Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pollard Must Be Released Immediately

The deteriorating health of Jonathan Pollard creates a crisis of conscience for the Obama Administration. Without freedom, Jonathan Pollard's very life may be at stake.  If, God forbid, he were to die in federal prison in such a case of an exaggerated sentence, without clear due process, then the administration under whose watch such a tragedy occurred would go down in infamy as the consummate force behind turning a sad tale into an historic Dreyfus Affair, American style.

US Congressman Barney Frank urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday to commute the sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to the 25 years of his life sentence that he has served, to help Israel move forward in the peace process.

Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, initiated a letter two months ago in which dozens of congressmen expressed support for clemency for Pollard. In the letter, he wrote that freeing Pollard would create goodwill among Israelis that could be helpful when the people of Israel make difficult decisions on the peace process. (

The sum and substance is that Netanyahu's upcoming formal request is but a formality.  Pollard should already be free in the minds of many people.  President Obama should free Pollard today, if he really wants to curry Goodwill from Israel.

“If such a request were formally made, there’s obviously a legal process that would be undertaken to evaluate it,”
US State Department spokesman Philip J.
Crowley said. The US understands “this is an important issue” in Israel, he said.

What exactly does the Obama Administration understand about this matter? Do they realize that we are at a different point in the history of the Pollard incarceration than that which any Presidency has faced? In a case where many US prosecutors and judges have viewed the sentence as excessive, a man's life is at stake and everyone knows, it does not have to be if President Obama does not want it to be.  With such power comes authority and with authority, responsibility, i.e., the potential to take the blame.

Pollard is becoming more than just an Israeli issue.  Humanitarian concerns are making this an American issue as well.  If Netanyahu's official request were to be turned down
, God forbid, it would have a devastating effect on Goodwill toward the Obama Administration, and not just in Israel.

From what I've learned of the case, Jonathan Pollard probably deserves a complete pardon. A restoration of his honor, in consideration of the long overdue end to his imprisonment. From what I know about politics, anything less than a commutation would certainly go down as a mark against the Obama legacy.