B'nai B'rith Record "Not Very Impressive"
Responding to Tommy Baer, BBI Honorary President
Justice4JP Release - February 5, 2003
Mr. Tommy Baer
Honorary President of B'nai B'rith International
Dear Mr. Baer,
We are in receipt of your February 4, 2003 letter taking issue with J4JP's release of January 24, 2003. [Copy at here.]
Contrary to your claim, we have not misinterpreted Seymour Reich's comments to James D. Besser [ "Pardon Me" - Jan 17, 2003], nor have we misrepresented the utter failure of the American Jewish leadership throughout my husband Jonathan Pollard's 18-year ordeal.
What little evidence does exist of B'nai B'rith's "intensive efforts" on behalf of Jonathan is not very impressive.
For example, the most recent effort made by B'nai B'rith International was an April 25, 2001 letter to President George W. Bush signed by yourself, Richard Heideman, and Seymour Reich - all presidents of B'nai B'rith. In the 2001 letter you informed the newly-elected Bush, that his
"eight years as president are drawing to a close" and you indicated that he had
"granted amnesty to Puerto Rican terrorists involved in violent attacks against this country". [Copy of BBI 2001 letter at here.]
It was of course President Clinton, not President Bush, who freed the FALN terrorists; and Clinton, not Bush, who had just ended his 8-year term in office. This letter, previously sent to President Clinton, had obviously been recycled and sent to President Bush without anyone having bothered to check its contents. The careless way in which it was executed spoke volumes to the new administration about the Jewish leaders' lack of concern for the plight of Jonathan Pollard.
Still, this negative impression could have been corrected several months later when Jewish leaders attended a working meeting with President Bush at the White House. But then, again, as in the past, Jonathan's name did not appear on the Jewish leaders official agenda; and not a single leader in attendance - including B'nai B'rith's Richard Heideman - ever mentioned Jonathan to the president. The White House got the message. [See Open Letter to Jewish Leaders here.]
Our own lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill have been repeatedly rebuffed by legislators who are quick to point out that Jewish leaders do not support the release of Jonathan Pollard, so why should they? One senior Senator recently told me that in 18 years no Jewish leader has ever raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard with him! Another told me that while Jewish leaders do raise the issue of Jonathan Pollard quite often, it is only to insist that the Senator NOT become involved!
[See article: What No One Wants to Talk About here.]
Regarding your problem with J4JP's Release of January 24 and letter to the Editor (Jewish Week NY - "Mrs. Pollard Responds" - Jan 31, 2003) allow us briefly to reiterate:
Jonathan is currently serving his 18th brutal year in prison. He is ill and in mortal danger.
While overwhelming evidence exists that Jonathan's case represents a blatant miscarriage of justice, Seymour Reich's comments to Besser and your February 4 letter to me reflect the willingness of the American Jewish leadership to tolerate this massive injustice without challenge.
In his comments to Besser, Reich demonstrated neither disappointment nor dismay with President Bush's failure to commute Jonathan's grossly disproportionate sentence. Reich not only failed to call for action on behalf of Jonathan, he dismissed the idea that Jonathan can be freed before the year 2008, implying that efforts at this time are in vain. He then shifted the responsibility for Jonathan's release to Israel.
Reich's comments are inappropriate and counter-productive. They discourage honest efforts on behalf of Jonathan, and make it appear as if the American Government need not be held accountable to correct this massive injustice. Such comments have been uttered by Mr. Reich and other Jewish leaders repeatedly over the last 18 years, anesthetizing the Jewish community and giving cover to 4 different US administrations for their indifference.
Mr. Baer, we invite you to reread the Besser article and our comments.[See it here.]
We believe that if you do, it will be apparent that far from "lashing out," we are simply citing historically verifiable facts.
That is, eighteen years have elapsed since Jewish leaders first wrote to the US Government promising never to intervene on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. Sadly, they have kept that promise. [See this article.] American legislators and Israeli top officials assure us that there has never been any serious initiative on the part of American Jewish leaders - openly or behind the scenes. In the absence of any hard evidence to the contrary, this is entirely credible.
We would be interested to know, Mr. Baer, what specifically you and your colleagues have done for Jonathan since your token visits many years ago and your April 2001 recycled letter to President Bush.
(Mrs. Jonathan Pollard)
Click here to see copy of BBI February 4, 2003 letter.