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JewishJournal.com

October 2, 2011

Biden prevented Pollard clemency, NYT reports

http://www.jewishjournal.com/nation/article/biden_prevented_pollard_clemency_nyt_reports_20111002

Vice President Joseph Biden stands next to President Barack Obama at an event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Larry Downing

Vice President Joseph Biden stands next to President Barack Obama at an event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama was considering clemency for convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard until Vice President Joseph Biden prevented it, the New York Times reported.

“President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time,’ ” Biden said during a meeting with rabbis in Boca Raton, Fla., according to the newspaper. “If it were up to me, he would stay in jail for life,” he reportedly added.

Pollard 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 appeals from Congress members and former government officials to grant Pollard clemency.

Pollard recently successfully underwent kidney-related surgery.

Obama is relying on Biden for help in his reelection campaign with American-Jewish voters, the New York Times article said.

“Mr. Biden has taken on the job of fund-raising among Jewish Democrats, at the same time that he has been seeking to assure the party’s base that the Obama administration remains a loyal friend to Israel,” the article said.

Biden, through his foreign policy work in the Senate, has built lifelong ties with Israeli politicians, something Obama does not have on his resume, the report pointed out.

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