NEW YORK (JTA) – Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations met with convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
The Jan. 24 meeting was held at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where Pollard has served 27 years of a life sentence for espionage.
“We returned with a renewed commitment to work for Mr. Pollard’s release from incarceration in accordance with longstanding Conference policy," said Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein in a statement Friday. "We see this as a serious humanitarian issue as well as a legal matter."
American Jewish groups have long sought Pollard’s release, arguing that he has received a sentence far harsher than others convicted of similar espionage crimes. Pollard also has expressed remorse and is said to be suffering from multiple medical ailments.
In recent years, a renewed push on his behalf has gained support from a number of members of Congress as well as former U.S. government officials.
The Presidents Conference, the main Jewish umbrella group on matters of foreign policy, called on its member organizations to work for Pollard’s release.