Hundreds Gather to Champion Cause of Jonathan and Anne Pollard
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Hundreds Gather to Champion Cause of Jonathan and Anne Pollard

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She is manacled and may only see her family in closely monitored conditions with no privacy. She is denied access to the press, not free to speak the truth of her conditions. Suffering from internal bleeding, she has been semiconscious with a 100-degree fever.

Other inmates have begged her family and lawyer to “please do something for her. They are doing everything they can to make her suffer.”

Such is the plight of Anne Henderson Pollard, members of her family say.

Pollard is currently serving two concurrent five-year prison terms in the federal penitentiary in Lexington, Ky., for acting an accessory to her husband, Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American convicted last March of spying for Israel.

Federal district court Judge Aubrey Robinson has been for six months “sitting on” a motion to have her sentence reduced, said her new lawyer, Nathan Dershowitz, who appeared Tuesday night at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx to launch a national campaign to ask President Reagan to pardon the Pollards.

Dershowitz was joined by his brother, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz., who is defending Jonathan Pollard, and all immediate members of the Pollard couple’s family.

It was the first time all the principals in the case appeared together in public, and they were welcomed by more than 500 supporters who came from New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington and several New Jersey communities for the occasion.


Nathan Dershowitz said he had “never seen such treatment of any inmate in an American prison,” regardless of the crime committed.

Anne Pollard suffers from a rare digestive disorder, biliary dyskinesia, and only a handful of doctors in this country are capable of treating the disease, said her mother, Elaine Henderson.

She has been “doubled over in pain and lost 60 pounds,” said her father, Bernard Henderson, his face saddened, his voice barely audible.

Bernard Henderson has written a book about the affair, “Pollard, The Spy’s Story” (Alpha Books, NY, Jan. 1988), in which he likens the case to the Dreyfus affair, in which a French Jew named Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason because he was a Jew.

“My daughter is still alive, but barely,” Henderson told the hushed audience. “It’s strange that in America, virtue has become a crime.”

Anne Pollard’s crime, he said, was predicated on her attempting to take documents from the couple’s home “which were not illegal. Jay (as the family calls Jonathan Pollard) had the legal right to those unclassified documents, because of his job as navy intelligence analyst,” he claimed.

Carol Pollard, Jonathan’s sister, recently returned with her parents from what they consider a highly successful trip to Israel, in which they met with Religious Affairs Minister Zevulun Hammer, Justice Minister Avraham Sharir, Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel, as well as with 30 members of the Knesset.

“Finally, Israel has an issue it agrees on,” Carol Pollard said she was told, claiming that the Knesset is planning a petition to President Reagan asking him to pardon both Pollards. The family, and David Turner, director of the National Coalition for Justice for the Pollards, claims to have received a very warm reception from Israeli people throughout the country.


Rabbi Avraham Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute, who moderated the evening’s program, said, “The life sentence without parole levied against Jonathan far exceeds any crime he may have committed in passing information to Israel vital to her security. . . The sentence clearly reflects strong elements of anti-Semitism in the Pentagon.”

Alan Dershowitz echoed this observation, calling the severity of Jonathan Pollard’s sentence “the greatest miscarriage of American justice.”

Pollard’s “disproportionate sentence,” Dershowitz said, can be directly ascribed to the Pentagon in the person of Caspar Weinberger, the former defense secretary, who, the lawyer claimed, refused to produce a “secret document” alleging that Pollard’s deed damaged American security.

The Harvard law professor challenged Weinberger to a debate to prove Pollard had hurt American security.

“I am here and we all are here as good Americans and good Jews to complain about a terrible injustice. And we don’t have to choose sides,” he said, angrily rejecting the notion that American Jews are caught between dual loyalties to the United States and Israel.


Without minimizing the charge of espionage, Dershowitz decried the unusual sentence “for two people who tried to serve both countries.”

Although a “definitive defense strategy” on behalf of the Pollards has not yet been planned, Dershowitz urged supporters of the couple to “join us.”

Weiss said the campaign will include letters to Reagan and members of Congress requesting a pardon for the Pollards, as well as letters to Jewish communal leaders requesting their involvement. Petitions and financial contributions, the group said, may be sent to the National Coalition for Justice for the Pollards, 177 Harold St., Staten Island 10314.

Morris Pollard, father of Jonathan who is a professor of microbiology at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., said he had known nothing about his son’s involvement prior to his arrest. But he defended him for having done “what he thought he should” to protect Israel’s security.

Admitting after the program that Israel’s leaders had betrayed the couple, he said, nonetheless, “I cannot condone any American Jews who stop supporting Israel because of three or four leaders. Support the Israeli people,” he urged.

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