Pollard Supporters Urged to Lobby Clinton As Clemency Seems Unlikely

Sue Fishkoff - The Jerusalem Post - December 8, 1993

Supporters of Jonathan Pollard are being urged to flood the White House in an attempt to lobby President Clinton to commute Pollard's sentence. This followed a statement Monday by administration officials that Clinton's advisers are recommending that the president not grant clemency to Pollard.

Despite an intense lobbying campaign by much of the American Jewish community in recent months, and a personal plea for clemency by Prime Minister Rabin, the officials said it appears likely that Clinton will accede to the recommendations against clemency from within his own administration.

Federal prosecutors in the US Justice Department and CIA analysts are reportedly the most vocal forces opposing a presidential pardon for Pollard.

Monday's announcement of the likely presidential position was oddly worded, with administration officials suggesting that Clinton had not yet made his final decision, and could still be influenced by protests.

Pollard supporters are interpreting that statement to mean that Clinton would like to free Pollard before his earliest 1995 parole date, but needs a massive outpouring of public support to buttress such a decision against opposition from within his own administration. One supporter understood the equivocal announcement as "a fairly obvious and helpful request for bursts of protest in support of Jonathan Pollard."

Theodore Boutrous, one of Pollard's attorneys, blasted Monday's announcement. "The prosecutors agreed in 1987 not to seek a life sentence," he said. "They recognized then that the information he passed to Israel did not warrant a life sentence. How can they possibly argue the opposite now? It's hypocritical."

Boutrous urged Pollard supporters to swamp the White House with protests. "They have to make it known they feel strongly about this," he stated.

Boutrous said that a presidential pardon for Pollard coming at this critical juncture in the Middle East peace process would be a welcome American gesture. "It is the ideal time to heal this wound in the Israel-US relationship," he said. "Jonathan has already served a longer prison term than any person convicted of a comparable offense."

Seymour Reich, president of the American Zionist Movement, dismissed a New York Times report that suggested "fresh details" of Pollard's crime had been revealed in a recent Time magazine article.

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