Mubarak Zings American Jewish Leaders on Pollard Injustice

Source: The Jerusalem Post
J4JP Release - April 16, 2004

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recently zinged American Jewish leaders with a reminder that they should be more concerned about an injustice in their own country, Jonathan Pollard, than with the issue of Azzam Azzam. When asked by Jewish leaders "What about Azzam Azzam," Mubarak shot back,"What about Jonathan Pollard!"

The Jerusalem Post* (04/15/04) reported:

"Representatives from nine Jewish groups met with Mubarak at Egypt's request in Houston Wednesday afternoon (04/14/04) following the Egyptian leader's visit with President George W. Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch earlier this week.... When someone raised the issue of Israeli Druze Azzam Azzam, who is imprisoned in Egypt on charges of spying for Israel, Mubarak, said a participant, told the leader to talk to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

"He immediately shot back 'What about [convicted US spy for Israel] Jonathan Pollard,'

then smiled in a way [indicating] that he was not taking the issue seriously," said the participant."

The zing was completely lost on American Jewish leaders, whose indifference to the plight of Jonathan Pollard, now in his 19th year of incarceration in an American prison, is an open secret. Clueless, Jewish leaders interpreted Mubarak's stinging reply as "[indicating] that Mubarak was not taking the issue seriously,".*

The irony that Pollard's name was brought up, not by Prime Minister Sharon who met with President Bush on the same day, and not by Jewish leaders, but by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was not lost on Jonathan and Esther Pollard when this news item was shared with them today. Asked if Jonathan was surprised that Mubarak "immediately shot back 'What about Jonathan Pollard...'", Esther Pollard said he was not. "It is no secret that the Egyptians link the fate of Azzam Azzam to that of Jonathan", she said.

A Justice4JP release, (Update on Pollard and the Prisoner Releases), July 7, 2003, memorialized this issue. Here is an excerpt from that release:

"This week the Pollards received confirmation from an independent source that President Bush's repeated request to Egypt's Mubarak to free Azzam Azzam has effectively linked the fate of the two prisoners. Mubarak, the Pollards were told, made it clear to Bush, "The U.S. must first free its own Israeli prisoner, Pollard."

The first indication of a link between Pollard and Azzam Azzam was observed at the 1998 Wye Summit. Reliable reports, which also surfaced in the media quoting "high ranking officials at the Summit," indicated that a gesture would be made by Egypt to free Azzam Azzam, parallel to the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel. Talk of an Egyptian "gesture" immediately died when the US reneged on its commitment to Israel to free Jonathan Pollard.

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