Vice President Joe Biden, who has said that Jonathan Pollard should die in prison, will address U.S. rabbis next month as part of Obama’s effort for Jewish contributions to his campaign chest.
The vice president will be the keynote speaker at the Conservative Jewish movement’s Rabbinical Assembly Convention in Atlanta in the first week of May.
A public relations message to the media announcing Biden’s speech to the rabbis stated that he has been a stalwart supporter of Israel for four decades since his days as a U.S. Senator.
President Barack Obama last fall chose Biden to appease American Jews, whose support has been shaky because of his opposition to a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem and because of his snub of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to the White House last year.
However, Biden quickly angered the entire Jewish community by stating that Jonathan Pollard should “stay in jail for life.” He said he told President Obama, to whom Israeli leaders and several former American officials have said should be freed, “Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.”
His comment immediately brought an angry reaction from leaders of all streams of Judaism.
It was reported that President Obama turned down on Monday an urgent request from President Shimon Peres that Pollard be released from jail. Pollard was hospitalized last week, and his health is deteriorating.
Pollard was sentenced to life for passing on classified information on Israel’s behalf, an offense that usually carries a prison sentence of several years.