Conservative Jews call for Pollard clemency


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Conservative Jewish movement, for the first time, is urging President Bush to consider clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

"We do not minimize the treasonous nature of Pollard’s espionage, for which he was rightfully arrested, tried, and sentenced," wrote United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism International President Raymond Goldstein and Executive Vice President Rabbi Jerome Epstein in a Dec. 24 letter to the president. "But he has been imprisoned since 1985, and has served far more time in prison than anyone else convicted of espionage, even those who were in the pay of enemies of the United States."

"Given the disproportionate length of his sentence, we strongly believe that it would be an act of kindness consonant with the deepest American values to grant him clemency," said the letter.

The missive comes after the USCJ’s board of directors passed a Dec. 21 resolution calling for the president to commute the sentence of Pollard, who was convicted of one count of delivering classified information to Israel. The movement’s rabbinical arm, the Rabbinical Assembly, adopted a similar resolution in 1995.

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