Hillary Clinton and the Pollard Issue
Dov Hikind - The Jewish Press, July 23, 1999
The author is a member of the New York State Assembly.
While the media rustles with the thrill of a Clinton candidacy for the
New York Senate seat and the show of major ideological turnabouts for
the First Lady, we need to examine what role Hillary Clinton might play
in the state, national, and international political scene. Can she
emerge from her husband's shadow? Or will Clinton doctrine and dogma
carry over to the Senate floor?
She has made assertive moves to create her own identity for New York
voters, distancing herself from some classic Clintonesque policies.
While her husband has thus far refused to comply with the Jerusalem
Embassy Relocation Act of 1995, she has recently called Jerusalem, "the
eternal and indivisible capital of Israel." There is also the matter of
repositioning herself on self-determination and statehood for
Palestinians. This momentum is significantly contrary to her previous
outspoken positions on these issues. Yet there remains the question of
whether she intends to pacify or satisfy New Yorkers. Therefore it is
necessary to ascertain whether she intends to actualize this new
doctrine, or whether it is just lip service.
The surest way to assert her independence and make her mark on the
political scene would be to confirm her reversals with tangibles. Her
unique position as First Lady allows her to assert her influence
positively on the president of the United States, to effect the changes
that would reflect the sincerity of her candidacy.
Jonathan Pollard has been languishing in maximum security prisons for
more than a decade. The charges against him are serious, but the
sentence meted out has been recognized as being severely excessive,
considering he was charged with spying for an ally. As a New York
candidate, as a potential senator, Hillary needs to assert herself
beyond general pronouncements that are easily ignored after elections.
We need concrete assurances that there has been a shift in her platform.
Then New Yorkers can be comfortable with other concessionary gestures.
Pollard has been punished. At this point, there are murmurs that his
pardon is tied up in powerplays and backroom whispers. Clinton is an
intelligent woman who has likely been privy to all sorts of intelligence
information. She can therefore weed through the myriad real and imagined
security risks. She can appeal to her husband on humanitarian grounds to
pardon Pollard and close the chapter on his ordeal. This would be much
more convincing than any moves she has made to this point. And the
people of this state and this country would finally know, clearly and
unequivocally, that she recognizes the important issues and intends to
be guided by her conscience, not the Clinton persona.
Return to Senate Race page