Biden in 2007: There is rationale behind Pollard release
In recent meeting between Biden, Florida rabbis US vice president said Pollard would be released 'Over my dead body' yet in 2007 he was singing different tune
YNet News - October 2, 2011
The New York Times reported Saturday that in a recent meeting between US Vice President John Biden and 15 rabbis in Florida the vice president spoke adamantly against the release of Jonathan Pollard, who was imprisoned in 1986 after he was convicted of spying for Israel. He reportedly told the group "Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time is up."
Yet in an interview given to Shalom TV in 2007 Biden sounded less resolved on the issue and was not opposed to the possibility of Pollard's release.
"There is a rationale behind the requests for Pollard's release...but there's not a rationale to say: 'no, what happened did not happen, he should be pardoned.'"
According to Biden who was a senator at the time of the interview: "My worry is that if we were to move to go and pardon Pollard would make a lie out of the notion that there are certain rules, period. You cannot give classified information, period. Even to a friend - if this were Great Britain it would be the same thing."
According to the NYT, Biden admitted to the rabbis that "the administration had made a few missteps in its handling of the Israel relationship," but made no further reference to the Pollard issue.
The NYT believed that Washington's adamant refusal to pardon Pollard is unlikely to cost Obama the support of US Jews, especially after his pro-Israel speech at the United Nations last week.
Meanwhile, sources close to Pollard claim that past statements strengthen the New York Times assessment that Biden did not present his true stance on the Pollard issue rather he "took a hit" for Obama ahead of what is expected to be a tough election campaign, especially with regards to the Jewish vote.
A travesty of justice
The committee for Pollard's release said that since the article was published they received many responses from Israelis and Americans "who felt extremely hurt by Biden's statements".
"The fact that the statements were made by Biden, who in 2007 admitted to the fact that Pollard's release was justifiable, makes everyone feel that a man's life is being played with in incomprehensible ways."
They noted that: "Countless senior officials including the former CIA chief and many others who know all about the classified information involved in the case have already called upon Obama to release Pollard and defined his continued incarceration as a 'travesty that contradicts the values of American justice'.
"It is clear to everyone that there is no justification for the continued imprisonment. We hope that Obama will do the right thing and prove to us all that 'justice' and 'human rights' are not devoid of meaning."
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