Once Again, PM is Asked to Remember Pollard
Hillel Fendel - IsraelNationalNews.com - June 18, 2007
(IsraelNN.com) Once again, an Israeli Prime Minister on his way to the U.S. has been presented with a plea for Pollard's release. Pollard-supporters say U.S. leniency for the long-imprisoned Israeli agent is a function of Israeli government concern.
The Religious Kibbutz Movement (RKM), an apolitical organization representing 16 kibbutzim throughout the country, has taken the unusual move of granting Pollard honorary membership of the movement. Pollard, who was "framed" by arch-spy Aldrich Ames (see below), is currently four months shy of 8,000 days in U.S. prison. He was sentenced to life after being convicted on one count of passing classified information to U.S.-ally Israel.
On the eve of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's departure to the United States this past Saturday night, RKM Director Yair Reinman presented him with this letter:
Dear Sir, Mr. Prime Minister of Israel,
We turn to and call upon the Prime Minister of Israel to... urgently present an official Israeli request for clemency for Pollard, who has been in U.S. prison for 22 years. We ask that you act before it is too late, Heaven forbid [Pollard is known to be in poor health -ed.]...
There is certainly no need to outline our ethical responsibility, as a society, towards one who was sent and acted on behalf of Israel's security. But beyond our obligation to him as a person, this is a struggle for the character and honor of Israeli society, and about whether we can continue to declare that we fly the flag of mutual responsibility towards our agents and soldiers wherever they may be.
Because of the wide range of opinions within the Religious Kibbutz movement, for many years we have refrained from taking political positions. But we feel that the campaign for Jonathan Pollard goes beyond political differences, and... crosses party lines...
We hope that this move of ours will, together with others, help lead to Jonathan Pollard's quick release, and we call upon the public at large to join us in this campaign.
Venerated Rabbi Makes 9th Visit
The Rishon LeTzion, former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, made a special trip to the United States to visit Pollard in jail this past week. Rabbi Eliyahu, Pollard's personal rabbi, came away "shocked" at the deterioration he saw in Pollard's health.
"Rabbi Eliyau made it known to the Americans that he is willing to be Jonathan's guarantor," Pollard's wife Esther told Radio Kol Chai, "and that he would be glad to have Jonathan released into his custody... I can tell you that in every communication with the White House, HaRav Eliyahu repeats his offer to be Jonathan's guarantor. This is not a small thing."
Following the visit, Rabbi Eliyahu's ninth with Pollard over the years, the rabbi made an emotional call upon U.S. President George Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Jewry in both Israel and the United States to take urgent action to free Pollard from prison.
The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard calls upon the public to phone Olmert's office (02-670-5555; outside Israel, +9722-670-5555) and demand, "Don't come back [to Israel] without Pollard!"
Israel's previous Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, on the eve of his departure to the United States for a visit, was presented with a petition signed by all of Israel's non-Arab-party MKs calling for Pollard's release. Sharon left the letter behind and apparently did not raise the matter with President Bush.
PM Olmert has also apparently not raised the issue of Pollard in his previous meetings with Bush. This, despite the Prime Minister being well aware of Israel's responsibility for Pollard's incarceration, as he was a member of the Abba Eban Committee that investigated the matter in 1987. Olmert is signed upon the following conclusion: "The consent of [then-]Prime Minister Shimon Peres to return [to the U.S.] the documents delivered by Pollard was fundamentally mistaken and caused serious damage [emphasis added]. These documents constituted the basis for the conviction and life sentence that Pollard received..."
Peres claimed that the Americans promised not to use the documents against Pollard; Pollard says Peres lied. The Supreme Court ruled last year that Peres could not be subpoenaed to testify about his version of the events.
"Framed" by Ames
Despite the wide exposure his cause has received, some in the U.S. Jewish community continue to view Pollard as a traitor who deserves to remain in prison. He continues to be accused of having caused major harm to U.S. interests, including endangering American agents in the Soviet Union.
It is now known, however, that a central force behind the promulgation of this impression was the man who actually betrayed the said U.S. agents in Russia - CIA agent-turned-KGB mole Aldrich Ames.
Ames, finally arrested for spying in 1994, revealed to the Russians the names of every American spy in the Soviet Union, leading to the execution of several of them. As former Justice Department attorney John Loftus has documented, it was Ames himself, before he was caught, who was assigned the task of preparing the damage assessment of Pollard's activities - and he used the opportunity to attribute to Pollard the crimes that he himself had committed.