Lieberman Win Could Thwart Efforts to Release Pollard
August 9, 2000 - The Jerusalem Post - David Franklin
Sen. Joseph Lieberman's stand against the release of convicted spy
Jonathan Pollard could mean trouble for efforts to release him, if the
Al Gore-Lieberman ticket wins the November US presidential election,
Pollard activists said Tuesday.
"We do not count on Joe Lieberman to be a friend of ours," said
Larry Dub, an Israel-based attorney for Pollard. His client is currently
serving the 15th year of a life sentence in a US jail, for spying on
behalf of Israel.
A Web site that operates with Pollard's approval includes a
"Lieberman Page " that has been given greater prominence with the news
that the Democratic senator from Connecticut has been named the
The page contains what it says is the text of the letter sent in
January 1999 to US President Bill Clinton by Lieberman and some 60 other
senators, expressing "our strongest opposition to any commutation of the
life sentence given Jonathan Pollard for betraying our country. We urge
you to deny clemency in the interest of justice and in the interest of
The page also includes the accusation leveled by Pollard
activists that Lieberman is serving as "a willing tool of the CIA."
"The best chances for getting him released will be between
November, after the election, and January," before the inauguration of
the new president, said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Hoenlein argued that Clinton would be released from earlier
"pressures" during those final two and-a-half months as president. He
said that US Jewish leaders are making "ongoing efforts to raise the issue,"
but adds that the outgoing president would make such a move only "if the
government of Israel puts a high priority on it." Hoenlein does not
believe, however, that if the issue is put off a victorious Lieberman
would be able to prevent a decision to release Pollard.
"The bottom line is that it's not going to depend on the vice
president. It will depend on the president," he said.
The letter sent by the senators followed Clinton's pledge at the
conclusion of the US-sponsored Wye talks between Israel and the
Palestinians, a few months earlier, that he would review the possibility
of commuting the sentence. The president has repeatedly been confronted
by recommendations from different governmental branches not to allow
Pollard to go free. It remains unclear whether Gore or Republican presidential
hopeful George W. Bush would be willing to overrule such pressure in
agreeing to grant clemency if elected.
Return to Lieberman page