Leading Gedolim and Rabbonim together with major Jewish Organizations, are calling for a “Nationwide White House Call-In on behalf of Jonathan Pollard”. Please take a moment to read the following press releases from both the Agudah, and the National Council of Young Israel and be Mikayim the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim by simply making a 1 minute phone call!!
AGUDATH ISRAEL RABBINIC BODIES ISSUE CALL ON BEHALF OF JONATHAN POLLARD
The Gedolim who comprise Agudath Israel of America’s Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, as well as the members of Agudath Israel’s Presidium and close to 100 signatories from its Conference of Synagogue Rabbonim have issued a declaration calling on “all caring Jews” to deliver “a message to President Bush” that Jonathan Pollard, the convicted American Jewish spy who has languished in prison for twenty-two years, “has served long enough, and that the time has come to free him.”
The rabbinical statement comes after the United States Supreme Court denied an appeal by Mr. Pollard of a 2006 lower court decision that cut off what would seem to be the final judicial avenue that could have led to a reconsideration of his life sentence. It notes that that Mr. Pollard’s “health [is] deteriorating because of his incarceration,” and that his life sentence was “a penalty far more severe than that imposed upon others who committed similar or even more serious crimes.”
“Only the President of the United States,” the declaration continues, “by granting Mr. Pollard executive clemency, can save him from spending the rest of his life behind bars.”
The following is the full text of the Agudath Israel rabbonim’s statement:
DECLARATION REGARDING JONATHAN POLLARD:
The heart-wrenching plight of Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew who is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel and is currently in his 22nd year of captivity, demands our urgent attention.
Mr. Pollard’s life sentence – a penalty far more severe than that imposed upon others who committed similar or even more serious crimes – is difficult to comprehend. His lawyers have made various efforts through the courts to have his sentence reconsidered, all to no avail. At this time, it appears that all legal avenues through the judicial system have been shut off. Only the President of the United States, by granting Mr. Pollard executive clemency, can save him from spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Already years ago, Gedolei Yisroel called upon all Jews to do whatever they possibly can to try to help Mr. Pollard gain his freedom. Now that his legal appeals have been exhausted, and with his health deteriorating because of his incarceration, we reiterate that call with a renewed sense of urgency.
We call upon all caring Jews who understand the importance of being nosei b’ol im chaveiro and the imperative of pidyon shvuyim to convey the message to President Bush that Mr. Pollard has served long enough, and that the time has come to free him.
May Hashem Yisborach, the ultimate Matir asurim, look down with favor upon our efforts and place in the heart of the President the resolve at long last to grant Yehonoson ben Malka his freedom.
As a follow-up to the rabbinic declaration, Agudath Israel is joining a number of Jewish organizations asking Americans who support the cause of Mr. Pollard’s freedom to telephone the White House daily between the hours of 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time until Pesach with requests for the President’s granting of clemency for the imprisoned Jew.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF YOUNG ISRAEL:
A nationwide 60-day call-in to the White House campaign has begun and will continue through the Holiday of Pesach / Passover, the Holiday of Freedom, to call to the attention of President George W. Bush the continued unfair incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.
Organizers of the campaign remind the community that the White House counts and tallies all in-coming calls, so every single phone call makes a difference. The White House phone number is 1-202-456-1414. Callers are asked to call daily between the hours of 11-2 pm EST and to encourage their family members and friends to do the same. Callers are reminded to expect the lines to be busy and to keep calling until they get through.
The call-in drive is a nationwide initiative spearheaded by the National Council of Young Israel, with the participation of national and regional Jewish organizations, in conjunction with the Rabbi Leib Geliebter Memorial Foundation, and sponsored by Comprehensive Network, Inc. The senior Rabbinic leadership of Agudath Israel of America have recently reiterated their support and signed a declaration, once again adding their names to the list of Rabbis and community leaders calling upon all Jews to convey the message to President Bush that Mr. Pollard has served long enough and that the time has come to free him.
Jonathan Pollard is currently in his 22nd year of imprisonment, many of which were under very difficult conditions, for the crime of giving classified information to a friendly nation and ally, Israel. Others who committed similar or even more serious crimes have received more lenient sentences and treatment.
“The 22 year time period is significant,” says Dr. Joseph Geliebter, Director of the Rabbi Leib Geliebter Memorial Foundation. “In Jewish Biblical tradition, 22 years was the period that Joseph was separated from his father, Jacob; the Talmud also indicates that during the 22nd year of an unresolved matter there is Heavenly intervention (Tractate Kesubos, 42b; see commentary of Rashi).”
In reference to Pollard’s life sentence, Federal Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia declared “…the government’s breach of the plea agreement was a fundamental miscarriage of justice…”
Rudolph Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City and a former federal prosecutor, has said that “given comparative sentences, [Jonathan Pollard’s] sentence – this I happen to know because I have seen the documents – is way beyond the sentences served by other people that have been convicted of the same offense.”
“Against all reason,” says Rabbi Pesach Lerner, D.Adm., Executive Vice-President of the National Council of Young Israel, and one who has championed the Pollard cause, “all regular channels for Mr. Pollard to have his sentence reconsidered have failed. Despite the intensive efforts of Jonathan’s outstanding pro-bono attorneys, all legal avenues of appeal have been stymied by a justice system, unwilling or unable to correct itself. Only the President of the United States, by granting Mr. Pollard executive clemency, can prevent Mr. Pollard from languishing in prison for the rest of his life. We need to convey the message to President Bush that Mr. Pollard has served an unusually long sentence and the time has come to free him.”
According to James Woolsey, who reviewed the entire classified Pollard file as former director of the CIA under President Clinton, Pollard has served a long sentence and he favors releasing him . Woolsey said “…now that he has served 20 years of a prison sentence, my view is that a 20 year sentence is enough and I think the close relationship between the United States and Israel as fellow democracies is also a consideration.”
Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross, who for more than 12 years played the leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process, under the administrations of President George Bush and President Bill Clinton, has also publicly announced that Pollard’s sentence is excessive and that he should be released, adding that “Pollard has been in jail for so long that whatever facts he might know would have little if any effect on national security today.”
Dennis DeConcini, U.S. Senator (Arizona, retired) and former chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (responsible for overseeing Federal intelligence activities) agrees that Pollard should be released, and has written, “I am convinced that Mr. Pollard has expressed the appropriate remorse and served adequate time”.
In a letter to the President, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations wrote, “…while they represent a broad spectrum of views, the fifty-four member organizations unanimously authorized us to communicate this appeal that you grant clemency to Mr. Pollard…Mr. Pollard has paid for his crime.”
It is now the time to call upon the President to release Mr. Pollard. Every phone call is important. Everyone is encouraged to start calling the White House at 1-202-456-1414 and to call daily.
For additional information about the Jonathan Pollard cause, or to print out the campaign ad, please visit www.jonathanpollard.org
For additional information about the nationwide White House call-in campaign, please contact Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice-President, National Council of Young Israel, at 212-929-1525 or [email protected]