Pollard activists won't disrupt US Independence Day party
Activists tell MKs and public figures planning to boycott party to attend and demand an end to the "Pollard tragedy."
Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - June 30, 2011
Activists working to persuade US President Barack Obama to commute Jonathan Pollard's life sentence to the 25 and a half years he has already served want nothing more than for him to have the liberty and justice that Americans will celebrate in honor of their Independence Day.
But don't expect any catcalls saying so from pro-Pollard activists during the speeches at the US Embassy's official Independence Day celebration at the residence of Ambassador James Cunningham in Herzliya on Thursday.
The reception will be broadcast live on the embassy's website and Facebook page, including speeches by Cunningham, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
It would have been a place where Pollard activists could have attracted attention had they decided to interrupt the event the way captive soldier Gilad Schalit's brother Yoel did during the Israel Prize award ceremony on Yom Ha'atzma'ut. But Pollard's official campaign in Israel decided against it.
"There were many who suggested that we need provocations, but we decided that Pollard had become enough of a consensus issue without it," leading Pollard activist Adi Ginsburg said. "We don't need provocations because the most important and informed people are already saying enough is enough. We intend to make sure the message is delivered in a respectful manner in order to persuade the Obama administration to take action immediately."
MKs from across the political spectrum have announced that they intend to boycott the celebration to protest the fact that the Israeli agent was prevented from attending the funeral of his father, Notre Dame professor Morris Pollard.
But Ginsburg said he told ministers, MKs and public figures to attend the event and tell the ambassador and other key officials to "end the Pollard tragedy."
Pro-Pollard activists will distribute pamphlets near the entrance to the event explaining why Pollard deserves to be released and connecting the cause to American values.
Another American independence celebration was hosted Wednesday by US Consul-General in Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein. Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria chairman Danny Dayan wrote Rubinstein telling him he would not attend because of the Pollard issue.
"The American Revolution of 1776 is, indeed, an event worth of festivities," Dayan wrote. "Very much like the much later Zionist revolution, it advances the values of freedom, equality and giving the land to its rightful owners. However, this year, unfortunately, I will not be able to celebrate with you.
"The reason is the incomprehensible attitude - cruelty, I might say, in a less diplomatic but more accurate manner - that your government keeps displaying towards Mr. Jonathan Pollard."
Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman decided not to attend for a different reason. He was offended that he had been invited to the consul's party and not the ambassador's because the consul, not the ambassador, handles the West Bank.
"Although my family has been in Israel for four generations, it seems that I've been deemed a second- class Israeli citizen, due to my role as a mayor in Samaria," Nachman wrote Rubinstein. "I assure you that I have great respect for and warm sentiments towards the United States of America. And yet, this approach is insulting.
"I would like to suggest that you cease distinguishing between Israelis, as the current policy does not compliment you and serves only to harm us.
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