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      Widespread Demands for Pollard's Release

      With massive call-ins to President Bush, hunger strikes and street protests all over the world, supporters of Jonathan Pollard refuse to accept the injustice of his continued incarceration.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 2/6/2007, 8:34 AM / Last Update: 2/6/2007, 10:23 AM

      American Jewish organizations have organized a massive nationwide campaign to call the White House every afternoon for the next two months and request/demand freedom for Pollard. The campaign is to last, if it does not succeed in attaining its goal beforehand, until after Passover, the holiday of freedom.

      The campaign, spearheaded by the National Council of Young Israel, is predicated on the fact that the White House tallies all incoming calls, "and so every single phone call makes a difference."

      A statement issued by Young Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner asks citizens concerned by Pollard's plight to "call daily between the hours of 11-2 pm EST, and encourage their family members and friends to do the same. Callers are reminded to expect the lines to be busy and to keep calling until they get through."

      The White House phone number is 1-202-456-1414.

      In addition, the Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel of America (the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah), Agudath Israel's Rabbinic Presidium, and nearly 100 members of its Conference of Synagogue Rabbis have issued a declaration calling on "all caring Jews... to convey the message to President Bush that Mr. Pollard has served long enough, and that the time has come to free him."

      Agudath Israel states that Pollard's plight "demands our urgent attention. [His] life sentence – a penalty far more severe than that imposed upon others who committed similar or even more serious crimes – is difficult to comprehend... At this time, it appears that all legal avenues through the judicial system have been shut off."

      "Only the President of the United States, by granting Mr. Pollard executive clemency, can save him from spending the rest of his life behind bars," Agudath Israel pleads.

      The Bnei Elim organization has announced a series of simultaneous lie-in-the-street rallies on behalf of Pollard. The rallies are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 PM EST, and 3 PM on the west coast of the U.S. Pollard supporters are asked to lie down or sit in the street at the designated location, in the hope of drawing the media to pass the "Free Pollard!" message along to President Bush. Locations include: Zion Square in Jerusalem (at 6:00 PM), Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets in NYC, Merrit Island and Cooper City in Florida, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Taylorsville, Utah.

      In addition, the Midrashah Tzionit, a Jewish educational center in Kiev, Ukraine, has declared the current month of Shvat a month of struggle for the release of Jonathan Pollard. The activities will include hunger-strikes and petitions to the Israeli government. Jews in the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are collecting signatures for a petition to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the government of Israel, demanding immediate and urgent steps to secure Pollard's release.

      Furthermore, on the 23rd of Shevat (February 11th), concerned Jews will hold a day-long hunger strike in Kiev, Odessa, Minsk, Moscow and other cities. On the same day, a Jonathan Pollard video-conference will be held, including participants from all over the former Soviet Union. The Russian-language website of the Midrashah Tzionit has posted much information on Pollard and on the efforts to free him.

      Jonathan Pollard, in failing health, is currently in his 22nd year of imprisonment, many of which were under very difficult conditions, for having given classified information to a friendly nation and ally, Israel.

      The Zionist Organization of America "welcomes" the recent statements by former CIA director James Woolsey and former top US. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross in favor of clemency for Pollard, and reiterated its own call for his release.

      Woolsey recently told Arutz-7, "Now that he has served 20 years of a prison sentence, my view is that a 20-year sentence, I think, is enough... I think the close relationship between United States and Israel as fellow democracies is also a consideration so, at this point, I think Pollard has served a long enough sentence."

      Dennis Ross was quoted in Canada's Jewish Tribune as stating that Pollard's sentence was excessive and that he should be released. "Pollard has been in jail for so long that whatever facts he might know would have little if any effect on national security today," Ross said. He added that he discussed the issue with President George W. Bush, but that Bush is showing no interest in releasing Pollard.

      U.S. judicial experts, too, have decried the injustice of the sentence. Federal Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the "government's breach of the plea agreement was a fundamental miscarriage of justice."

      Retired U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, a former chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, has written, "I am convinced that Mr. Pollard has expressed the appropriate remorse and served adequate time."

      Former Federal Prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, a former Mayor of New York City who may run for U.S. President, said the sentence was unfair and "way beyond the sentences served by other people that have been convicted of the same offense."