Pollard petition passes 60,000
Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - May 18, 2012
The 60,000th person signed a petition early Friday calling upon President Shimon Peres to do everything possible to bring about the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard when he goes to Washington on June 13 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The petition drive began two months ago and has attracted support from across Israel and around the world.
"Due to the superior values the medal represents, we feel we cannot reconcile you receiving it when the United States is still holding Pollard in prison," the petition states.
"We ask you to take advantage of your unprecedented diplomatic standing in order to work for Jonathan's immediate release before you are given the medal. Otherwise receiving the medal would make a mockery of Israel."
Pollard is still serving the life sentence he was given more than 26 years ago for passing classified information to an ally. Obama has not responded to calls by many top current and former Israeli and American officials to commute Pollard's sentence to time served.
According to the 1987 Eban Commission Report, the Knesset committee appointed to investigate the Pollard affair, Peres personally initiated and authorized the return to the US of all of the documents that Pollard had provided to Israel with his fingerprints still upon them, which helped the prosecution's case. This was the first and only case in the history of modern espionage in which a prime minister actively assisted in the indictment and prosecution of his own country's agent.
The organizers of the petition stressed that they were not asking Peres to condition receiving the medal on Pollard's freedom.
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