(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, criticized the continued imprisonment of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, calling it “on the verge of anti-Semitism.”
Foxman was quoted on the Pollard case in several Israeli news outlets on Tuesday, and echoed a statement he issued earlier this month.
Someone is trying to teach the American-Jewish community a loyalty lesson, Foxman asserted in an interview Tuesday with Israel’s Army Radio.
“That to me is on the verge of anti-Semitism,” he said.
In a Jan. 16 statement, Foxman said that when Pollard was sentenced in a plea bargain 28 years ago, many claimed that the sentence was anti-Semitic. An ADL investigation concluded, however, that there was no basis for such an accusation.
Still, Foxman said, the fact that Pollard remains in prison despite having spied for an ally shows that there is an “ongoing vendetta” against him.
Foxman added, “If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.”
The statement was in response to an editorial in Tablet Magazine calling for clemency for Pollard.
Foxman called for Pollard’s parole on humanitarian grounds and said his continued imprisonment was “an effort to intimidate American Jews.”
“And it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community,” he said, “one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.”
An increasing number of figures involved in government when Pollard was given a 1987 life sentence for spying for Israel now believe his sentence should be commuted and have been calling for clemency.