Jewish Leaders Blame P.M. Barak for Failure on Pollard

Sources: CNN, JTA, Justice for JP, IMRA, Jlem Post and others. August 15, 1999

Approximately 30 Jewish leaders met with President Clinton on Thursday, August 12, 1999.

In light of the President's recent decision to release 11 Puerto Rican terrorists who were responsible for more than 130 bombings against the U.S. it was expected that Jewish leaders would use the meeting as an opportunity to request that the President demonstrate similar consideration towards the Jewish community, by commuting the grossly disproportionate sentence of Jonathan Pollard.

At the 90 minute meeting, the Jewish leaders aired their concerns on a number of issues. The fate of Jonathan Pollard was not one of them.

Several Jewish leaders who attended the meeting with Clinton later told sources close to the Pollard case that they were taking their cue from Prime Minister Barak. The leaders claim that they interpret Barak's recently expressed policy of "quiet diplomacy" as "say nothing, do nothing about Pollard."

Because the meeting and its agenda were scheduled well in advance of Barak's recent visit to America where the prime minister revived a 10 year old failed policy of "quiet diplomacy", the failure of the Jewish leaders to raise the fate of Pollard with the President cannot honestly be blamed on Barak. In the nearly 15 years that Pollard has been incarcerated, not once has any American Jewish leader ever put Pollard on the official agenda for any meeting at the White House - a message that has not been missed by the Administration.

Rosh Ha'Shana and the Jewish Day of Judgment are just around the corner. Did the Almighty put the Jewish leaders in a room with the American President to see if just one of them would have the moral integrity to act on the mitzvah of Pidyan Shvuyim *. Had just one leader courageously whispered the Jewish community's concern for Pollard in the president's ear, even the interests of "quiet diplomacy" would have been served.

With characteristic consistency, the Jewish leaders did not miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity and to blame someone else - in this case, Prime Minister Barak.