A group called “Justice For Jonathan Pollard” is running an ad on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, calling for the release of the former spy, who received a life sentence for passing U.S. secrets to Israel.
The group claims to be endorsed by Pollard and his current wife, Esther, and writes on its site that Pollard was wrongfully convicted because he “discovered that information vital to Israel’s security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the U.S. national security establishment,” and “Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.”Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst. was arrested in 1985 and convicted in 1987 for passing classified U.S. military documents to Israel, reportedly for $1,500 a month. His wife, Anne Pollard, received five years for helping him.
Israel didn’t admit until 1998 that Pollard spied for them. He had become an Israeli citizen in 1995.
A shorter version of the following video ran on MSNBC yesterday, citing a number of former government officials who have called for Pollard’s release. The ad says that “25 years is enough,” and Pollard’s sentence is “much longer than anyone else convicted of the same offense.”
There’s been a renewed push on Pollard’s behalf over the past month or so, with a number of former U.S. officials calling for Obama to pardon him. Among them, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State George Schultz, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former CIA director R. James Woolsey.
Back in November, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) led a coalition of Democratic leaders who said that Pollard’s release would be an “affirmation of the strong commitment the U.S. has to Israel.”
Bibi Netanyahu also recently called for his pardon.
A call to the number listed on the Justice For Jonathan Pollard website led to the office of a group called the Toronto Zionist Council, which directed me to an e-mail address that did not immediately return my request for comment.