Yet another grass-roots call-in effort has been launched on behalf of Jonathan Pollard – probably the most critical one of all.
The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) has kicked off the campaign, in which Americans all over the country are asked to call or contact President Barack Obama on a daily basis to request the release of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is in the 26th year of a prison sentence for a crime – passing information to a friendly country – that generally nets 2-4 years of prison time.
Participants are encouraged to call the White House between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM EST at 202-456-1414, to fax at 202-456-2461, or to send an e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Similar call-in campaigns have been waged in the past, including in February 2007, the summer of 2007, and before former President George W. Bush prepared the list of prisoners he planned to pardon as he left office in early 2009. However, the current campaign appears to have the best chance of success, as it complements a flurry of activity in recent weeks on behalf of Pollard.
Among the numerous legal professionals, jurists, former U.S. administration officials, and elected officials who have openly called on Barak to commute Pollard's sentence are former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Senator and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and Dennis Ross.
Even more significantly, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has formally asked Obama to free Pollard – after years of efforts by Pollard supporters to have an Israeli prime minister take this step.
In addition, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 prominent Jewish and Christian religious and communal leaders have signed a letter to President Obama, asking him to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard.
NCYI notes that Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse both publicly and privately. His health has deteriorated significantly over the decades in prison, and he was recently rushed to a hospital for an emergency operation. In addition, NCYI emphasizes, “Pollard's life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations.”
"There are people across the United States and around the world who have expressed interest in helping Jonathan Pollard," said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel. "This grassroots campaign gives people the opportunity to participate in a respectful and coordinated effort intended to help enable Jonathan Pollard to return home to Israel and reunite with his family after having spent a quarter of a century in a prison cell."