Pollard's Remorse

The Forward - Editorial - December 24, 1993

Those who have long sought a just resolution of the error so many of us believe was made in the sentencing of Jonathan Pollard to a life term are worried that the spy's chances for commutation may be damaged by the controversy over Pollard's prison correspondence. The controversy centers on whether Pollard believes that his actions were "repugnant" not only to American and natural law but also to the Torah.

In a letter to President Clinton, carried from prison by Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik, Pollard wrote that he feels his actions were "repugnant" to all three. Recently, his personal rabbi, Avi Weiss, had been disputing whether Pollard really regarded his actions as repugnant to the Torah. He told our reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg, that Pollard now rejects the characterization of his actions as repugnant to the Torah. Torah law is not the issue here, and we believe Rabbi Weiss' showboating endangers Pollard's cause. Even Rabbi Weiss acknowledges that Pollard's deeply remorseful- the rabbi's letter appears in the adjacent columns, as do the spy's two letters of remorse.

We have no doubt whatsoever that Pollard's repentance is genuine, based on a whole range of reports that have reached us during the years he has been languishing in prison. It is hard to think of another spy in modern times who has taken such a hard look at himself in a way more worthy of respect in a commutation process. The time for Mr. Clinton to act is now.

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