Hoenlein: Biden agrees to meeting on Pollard
After report he opposed granting Israeli agent clemency, US vice president agrees to meet with Jewish leaders to discuss issue.
The Jerusalem Post - October 6, 2011
US Vice President Joe Biden has agreed to meet with Jewish communal leaders to discuss the case of Jonathan Pollard, one organizational official said.
Biden made the commitment at the end of a Rosh Hashana reception with Jewish organizational leaders Wednesday, according to Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The New York Times recently reported that during an earlier meeting in Florida, Biden told a group of rabbis that "President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, 'Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.'"
Hoenlein and other Jewish communal leaders from across the political and religious spectrum have called on successive presidents to grant clemency to Pollard, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. He is scheduled for mandatory parole in November 2015. In recent months, Obama has received a flood of clemency appeals on behalf of Pollard from Congress members and former US government officials.
Pollard recently underwent kidney-related surgery that was deemed successful.
Hoenlein said he asked Biden to give Jewish leaders the chance to make the case for Pollard's release - and, in response, the vice president agreed to hold a small meeting in order to have an "open and frank discussion" over the issue.
Biden also agreed that the meeting "would happen very soon," Hoenlein said. "He takes it seriously and understands there is a concern in the community. I hope the meeting will be soon after Yom Kippur."
Hoenlein said it was Biden's meeting, so the vice president would decide who ends up attending.