Saperstein calls for Pollard clemency

A top Reform Jewish leader is urging President Bush to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard.

"As we noted in a 1993 Union of Reform Judaism resolution, we neither condone breaking the law, nor do we make this request out of a belief that Jonathan Pollard is innocent of the crime for which he is charged," wrote Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in a November 26 letter to Bush. "However, Mr. Pollard’s sentence is grossly disproportionate to sentences that others have recieved for comparable espionage offenses. Only those who spied for enemy nations have received life sentences."

Saperstein made a similar call for clemency for Pollard at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and has spoken out on the issue at other times during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after pleading guilty to one count of delivering classifed information to Israel.

Here’s a link to the 1993 URJ resolution and, below, the full letter:

Dear Mr. President:

 

On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, I write to urge you to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.

 

As we noted in a 1993 Union for Reform Judaism resolution, we neither condone breaking the law, nor do we make this request out of a belief that that Jonathan Pollard is innocent of the crime for which he was charged. However, Mr. Pollard’s sentence is grossly disproportionate to sentences that others have received for comparable espionage offenses. Only those who spied for enemy nations have received life sentences. No other individual convicted of disclosing information to an ally has received such a sentence.

 

For more than 20 years, Mr. Pollard has remained in prison, including significant time spent in solitary confinement. In the interest of justice, it is now time to commute Mr. Pollard’s sentence to time served.

 

Sincerely,

/s/

Rabbi David Saperstein

NEXT STORY