Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Parole board votes to release Sirhan Sirhan, who killed Robert Kennedy for his pro-Israel views

(JTA) — California’s parole board recommended the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the Jerusalem-born assassin who changed history when he shot to death Robert Kennedy in 1968 just as he appeared set to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.

The board said Friday that Sirhan, 77, was repentant and unlikely to re-offend. Sirhan’s death sentence was commuted in 1972 to life after the state abolished the death penalty.

The parole board’s lawyers have 90 days to review the decision and then Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has 30 days to approve it. Newsom, a Democrat who faces a recall election next month, has not indicated how he will decide.

Kennedy, then a New York senator, had just endorsed the sale of 50 combat aircraft to Israel which Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, has said was one of the factors spurring his anger. He has said he was also drunk at the time of the killing.

Kennedy visited British Mandate Palestine in 1948, just before Israel declared independence, and became a passionate advocate for the young state.

Kennedy had just won the California primary, upsetting predictions that Vice President Hubert Humphrey would be the Democratic nominee. Kennedy, whose brother John was assassinated in 1963, was believed better positioned to defeat the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon, who had been defeated by John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election.

Sirhan, who may be deported to Jordan if he is released, has expressed regret for his actions. Six of Kennedy’s surviving children said they were “devastated” by the board’s decision and urged Newsom to reverse it.

Another two of the surviving children, Douglas and Robert Jr., favored his release. Robert Kennedy Jr. has advanced theories that Sirhan is not the real killer.


The post Parole board votes to release Sirhan Sirhan, who killed Robert Kennedy for his pro-Israel views appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    NY-12 Candidate Forum

    THE TEMPLE EMANU-EL STREICKER CENTER and Virtual

    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.