WASHINGTON (Feb. 23)
— The North American Jewish Students’ Network has begun a movement demanding the release from prison of Jonathan Jay Pollard and his wife, Anne Henderson Pollard, because they feel that Jewish leaders have failed to act.
“The students started the Soviet Jewry movement when the Jewish community was silent,” Rabbi Avraham Weiss, chairman of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, told some 80 college students demonstrating on the steps of the Justice Department Tuesday.
“We are starting a national Pollard movement, and we are demanding in front of the Justice Department, ‘Free Pollard Now.’”
Anne Pollard, who was convicted in 1987 as an accomplice with her husband in supplying classified U.S. documents to Israel, suffers from a rare gastrointestinal disorder and has lost an estimated 60 pounds since her incarceration.
Weiss led the students from the Justice Department to the Washington Hilton, where a National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council lunch was ending.
He urged the 100 NJCRAC delegates present to help free the Pollards and led the students in cheers and Hebrew song.
The students carried placards that read: “Bush: The Blood of Anne is on Your Hands,” and “The God of Israel is a God of Truth and Vengeance.” Most of the students were from the New York City area.
At the Justice Department, Jacob Davidson, the network president, urged his fellow students to contact their colleges, Jewish communities, synagogues and rabbis to do more for the Pollards.
LEADERS CANNOT BE SILENT
“It is the same thing that happened in World War II,” Davidson said. “But it is our responsibility to say that Jewish leaders cannot be silent.”
However, some major U.S. Jewish groups have apparently been following the case.
Jess Hordes, Washington representative of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said his group is “continuing to monitor the situation,” particularly Pollard’s health.
In addition, one Jewish leader said a strategy group, under the umbrella of the NJCRAC, met with a dozen representatives of the Justice Department a few weeks ago, mainly from the Bureau of Prisons.
The focus of the meeting was a “thorough-going discussion of her treatment,” the source said.
The groups raised “all of the issues” related to her health, and came away with the sense that the “government had made a very credible case.”
He said the groups believe that the “prison system had made a major effort to help her out but that she is being uncooperative.”
The source said NJCRAC will shortly issue a report on the status of Pollard’s treatment in prison.
Kenneth Bandler, a NJCRAC spokesman, confirmed that an ad hoc committee was created “to look into this matter what the Jewish community’s response should be.”
At Tuesday’s rally, Davidson, saying that he represents 20 percent of the U.S. Jewish community, asked:
“What about our own parents? What about our own Jewish organizations that have said nothing, that have abandoned Jonathan, that have called him a political liability because of questions of dual loyalty?”
The Pollard case is “the American Dreyfuss affair,” Weiss said. “Anne Pollard should not be in prison for a day.
“She is not permitted to shower, she is not permitted to go to the bathroom without someone standing by. Is this Russia or this America?” Weiss said.
“And while it is true that Jonathan Jay violated the law as well… he should have been given about two years,” he said.
Weiss led them up the steps to the entrance of the Justice Department, where they asked to see Attorney General Richard Thornburgh or one of his representatives.
A security officer responded that no one was available, but that he would forward any letter or petition. The students left a few of the posters on the steps of the building.
Davidson said he had requested a meeting with Justice Department officials a few weeks ago but was turned down.