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'Pollard Imprisonment Looks Bad For Obama'

MK Feiglin speaks at rally for Jonathan Pollard, hints that disproportionate punishment for Pollard reeks of anti-Semitism.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/24/2014, 1:22 PM

At the mass rally held Sunday night before the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) addressed US President Barack Obama directly in demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard is now in his 29th year of incarceration in an American jail over charges of spying for Israel, an allied country. Such charges generally have a ten-year maximum jail sentence.

"Mr. Obama, it doesn't look good that only the Jew is still in jail after so many years," declared Feiglin on Sunday night before the crowd of 1,000.

Feiglin's comments reflect concerns that Pollard's incredibly long imprisonment may be motivated by anti-Semitism. In January, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Chairman Abraham Foxman criticized the ongoing refusal to free Pollard.

"Imprisonment of one person for so long who should have been released on humanitarian grounds symbolizes the American [government's] effort to scare the American Jewish community," Foxman stated, "and are based on anti-Semitic myths about American Jewry."

Former CIA Director James Woolsey similarly hinted at the anti-Semitism undertones to Pollard's imprisonment earlier in February, when he said "imagine he's a Greek American and free him."

The statement follows a 2012 letter by Woolsey in which he brought examples of various spies released after 10 years, noting that "one especially damaging Greek-American spy, Steven Lalas, received a 14-year sentence."