Bnai Brith on Pollard and "Confidence Builders"
Justice4JP Release - July 20, 2000
The following letter to President Clinton by three Presidents of Bnai Brith International - current, immediate past and past president - calling on Mr. Clinton yet again to release Jonathan Pollard, is being released publicly for the first time below.
The three presidents, Richard Heideman, Tommy Baer, and Seymour Reich, question the the unequal treatment of Jonathan Pollard and the grossly disproportionate sentence that he continues to serve. They protest that that the US has approved of "confidence builders" setting murderers and terrorists free...yet the "harsh, inexplicable treatment of Jonathan Pollard, who committed no violent act against anyone, continues."
That Bnai Brith has provided this letter to Justice4JP for release at this time, while intense negotiations continue at the Camp David Summit, is significant.
William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 14.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
March 16, 2000
Dear President Clinton
As you might recall, we have written to you several times urging you to release Jonathan Jay Pollard from federal prison on humanitarian grounds. In light of the reported completion of an executive branch review of material bearing on the case, we are renewing our request. Frankly, Pollard's continued incarceration - by far the longest time served by an American for spying for a friendly nation - is inexplicable.
Let us briefly reiterate our previous statements in favor of Pollard's release now, and add a new and pertinent observation:
- Jonathan Pollard was charged with and pled guilty to one count of conveying classified information to Israel, a U.S. ally - not with treason or spying for an enemy;
- He cooperated with investigators after his arrest and accepted a guilty plea in exchange for a "substantial sentence" - usually up to 10 years;
- The average time served for such a conviction is two to four years. Pollard is in his 15th year of a life sentence;
- His punishment - life behind bars - was imposed only after then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's unusual intervention with the trial judge, filing an affidavit that erroneously accused Pollard of treason apparently in response to an unusual sua sponte request of the trial judge without proper notice to, or review by, Pollard's counsel, in violation of Pollard's constitutional rights;
- The "grave damage" Pollard was, and sometimes still is, alleged to have caused U.S. national security has never been substantiated publicly.
To these previous points, let us note that since our last letters, you have granted amnesty to Puerto Rican terrorists involved in violent attacks against this country. Since our last letters, Israel has freed hundreds of Palestinian Arab terrorists - many with the blood of other Arabs on their hands, some with the blood of Jews. The United States has approved these releases as "confidence builders" in the peace process. Yet the harsh, inexplicable treatment of Jonathan Pollard, who committed no violent act against anyone, continues.
The Pollard case stands apart from Arab-Israeli negotiations. But freeing him now is both long overdue and particularly opportune. His release on humanitarian grounds could only strengthen relations between the United States and Israel, two friendly nations with much still to accomplish together.
We look forward to your early, and favorable, reply on this important matter,
Richard D. Heideman - International President
Tommy P. Baer - Immediate Past President
Seymour D. Reich - Past President