmelman

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