Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

In Letter to Obama, Pollard Implores President To Commute Sentence

Israeli President Shimon Peres handed President Obama a letter from Jonathan Pollard pleading for his release.

“I write to implore you, Mr. President, in the wake of numerous calls by senior American officials urging you to commute my sentence to time served, and in light of the official request by Prime Minister Netanyahu, to please send me home to Israel now, in time to celebrate my first Passover in freedom in 26 years,” said the April 1 letter, Pollard’s first direct communication with an American president.

The letter was first published in the Jerusalem Post on April 22 and was distributed April 23 by his supporters.

In the letter, Pollard expresses his remorse for the spying for Israel that earned him a life sentence in 1987, but also notes the recent swell in support for his release that includes a number of senior officials who were involved in his prosecution. He also suggests that his release could earn Obama political capital in Israel in his attempt to restart the peace process.

“My release in time to celebrate Passover at home in Israel with my beloved wife would be a welcome gesture of friendship to the Israeli people, an act of solidarity with a staunch and long-time ally of the United States, and a deeply compassionate and humane gift of life to my wife and me,” he said.

The role of Peres, who met with Obama earlier this month to advance the peace process, is consistent with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision last year to make Pollard’s clemency a high-profile cause.

Israeli leaders for years have been circumspect in their appeals on the spy’s behalf.

Also calling for Pollard’s release in time for Passover was Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), one of 39 Democrats in Congress who wrote Obama last year pressing for clemency.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

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