Text Of Letter From Netanyahu To Obama Regarding Pollard


Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the people of Israel, I am writing to you to request clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard was acting as an agent of the Israeli government. 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.

As you know, Mr. President, I have raised the question of Jonathan Pollard’s release numerous times in discussions with your administration and with previous U.S. administrations. Previous Israeli Prime Ministers and Presidents have also requested clemency for Mr. Pollard from your predecessors.

Since Jonathan Pollard has now spent 25 years in prison, I believe that a new request for clemency is highly appropriate. I know that this view is also shared by former senior American officials with knowledge of the case as well as by numerous Members of Congress.

Jonathan Pollard has reportedly served longer in prison than any person convicted of similar crimes, and longer than the period requested by the prosecutors at the time of his plea bargain agreement. Jonathan has suffered greatly for his actions and his health has deteriorated considerably.

I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy. For all these reasons, I respectfully ask that you favorably consider this request for clemency. The people of Israel will be eternally grateful.

Sincerely yours,

Benjamin Netanyahu.

(YWN Israel Desk)


  1. I am glad that Bibi has “gone to bat” for Pollard, but I think this letter is poorly written.
    It is too unnecessarily apologetic, and points that SHOULD have been stressed, were not (like that spies of enemy countries who did spy against america’s interests, got lesser punishments).
    Also, of course, he is lying, since Israel WILL continue to spy on the U.S., just as the U.S. will continue to spy on Israel.
    If this letter gets Pollard out, that will be great, but it could have been, and should have been, worded in a less self-deprecating way.

  2. AinOhdMilvado – I would wager that negotiatng with a party from whom you are trying extract a “distasteful” favor is not one of your job descriptions. Bibi’s letter is quite the way it should be – a good job.

  3. AinOhdMilvado, I respectfully disagree. The apologetic part happens to be brilliant and intended for the administration to jump on it. Here they can get rid of Israeli espionage “in writing” once and for all, and if they don’t grab onto it, they are crazy. The United States has a lot much to gain here then Israel. He is not lying. Israel does not spy “on” the United States at all, even though the United States is and has been spying on Israel, and in every war since 1948 has given the enemy information on Israel. As difficult as it is to believe, this is what John Luftis writes in his book “The war against the Jews”, that is the war of the State department against the Jews. Pollard is scheduled to be released anyway in less then 5 years, and if he languishes until then or dies in prison then it will be a blot on American history, similar to many such blots starting from the Damascus blood libel in 1840, where the Unites States consul in Damascus wrote to President Martin Van Buren a grotesque letter believing in the blood libel, continuing on with President Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in WWII. Netanyahu deserves much more credit then he is given.

  4. The letter is good. My only changes would be to mention that Pollard no longer has any knowledge of any intelligence harmful to the US (if this is in fact true). Also in a formal letter both the US and Israel should be referred to by their full names: State of Israel and United States Of America.

    As for does Israel spy on America? probably. Should they stop? probably. Should they deny spying? absolutely.

    Pretty much every country spies on all the others. Some like the US and UK have mutual agreements not to spy. Also distinctions can be made between human and signal intelligence.

  5. A perfectly written letter for making a request for something previously denied. It explains the most uncomfortable part up front, goes on to put Obama in a position of receiving respect and as having authority over the previous administrations (which Barack will eat up), then gives a practical, reasonable, and legally understandable reason for requesting clemency, finishing off with underscoring the friendship between the two nations. Perfect!

    While I dont always agree with Mr. Netanyahu, he is the most intelligent world leader by far, and as an added statement, the speech he made at the UN a few years back, hit it out of the park.

    Let’s contiinue to pray for Pollard’s release, as well as for Gilad Shalit, Rabbi Rubashkin, and all other Jews held in captivity for similar situations.

  6. It’s about time! The Israeli government should have been doing much more long ago. Whenever the US pressed for this or that concession, Jonathon Pollard’s release should have used as a condition to comply.