Lazio Courts Jewish Leaders, But Buchanan Casts Shadow

New York Times, June 3, 2000 - Randal C. Archibold

Representative Rick A. Lazio, the Republican Senate nominee, met with Jewish leaders yesterday, seeking support from a key constituency that traditionally favors Democrats but in this race might be up for grabs.

In an hour long meeting with about 25 leaders at an office building in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Lazio said, he explained his positions on a number of concerns among Jewish leaders, showing support for moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to recognize the city that Israel claims as its capital. Speaking after the meeting, he said he had also told the gathering that he could not take a position on whether Jonathan Pollard, a convicted spy for Israel, should be granted clemency, because he lacked access in government information in the case. He did say he would support a presidential review of the case...

Mrs. Clinton has not taken a position on the issue of clemency for Mr. Pollard, the American convicted of passing secrets to Israel. Mr. Pollard is serving a life sentence that Jewish groups, and an increasing number of politicians, call too harsh.

Mr. Lazio said, "I haven't had the kind of secured briefing that people need to make that kind of judgment" on whether Mr. Pollard should be freed. But he called on the next president, within six months of taking office, to open a comprehensive review of the case to determine whether clemency is warranted...

Justice4JP Note

We received the following report by email from one of the attendees of the above June 2nd meeting:

Senate candidate Rick was asked for his position on the case of Jonathan Pollard. His response was:

"I'm not really familiar and I really have to see the file. What I hear, indicates some serious allegations but on the other side I realize that there are too many questions that have not been answered. I do promise you though, that if I am elected, I would insist of the next president, whoever it may be, to immediately analyze the file and make a decision. if the decision is to release to Jonathan, fine. If not, he has an obligation to delineate exactly why he has refused, he must explain whatever he does and he should do it soon. Lazio repeated that he needs to do more homework on the issue."

A related article in the Jerusalem Post (06/04/00) reported that in an interview with the New York Post:

"Lazio said that before Election Day he would state his position on clemency for Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in US federal prison for spying for Israel."

A another related report on the Lazio campaign in the NY Jewish Week (06/09/00) contained the following quote of Bruce Teitlebaum:

"Mrs. Clinton's statements on Israel, her relationship with Al Sharpton and her position on Jonathan Pollard are all fair game, and I think Congressman Lazio will point all that out," said former Giuliani campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum, who is known to be advising. Lazio on Jewish issues.

Based on his first-hand knowledge of Pollard case from the time that he was a top official at the Justice Department, Mayor Giuliani has, for years been on record unequivocally calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard. See his most recent statement.

  • Return to Senate Race page