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Hoenlein: 'Time That Pollard Be Let Go'

A top American Jewish leader who recently visited imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in a U.S. prison says “enough is enough.”
By Chana Ya'ar and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/30/2012, 11:41 PM

A top American Jewish leader who recently visited imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in a U.S. jail says “enough is enough.” Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, visited the former spy last Friday.

Hoenlein joined a delegation that went to visit Pollard at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where he has served 27 years of a life sentence for a single charge of passing classified information to an ally – Israel.

“We felt it was especially propitious after our meeting with the vice president,” said Hoenlein. “He's a remarkable man... when you think of somebody who's been 27 years in prison -- seven of those in solitary confinement – it's almost superhuman to be somebody who remains as coherent and as intelligent and as calm in his approach as he is,” he said.

Regardless, Hoenlein added, “Enough is enough. It's time that he be let go. There is no justification that we can see for keeping him any longer.”

However, it is not at all clear that Pollard is likely to be freed any time soon. Despite heavy pressure from Jewish leaders, Vice President Joe Biden, is vehemently opposed to releasing the former Israeli agent.

Biden, who has trumpeted his much-vaunted ties to the Jewish community as part of his campaign effort for the Obama administration, reluctantly agreed to meet with a “small group” of Jewish leaders at the White House recently over the issue.

Hoenlein was among those who met with Biden, citing a “very meaningful exchange” that lasted over an hour. He declined to reveal the details, “one of the conditions” under which the meeting had been held was the participants' agreement “not to disclose” what was discussed.

“He has been very clear in his opposition to the release of Pollard,” he said. “He explained his position... We made our point,” he added, saying he can only hope “they will come to the right conclusion.”