WASHINGTON (JTA) – Robert Wexler, one of President Obama’s closest Jewish confidantes, urged him to release Jonathan Pollard.
The July 25 letter from Wexler, a former Democratic congressman from Florida, was released Friday by advocates for clemency for the imprisoned spy for Israel.
One of a recent flood of appeals from Congress members and former government officials, Wexler’s appeal is significant because it is the first to come from within Obama’s coterie.
Wexler, who now directs the Center for Middle East Peace, was the Obama campaign’s chief Jewish proxy in the 2008 election and remains close to the White House.
"Mr. Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for disclosing classified information to an American ally," Wexler writes. "Having spent over 25 years in incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, and having expressed remorse for his crimes, it is my humble opinion that Mr. Pollard has served sufficient time — both in terms of punishment for his crimes and in terms of deterrence to would-be perpetrators."
Pollard, arrested in 1985, was convicted and sentenced to life in 1987 for spying for Israel. He recently successfully underwent kidney-related surgery.