Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said on Thursday that if he is elected President, he would consider freeing Jonathan Pollard.
In an interview with CNN, Gingrich said, “I’m prepared to say my bias is towards clemency and I would like to review it. He’s been in [prison] a very long time, but we’re pretty tough about people spying in the United States, and I also have a study under way to compare his sentence with comparable people, who have been sentenced to very long sentences for comparable deeds.”
Gingrich thus added his voice to the hundreds of others who have appealed for Pollard, who has been imprisoned for 26 years, to be released.
Most recently, a group of eighteen prominent former United States senators wrote to President Barack Obama and asked that he free Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for a single count of passing classified information to an ally - a crime which usually carries a maximum prison term of two to four years.
“We do not condone espionage, nor do we underestimate the gravity of Pollard’s crime,” the senators wrote in their letter to the President, dated October 26, 2011. “But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice.”
In the same interview, Gingrich also promised that as President, he would help Israel plan an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“I’ve said publicly that I would rather plan a joint operation conventionally…If the Israelis told me in advance [of a planned strike on Iran], I would say, ‘How can we help you?’” he said. “I’d provide them intelligence, I’d provide them logistics support.”
He added, “An Iranian nuclear weapon is potentially a second Holocaust. Israel is a very urban country. Two or three nuclear weapons wipe out most of the Jews who live in Israel. I believe [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad would do it in a heartbeat. When you have people who put on bodysuits to walk into a crowded mall to blow themselves up, you’d better believe they’d put on a nuclear weapon.”
“I think the world needs to understand: Iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon,” Gingrich said. “All the world can decide is whether they help us peacefully stop it, or they force us to use violence. But Iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon.”
Gingrich also expressed support for Israel at a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington on Wednesday, where he said that, if elected President, he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In his address Gingrich also said, “Can you imagine if our next-door neighbor were firing missiles at us and we said ‘Oh, can we come to the table?’ How about saying to Hamas: ‘Give up violence and come to the table?’”
He added, “It’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is, and it’s got to stop.”