JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former CIA director James Woolsey said anti-Semitism could be part of the reason the United States has refused to release spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.
Woolsey noted in an interview Saturday night with Israel’s Channel 10 that Americans who spied for other countries were freed after much shorter sentences.
“I certainly don’t think that it is universally true, but in the case of some American individuals, I think there is anti-Semitism at work here,” said Woolsey, who served as head of the CIA during the Clinton administration in the 1990s.
Pollard is in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel while a civilian U.S. Navy analyst.
Woolsey said that most in the American intelligence community considers the Pollard case “ancient history, which is one reason that Pollard ought to be released.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, last month said in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio that the continued imprisonment of Pollard is “on the verge of anti-Semitism.”
A week ago, Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. deputy national security advisor, said in an interview with i24 news, an international 24-hour news and current affairs television channel based in Tel Aviv, that Pollard should be released.
An increasing number of figures involved in government when Pollard was given his life sentence in 1987 now say his sentence should be commuted. The calls to release Pollard have intensified in the last year, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both U.S. political parties.
Pollard is up for parole in less than two years.