Rabbi Weiss Decries Silence On S. Korean Sentencing

July 15, 1997

Last Sunday news broke of the 9 year sentence handed down to Robert Kim, a former Naval Intelligence analyst convicted of passing classified information to South Korea.

According to the New York Times story, Kim agreed to a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of a life sentence.

The similarities to the Jonathan Pollard case are obvious. Just like Kim, Pollard passed secret Government information to a friendly country. But Pollard received a life sentence, time in a hospital for the criminally insane and years of solitary confinement, while Kim gets nine years.

"Where is the outcry from Jewish defense organizations?" asked Rabbi Avi Weiss, national president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, and Jonathan's US rabbi.

"Our policy is not to criticize other Jewish organizations publicly, and for months we've held back, but now the dam has burst," Rabbi Weiss asserted.

"It is inconcievable that groups which purport to defend civil and human rights remain silent as a Jew rots in prison year after year, while others convicted of similar crimes receive far lesser sentences."

"The Jewish defense organizations barrage the airwaves and cyberspace with statements every day," noted Judy Balint, national director of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns-Amcha. "Just last week, for instance, the ADL let the world know that it was pleased that the Slovakian government finally agreed to withdraw an anti-Semitic textbook from the national school system which denied the persecution of Slovakian Jews during World War II. Yet they remain silent on the miscarriage of justice in the Pollard case. It's nothing less than unconscionable," Balint said.

"We call upon the membership of the defense organizations and the Conference of Presidents to protest to their leadership in the strongest terms. If American Jewish organizations dedicated to civil liberties and Jewish rights do not speak out in the Pollard case now, they risk losing all credibility," Rabbi Weiss stated.

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