Kerry Didn't Know, But Signed Anyway; Brother Visits Yad Vashem

IsraelNationalNews - July 15, 2004

"If Kerry wants to learn about Pollard, it is not enough for him to say so; he must meet with Pollard's lawyers and actually do so, as he has been invited to do in the past." So says Adi Ginzburg, an activist on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, referring to the U.S. Presidential candidate's recent comments.

In a conference call with Jewish leaders in Florida, the Democratic Party's about-to-be nominee was asked if he would pardon Pollard in the event that he was elected. Kerry responded that he is not sufficiently familiar with the matter, but that if he was elected, he would look into it more deeply.

The Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization expressed surprise at this response, as Kerry was one of 60 signatories to the infamous "Senators' Letter" against Pollard. If he is not familiar with the details, asked the organization, "then why did he sign a 1999 Senate letter condemning Jonathan Pollard and calling on then-President Bill Clinton not to release him?... If indeed Mr. Kerry knows so little about this case - which Appeals Court Justice Steven Williams described as 'a fundamental miscarriage of justice' - why did he sign the letter?"

The Pollard organization announced that it "invites Mr. Kerry without delay to receive a briefing from Mr. Pollard's attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman. After which, Mr. Kerry is urged remove his name from this infamous document, which he signed in ignorance of the facts; and with full knowledge, to publicly clarify his position on Jonathan Pollard and the State of Israel."

Kerry's brother Cameron, who converted to Judaism in 1983 upon marrying a Jewish woman, visited Yad Vashem today - and was greeted at the entrance by a group of Pollard supporters. They wore gas masks and held signs reading, "Pollard prevented another Holocaust - Free him!" Their message, they explained later, is that "it is impossible to respect the memory of the Holocaust while at the same time accepting the fact that a man who saved Israel from a second Holocaust has been imprisoned in the U.S. for nearly 20 years."

Cameron Kerry, who is active in the Reform movement's Temple Israel in Brookline, Mass., sought information at Yad Vashem about relatives of his paternal grandparents who were killed in the Holocaust. Kerry's grandfather, Fritz Kohn, converted to Catholicism in Europe around the turn of the century, changed his name to Frederick Kerry, and immigrated to the U.S. shortly afterwards. A brother of Fritz/Frederick was killed in Terezin in 1943, and a sister was murdered in Treblinka a year later. Yad Vashem officials showed Cameron Kerry original documents in its archive relating to his family's fate. Kerry was accompanied on the visit by his wife, representatives of AIPAC, and the Kerry campaign's Senior Advisor on Middle East and Jewish Affairs.

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