Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Foreign Ministry on Monday morning, as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The demonstrators were demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life for passing classified information to Israel.
Nissan Ganor, Head of the Committee to Bring Pollard Home, said that while Clinton’s visit, as well as the recent visits of other U.S. officials, deals mainly with Iran, the protesters came to express their demand that “if the U.S. wishes to demonstrate their friendship to Israel, then there’s no better way to do it than justice for Jonathan Pollard.”
He added, “After 27 years, senior American officials have come out very strongly in favor of commutation of sentence to Jonathan Pollard for time served.”
“These people have all come out because 27 years have gone by,” said Ganor. “Enough is enough. Justice demands that Jonathan Pollard be released today.”
“Anybody who is concerned about the issue of justice, anybody who is concerned about the issue of equal punishment, anybody who is concerned about equal treatment among all parts of the population – Jews and non-Jews alike – must demand the release of Jonathan Pollard,” he added.
Clinton herself addressed the Pollard issue later on Monday evening, telling reporters after her meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that she does not expect Pollard to be released.
“Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage, sentenced to life imprisonment and is serving the sentence. I do not have any expectation that this will change,” she said.
Joseph de Genova, who served as the prosecutor in the Pollard’s case, said on Sunday that President Barack Obama’s animosity towards Israel means there is no chance he will pardon Pollard.
“President Obama says that no one has been more supportive of Israel than President Obama,” he told Channel 10 News. “I think that President Obama is a really good double-talk artist. He could do himself a lot of good with the American Jewish community by pardoning or granting clemency or a commutation of sentence to Jonathan Pollard, but I don’t see that in his make-up. What I see in President Obama is an animus toward Israel.”