Four drug dealers, a trafficker in stolen goods, a gambler and a turkey made President Obama’s Thanksgiving freedom list, but Israel’s best-known spy did not.
Jonathan Pollard, the Jewish American jailed for spying for Israel, reportedly first offered classified information to Australia.
Convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard was taken to a civilian hospital to undergo surgery.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is urging the release of Jonathan Pollard, the first active Republican politician to do so. McCain, the GOP presidential candidate in 2008, spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Thursday, according to a statement released by Netanyahu’s office and confirmed to JTA by McCain’s office.
President Obama has received a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, requesting clemency for convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard. "I think it is important to underscore that Mr. Pollard was convicted of some of the most serious crimes that anybody can be charged (with)," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday “We have received the letter and will review it,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. Neither spokesman said how long the review process would take and what steps were involved.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neyanyahu wrote President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard. "At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard was acting as an agent of the Israeli government," Netanyahu wrote in his letter, sent Tuesday. "Even though Israel was in no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States, its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable. Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions, and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated." Netanyahu read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion. His letter, Israel's first formal request for Pollard's release, came a day after similar urgings from over 500 clergy in a letter to Obama.
More than 500 clergy signed a letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard. The letter was delivered a day before Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu reportedly sent a letter to Obama issuing a formal clemency request. Netanyahu was scheduled to read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion. "After more than two and a half decades in prison, Mr. Pollard's health is declining," reads the letter sent Monday from rabbis representing all streams, as well as a number of leading Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy. "He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency -- as well as a matter of basic fairness and American justice. It would also represent a clear sense of compassion and reconciliation -- a sign of hope much needed in today's world of tension and turmoil."
A combination of timing, diplomatic considerations and, above all, good old-fashioned noodging has culminated in the biggest push in years to free Jonathan Pollard.
In an April 2007 interview, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) declares "I am a Zionist' and discusses his support for Israel.
The argument that Pollard was a spy, and that is all that matters, may be legally valid, but it is not morally valid.