Call to free Pollard

February 20, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel, comprised of representatives of Jewish organizations worldwide, has called on President Barack Obama to grant Jonathan Pollard immediate clemency…elected Natan Sharansky for a second term.

Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard

The resolution, an initiative of Natan Sharansky and passed unanimously, stated that: “Whereas Jonathan Pollard is completing his 28th year of a life sentence in an American federal prison; and whereas Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence is overly harsh; and whereas after spending so many years in prison, Jonathan Pollard suffers from various illnesses and deteriorating health; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The Jewish Agency for Israel calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds and requests the President of the United States of America to grant Jonathan Pollard immediate clemency.”

The Chairperson of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky said, “Today, when there is a growing consensus in favor of Pollard’s release amongst former Pentagon and CIA officials, American figures, legal authorities, the Israeli government, and American Jewish leaders, the time has come to vigorously and loudly demand his freedom.  Twenty eight years is more than enough.”

Australian representative Dr Danny Lamm told J-Wire: Australian representative Dr Danny Lamm told J-Wire:  “There was unanimous support for the motion which was particularly timed prior to President Obama’s visit. Sharansky spoke passionately about the unbelievably long incarceration.”

In addition, the Board of Governors passed a further resolution in light of the conclusion of the Bulgarian government investigation that Hezbollah was responsible for the deadly terror attack in Burgas. The Board of Governors hailed the decision of the Bulgarian government to call for the European Union to take “collective measures” against Hezbollah. In addition the resolution, out of concern for the safety of Jewish communities and of Jews in the state of Israel, calls upon the European Union and all the countries of the free world to recognize the true nature of Hezbollah as a terror organization. Sharansky initiated this also.

Later in the meeting, the Board of Governors  unanimously elected Natan Sharansky for a second term as Chairperson of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.  Deputy Chairperson of the Executive Rany Trainin was also elected for an additional term.

Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu told the Board of Governors that “Natan has always been a symbol of Jewish unity and a symbol of the triumph of the Jewish people over adversity. In all the years I’ve known you, you’ve been much more than a symbol, you’ve also worked tirelessly to promote Jewish unity and to secure the Jewish future.”

Sharansky, a former dissident was incarcerated for nine years in the Soviet Union. After his release in 1986 he immigrated to Israel where he was reunited with his wife Avital. He served as a member of the Knesset for nine years and as Industry and Trade Minister, Interior Minister, Housing and Construction Minister, Jerusalem Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. After leaving political life he was elected as Chairperson of The Jewish Agency for Israel in 2009.

During his first term as Jewish Agency Sharansky presided over the adoption and implementation of a new Strategic Plan and a major restructuring to enhance efficiency and meet current requirements. In addition, Jewish Agency International Development (JAID) was established to expand the Jewish agency’s fundraising capabilities. Sharansky also oversaw the improved cooperation between the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency, and increases in the level of financial support by the government for programs connecting Israel and the Diaspora. In December, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Sharansky to study the current situation at the Wall and to offer recommendations to the government on how to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.

Over the past four years the Jewish Agency has engaged in a major expansion of existing programs including: major increases in the number of shlichim to campuses (Jewish Agency Israel Fellows to Hillel), increases in the number of long term and short term shlichim (with a focus on younger shlichim), targeted Birthright groups (eg. Russians), Masa Israel, Youth Futures, Ulpan Etzion, and an expansion of public housing for senior citizens (through Amigur) amongst many others.

In addition new programs have been created including:  Onward, Project T.E.N., a range of programs for Russian speakers all over the globe (Europe, US, Australia), new programs for a year of volunteer service (shnat sherut) prior to army service (targeted at people from weaker socio-economic background), amongst many other programs. The Jewish Agency is also in the final stages of Operation Dove’s Wings to bring the remainder of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel.

Sharansky said after the election: “Friends, each time I want to feel energized I meet with participants of our Masa Israel program, new olim studying at Ulpan Etzion or our amazing shlichim and I know that idealism is still very alive. I want to say thank you to you.

The resolution was passed on the background of a rise in antisemitic incidents across the globe, including physical attacks which threaten the safety of Jewish communities and individuals and the threat to Jewish communities around the world from radical Islamist terror. The resolution also noted that The Jewish Agency for Israel has been working with Jewish communities around the world in coordination with the Government of Israel to improve security measures within those communities.



7 Responses to “Call to free Pollard”
  1. Ben Eleijah says:

    If vannu is a hostile anti-semite he should be allowed to emigrate. And has he been charged with violent anti-semitism ?

  2. Ben Eleijah says:

    Pollard passed on around 1500 documents on US intelligence summaries to Israel. Israel did not even offer him asylum/

  3. Paul Winter says:

    Hooray!!! Finally, some people in some positions of influence are asking – all so very nicely, of course – for the release of Pollard. None has yet got around to pointing out that Pollard is the USA’s own Prisoner of Zion.

    Pollard was given the same sentenced as Ames, a US citizen who spied for the Russians for money and whose treachery resulted in the deaths of US agents. Papers recently released show that Pollard was given a harsh sentence because the information he passed to Israel was likely to cause tensions between the USA and some of its Arab clients. The fact that the USA reneged on an intelligence sharing memo of understanding is ignored. That Pollard’s “crime” was going against the directive of Adm. “Bobby” Ray Inman, which subsequently became policy. He did not pass on USA secrets and not to an enemy of the USA.

    What is so infuriating is that Pollard’s sentence is far longer that violations of a similar nature and that the judge who passed sentence did so on Sect. Weinberger’s evidence which was not heard in court. These two points indicate a violation of Pollard’s constitutional rights viz. not to be subject to cruel and unususal punishment and not to be imiprisoned on secret evidence. Then there is also the matter of Pollard being tricked into making a plea bargain thus by-passing a trial and then having the admission to a charge treated as an admission to something quite different. Besides, there is also a question of the brutal conditions of his incarceration e.g. being at one time kept naked in a cold cell and at another time being put into nappies and forbidden from going to the toilet for days on end. The valiant Jewish leadership, particularly in the USA has much to answer for.

    • Ben Eleijah says:

      Pollard was caught sending naval codes to israel. But Israel did not declare him a prisoner of Zion. However, he should be freed. Mordecai Vannu has finished his prison term, he did not carry out espionage, but still has his human rights curtailed.

      • Paul Winter says:

        Well, Ben, giving US naval codes to Israel was distributed as disinformation by those who wanted to cast Pollard as a traitor.

        The latest information, based on recently declassified documents, was that what Pollard passed to Israel had nothing to with the USA. The information concerned US intelligence on mohammedan regimes and that annoyed the intelligence community.

        The actual basis for his sentencing has never been revealed. The US Supreme Court ruled it could not rule on the matted because it didn’t have the security clearances.What a joke! Neither did the sentencing judge. Nor the half-African president.

        You are right with regard to Vanunu. He did not engage in espionage. He was guilty of treason and he sold his photos for gain. He converted to Christianity and he hates Jews and Israel. His family has quite rightly disowned him.

        It is nonsensical to say that Vanunu’s human rights are curtailed. After imprisonment, the conditions of his release are that he remain in the country and to not give interviews. If Vanunu finds that difficulr, he can go back to jail.

        • Ben Eleijah says:

          Sorry Mr Winter you should try again. Pollard was convicted for passing Naval frequencies to Israel. Pollard sold the information for gain. And curtailing a person’s fredom of expression and movement is not violation of human rights and he can choose jail instead ? Vannu has been recognised as a prisoner of conscience, Pollard has b not even been declared a prisoner of Zion, or acknowledge him as an agent. Obviously Christians – not just Arabs – have fewr human rights.

          • Paul Winter says:

            Thank yoy sir. I have tried again by doing a quick search on Jonathan Pollard, something you should have done before responding to my reply to you.

            I found:
            1.Pollard was indicted on only one charge: one count of passing classified information to an ally without the intent to harm the US.
            2. He was not indicted for compromising codes, agents of war plans
            3. He was not fined, in recognition of the fact that he was not a mercenary., but an Israeli agent.

            Curtailing a person’s freedom of expression is justified in Vanunu’s case. He is a hostile antisemite. This curtailment is no different to retired ASIO/ASIS personnel being subject to a secrecy limitations on their freedom of speech.

            Vanunu is a prisoner of conscience only to people who lack one. He is a contemptible antisemite and Israel hater.

            Had you read my original post, you would have seen that I wrote that no-one has yet got around to declaring what Pollard most obviouly is: a Prisoner of Zion.

            All Israelis have equal right, irrespective of the religion or ethnicity. The constant repetition of the discrimination/apartheid lie is as wicked as it is tedious.

            Please answer this only: Why are you so hostile to the Jewish state and the demands of Jews to be treated in the same way as any other people?

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