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Protest: Let Pollard Attend His Father's Funeral

Dozens of protesters gather outside U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, call President Obama to release Jonathan Pollard.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 6/19/2011, 9:38 PM / Last Update: 6/20/2011, 1:12 AM

Dozens of protesters gathered on Sunday outside the United States embassy in Tel Aviv in a protest calling for President Barack Obama to release Jonathan Pollard.

“America should look back at the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and act accordingly,” former Rehovot Magistrate’s Court Judge Haran Feinstein, who took part in the protest, told INN TV. “According to the Fourteenth Amendment, each person has a right to equal protection of the law and due process of law. All these things were denied and are still being denied to Pollard.

“I have a list of 35 or 40 people who were convicted of similar crimes,” he continued. “Only three were severely punished: Pollard, Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed back in the 50s. How come only three Jews were punished all the way?”

Itamar, another participant, said that he thinks Israelis are “starting to become very angry” over the treatment Pollard has received. “Pollard should have been freed a very long time ago. His punishment is irrational,” he said.

“What Obama’s administration is doing to Pollard is worse than the way Soviets treated their own dissidents,” said Elana of the Free Pollard Organization. “We’re asking Obama to let Jonathan go for a few hours to attend his father’s funeral in the same country where he already spent ten times more than the average sentence for his crime. We regard Obama’s behavior now as absolutely inhumane, ruthless, cruel and hypocritical because he tries to show himself as a defender of human rights.”

In the past 24 hours, pressure has mounted on Obama to release Pollard so that he can attend the funeral of his father, who died over the weekend at the age of 95.

Morris Pollard had been hospitalized for quite some time, during which activists on his behalf attempted to no avail to obtain permission for his son to visit his father before he dies.

A petition initiated by Kadima MK Nachman Shai was signed by 75 Israeli MKs and asked Obama to allow Pollard to visit his dying father. It was supposed to have been handed to Vice President Joe Biden shortly, but came too late. Shai, who expressed his sorrow that the petition had not reached the U.S. administration in time for Pollard to visit his father, said it would be reworded to appeal that Pollard be allowed to attend the funeral.

Meanwhile, a massive phone-in to the White House asking to let Pollard attend the funeral was initiated Sunday.

The main desk phone number at the White House is 202-456-1414. Activists said that there is no time for e-mails and told supporters, “The number to the main desk does not take messages; however, if numerous people are calling non-stop, the message will reverberate throughout the White House and it will have an effect.”

Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu also joined the effort, saying he will submit a formal diplomatic request on behalf of Pollard.