Jonathan Pollard's Letter of Remorse to His Parents

The following is the text of Jonathan Pollard's letter of remorse, sent to his parents June 6, 1991, from federal prison in Marion, Illinois. It was published in the Forward on July 5, 1991. It has since been reprinted in hundreds of newspapers and widely distributed by Jonathan Pollard personally and the Justice4JP Office.

June 6, 1991 B"H
Marion, Illinois

Dear Mom and Dad,

In view of my appeal before the United States Court of Appeals and the generous support that people around the world have shown for the legal arguments in my appeal, I feel it is appropriate for me to make the following statement:

I have always accepted the fact that I am not above the law, and deserve to be punished for my actions, however well motivated I may have believed them to be. At the time, I was faced with a cruel dilemma in which I thought I had to choose between the law and my conscience. The danger that I perceived to Israel's existence was so acute that I instinctively chose action over reflection. I now know that that was wrong. I should have made the effort to discover a legal solution to the predicament I faced. For this error in judgment I am profoundly sorry.

Also, I regret the adverse effect which my actions had on the United States, and the Jewish community. I am now and have always been very proud to be a citizen of this country. Moreover, the loyalty of American Jews to their Nation and its laws has been unwavering and intense. In fact, American Jews have been particular champions of our legal system in good part because they know that our American law is the major bulwark against bigotry toward minority groups. In taking the actions I did, I failed to understand the critical nature of this stance, and the ammunition my actions provided to anyone who might want to accuse American Jews of having dual loyalties.

During the past six years in prison, I have also reflected on how and why, despite my idealism about the world and Israel's place in it, I was capable of taking the actions I did. The answer has come to me, I think, through the maturity gained since the day of my arrest. My problem stemmed not from dual loyalties, but from my anxiety that the past would repeat itself unless I intervened. Unfortunately, I failed to appreciate the fact that such concerns did not justify my indifference to the law. In my mind, though, assisting an ally did not involve or require betraying the United States. I never thought that enhancing Israel's security would in any way jeopardize America's strategic interests. But that judgment was not mine to make.

I say all of this not as a defense for what I did, but as an explanation to my friends and family, so that they may understand why I made mistakes that have caused the people I love and admire to suffer so grievously from my actions. I naturally hope that my legal appeal will be successful, because I believe very strongly that there is substantial merit in my case, particularly concerning the disproportionate punishment I have received. But whatever the outcome, nothing will alter the remorse I feet as a result of my actions.


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