Jonathan Pollard's Open Letter to the Conference of Presidents
Justice4JP Release - November 23, 2003
Mr. James Tisch, Chairman
Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
633 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10017
Dear Jim and Malcolm,
Esther and I take no pleasure in noting that the Conference of Presidents' long-standing failure to articulate and act upon a clear and unequivocal position on the Pollard case is now painfully apparent in the public actions of its constituent members.
We were sickened to hear and read that the leadership of the United Jewish Communities (UJC), a member organization of the Conference, "does not take a position on the Pollard case" (Doron Krakow, Director General of the 2003 UJC General Assembly); and that the Pollard issue is a concern only "for the Israeli government" (Steve Hoffman, UJC President and CEO).
We also take no pleasure in noting that the UJC categorically refused all of our entreaties to place my case on the official agenda of its annual General Assembly (GA) in Jerusalem. When Pollard supporters held a demonstration to protest this callous rejection, on the outside they were shunned by the GA, and on the inside they were cruelly beaten by UJC delegates!
How can it be that one of your own constituent member groups, the UJC, could behave with such 'sinat chinam' - such causeless hatred towards fellow Jews who were, after all, only trying to bring to their attention the mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim? We sincerely hope that the Conference will make known to the executive of the UJC, its condemnation of their outrageous breach of Conference policy and of the brutality to which Pollard supporters were subjected. It would be fitting if the Conference were to send a formal apology to those unfortunate souls who were beaten up. The J4JP office stands ready to assist in relaying your message.
On a related matter, we must sadly report to you that the abject failure of the Government of Ariel Sharon to raise my case with President Bush or to take any action whatsoever on my behalf, has so demoralized the members of the Knesset Lobby that they are now threatening to resign en masse.
Why do we bring this up now? Because we are disgusted that Seymour Reich (who along with Phil Baum co-chairs the Pollard Committee for the Conference) continues to lie for the Israeli Government and to provide cover for its inaction and indifference to me.
Reich's recent statements to the press in the wake of the Court's dismissal of my legal cases (that the Government of Israel has brought my case up with the President, and that Israel is working privately behind the scenes for my release) are not only counterproductive but also patently false.
Mr. Reich may have convinced the Jewish media that he is a Pollard supporter, but we know better. I was recently visited by members of the Knesset Lobby. To a man, they strongly urged me to take steps to prevent Mr. Reich from representing himself as a Pollard advocate. Lobby members had met with Reich in New York and found his statements about me to be harmful and damaging. This came as no surprise to Esther and me. We have known for many years that Mr. Reich is anything but an honest broker on my behalf. His "advocacy" has always been twisted in order to conform to an establishment agenda that is in fact inimical to my struggle for justice.
It is high time that Mr. Reich and Mr. Baum (who has been no less harmful to the cause) resigned and were replaced by credible, honest advocates of justice for my cause.
Failure of the Conference to address this issue, the replacement of Reich and Baum, is in effect complicit with the harm that these men continue to do. Esther and I hope that this will not be the case.
In light of the above, it is most important that the Conference of Presidents issue a new official statement on the Pollard case without delay.
At a recent meeting of the Conference Pollard Committee, after a presentation by my attorney Eliot Lauer, the Committee agreed that the Conference needs to change its official position on the Pollard Case - which until now has been support for my release only on humanitarian grounds - to include its strong concerns for the COMPLETE LACK OF DUE PROCESS that resulted in my grossly disproportionate sentence.
Jim, Malcolm, it is imperative that such a statement be formulated without further delay, and submitted to my attorneys for their approval to ensure that it appropriately reflects the above-mentioned position.
Once the statement is approved by my attorneys, it should be widely published and publicized. The Conference must also formulate a plan of action to throw their weight behind the statement - something that has never been done in the 18 years that I have been incarcerated. A copy of the Conference's statement should be sent to every member of the House and Senate.
On November 21, 2003 I began my 19th year of a life sentence. Esther and I have had enough of excuses and procrastination. Time has run out, and once and for all the Conference must take forceful action to work towards justice and equality for me and for the Jewish People.
Esther and I look forward to your timely response.