Daily Israel Report

GOP Congressman Asks for Pollard Clemency

Congressman Michael Grimm (NY) has become the first Republican in House of Representatives to ask President Obama to grant clemency to Pollard.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/31/2011, 12:45 PM / Last Update: 3/31/2011, 12:36 PM

Congressman Michael Grimm from New York has become the first Republican in the House of Representatives to express support for Jonathan Pollard and call upon President Obama to grant him clemency.

Grimm, a first-term legislator representing Staten Island, joins a growing list of American politicians and other public figures calling for Pollard’s release.

In a YouTube video posted this week, Grimm relates that he visited Pollard in prison about two weeks ago, and that “26 years of his life are gone, and he won’t get them back.”

“As a former FBI agent,” Grimm continues, “and someone who has fought for justice most of my life, we have to acknowledge that the penalty does not necessarily meet the crime; most would say that it was excessive.” He said that many public figures "close to the investigation" have gone on record that Pollard has served his time and should be released. “I am working with many people in Washington to have justice prevail [and] to have him released. There is no question that what he did was wrong, but he has paid his debt to the United States…, and at this point, we are looking to the president to do the right thing and grant him the opportunity to resume his life and return to Israel.”

The constantly growing list of prominent Americans who have recently called for Pollard’s release includes the following: 

  • Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle
  • Former CIA Director James Woolsey
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz 
  • Presidential candidate and ex-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
  • Black Hebrew Rabbi Capers Funnye, Jr. (first cousin once removed of Barack’s wife)
  • Former White House Legal Counsel Bernard Nussbaum
  • Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
  • Former U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis Deconcini
  • Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Lawrence Korb
  • Former U.S. Navy Cryptologist Major Donald Levy
  • Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Phillip Heymann
  • Obama's Mentor Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree
  • a host of members of the U.S. Congress
  • and over 500 religious and communal leaders.  

This week, 100 legislators of the New York State Assembly, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, have affixed their signatures to a letter sent to President Obama beseeching him for a pardon for Jonathan Pollard. 

Also joining the list in recent weeks have been Henry Kissinger, Senator John McCain, former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, and actor Jon Voight. Gilad Shalit’s father Noam and 19 former Soviet Prisoners of Zion have also publicly called for Pollard’s release of late.