Vaad HaRabbonim of Far Rockaway to Clinton: Pollard is Modern-Day Dreyfus

Vaad HaRabbonim of Far Rockaway
737 Empire Avenue
Far Rockaway, N.Y. 11691

April 6, 1994

President Clinton
White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President;

As chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the Far Rockaway community, comprising 14 congregations with almost 12,000 congregants, I am compelled to express to you our very deep disappointment, to put it mildly, over your decision not to commute the life sentence of Jonathan Pollard. Government agencies hiding behind a cover of "classified secrets" is reminiscent of the equally ugly Dreyfus case that sullied the name of France for decades, and is still remembered and studied in schools all over the world. There is no doubt that in time the Pollard case will be exactly compared to that case.

You had, and still have, the opportunity to undo a most biased handling of this relatively mild case of espionage, blown out of proportion by vicious people like Caspar Weinberger, and prove that you are indeed the kind of man we thought you were when we voted for you as president. The harsh sentence meted out to this man, after promises of leniency, is unprecedented in our history, and stands in stark contrast to those given to spies convicted of espionage for Egypt, Ghana, Greece, and South Africa, to name just a few. The record is open to all, and historians will have a ball with this information soon, and condemn equally those who meted out this sentence, and all presidents who were content to let it continue. Even Benjamin Hooks (President of the NAACP) has written, "I have rarely encountered a case in which government arbitrariness was so clear cut and inexcusable".

We appeal to you once again to show the courage and fairness you are capable of, and have this man released from his excessive sentence, and reaffirm our faith in this land (and its leadership) as the land of equality, which gives to bigotry no sanction.


Rabbi, Dr. Yitzchak M. Goodman