29 Iyar, 5764
May 20, 2004
To: Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and to the Heads of all the American Jewish Communities
In the coming days, we will celebrate the anniversary of the release of a large group of Prisoners of Zion, Refuseniks, from their Soviet jails, in 1979. As free men and women, they came to live here in Israel.
The struggle to free Soviet Jewry, to gain the right to live free in Israel, marked a stunning chapter in Zionist history. This struggle was characterized particularly by extraordinary cooperation between the American and Russian Jewish communities. The State of Israel also played a pivotal role in this effort.
It is well known that this struggle gave voice to a new generation of American Jewish leadership - you, Mr. Hoenlein, among them. In its caring and concern for Jewish refuseniks, the American Jewish community gave great credit to its name.
In the light of this wonderful history, we, the undersigned, are all the more amazed and incredulous at the failure of American Jews to stand up in one voice on behalf of our jailed brother, Jonathan Pollard. You certainly know that in Israel, Pollard is considered by many to be a national hero. The Jewish People declare that this man demonstrated the highest level of courage and personal sacrifice in order to benefit Israel and the world by his warning of the increasingly dangerous Iraqi armament program.
We are most definitely aware of the mixed feelings held by American Jewry towards our brother, Jonathan. The old canard of "dual loyalty" places many Jews in an unfortunate and uncomfortable position regarding Israel. Remind them that the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis convincingly demonstrated the emptiness and vulgarity of this charge!!
We strongly believe that the roaring silence of the organized American Jewish community in light of a Jew wrongly imprisoned for 18 years badly damages the ancient and eternal value of Jewish mutual responsibility.
Wake up!! Wake up!! Wake up to the pain of your brother Jew!! You, who fought so long and hard for our release, the time has come to fight for the release of another!!
We, the undersigned, released Prisoners of Zion, Prisoners of Conscience, remember the good done for us - and so today stand up to fight for the immediate release of our brother Jonathan Pollard. We call on you and the entire American Jewish leadership to join us, to stand together as we once did, in a public struggle to free a Jew in need.
Y. Mendelevich, Y. Suslensky, M.Dimshitz, H. Butman, S. Zalmanson, W. Zalmanson, A. Chanoh, A. Shpilberg, M. Shapsshelovich, L. Agman, A. Altman, M. Mendelevicvh, B. Penson, S. Dreizner, Felix Kochubievsky and more.