In the waning hours of George W. Bush’s presidency, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), in conjunction with 21 of his legislative colleagues throughout New York City, today affixed their signatures to a letter sent to President Bush beseeching him for a pardon for Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is now serving the 24th year of a life sentence imposed for spying for Israel.
Joining Assemblyman Hikind in the call for Pollard’s release are: Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny; Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz; Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz; Assemblyman Alan Maisel; Assemblyman Rory Lancman; Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn; Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs; Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein; Assemblyman Mark Weprin; Assemblyman Joe Lentol; Senator Eric Adams; Senator Jeffrey Klein; Senator Kevin Parker; Senator Diane Savino; Senator John Sampson; Councilman Mike Nelson; Councilman David Weprin; Councilman David Yassky; Councilman Simcha Felder; Councilman Leroy Comrie and Councilman Matthieu Eugene.
The legislators’ letter states in part, “As elected officials representing diverse constituencies throughout New York City, we write to you concerning a grave injustice which can only be made right by you. With the end of your presidency drawing near, we ask for your clemency on behalf of Mr. Jonathan Pollard in the form of a presidential pardon. While we in no way condone his acts of espionage, nor underestimate the gravity of Mr. Pollard’s crime, the lifetime sentence imposed on Mr. Pollard is unduly severe and inconsistent with the sentences awarded to other Americans convicted of similar offenses. We believe after more than two decades, any knowledge Mr. Pollard possessed no longer poses a danger to national security, and considering the exceptional circumstances surrounding his case, he has long since paid his debt to society.”
Hikind reflected on his personal visit with Pollard at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina in 2007 stating, “I can attest to the fact that Jonathan is remorseful for his actions. He acknowledges he broke the law. All he is asking for is proportionality, and today, we asked President Bush to give him that much. I hope and pray to God that our request is granted.”
According to the official Jonathan Pollard website, Pollard was a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst who discovered that information vital to Israel's security was being deliberately withheld by the United States in the mid-1980s. Based on a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, Israel was legally entitled to have this intelligence which concerned Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities being developed for use against Israel.
Pollard’s superiors refused to divulge this intelligence, thereby placing Israeli lives in jeopardy. When his efforts to end the United States’ covert policy toward Israel proved unsuccessful, Pollard began to give information to Israel directly. In 1985, his actions were discovered by the United States government. He was indicted on only one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States.
Pollard never had a trial. He received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally. The median sentence for this offense is two to four years, and yet, Pollard is now in his 24th year in prison.
Hikind urges people to continue the calling campaign on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. “People should never think their call doesn’t matter,” Hikind said. “Every single one counts. The White House tallies all calls and submits the nature of the calls to President Bush.”
Contact The White House at:
202.456.1414 or 202.456.1111
Calls are accepted Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM EST.