Phone calls flooded the White House, Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren appealed to the State Department, and hundreds protested at the American embassy in Tel Aviv, but U.S. President Barack Obama remains silent as Jonathan Pollard remains in jail hours before his father is to be buried.
A switchboard operator at the White House on Sunday morning – shortly after midnight in Washington – said that “no one is available to take a message for president” until the morning, about two hours before Prof. Morris Pollard is to be buried in the Midwestern state of Indiana.
His son Jonathan has languished in American prisons for more than 25 years as he continues to serve a life sentence for the offense of passing on classified information for Israel, a crime that normally carries no more than four years in jail.
The Obama administration has been ominously silent on increasing calls from American officials to free Pollard. Evidence has mounted that his trial was all but fair, and the extraordinary harsh sentence has been criticized by Congressman and former members of American Cabinets.
Pollard’s father, who died Saturday at the age of 95 in the city of South Bend, was a professor and award-winning microbiologist at the University of Notre Dame for five decades. He is to be buried at 10 a.m. (6 p.m. in Israel).
He was allowed to speak to his father shortly before he died, but the United States did not answer humanitarian appeals to allow Jonathan to visit his father while he was still alive.
Last January, Prof. Pollard told the South Bend Tribune, “I can hope that justice will prevail” and that his son be released before his father’s death. He said, "It's such an overwhelming miscarriage of justice that I keep waking up fighting with people.”
It appears that the Obama administration also is denying Jonathan Pollard the merit of attending the final resting place of his father.