Renewed Calls to Release Jonathan Pollard

Joint effort to fight ISIS demonstrates 'outrageousness' of Pollard's near thirty-year sentence, activist says.

Uzi Baruch, Tova Dvorin,

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Yehuda Glick

The time is now to release longtime prisoner Jonathan Pollard, Effie Lahav of the Non-Government Organization (NGO) Task Force for the Release of Pollard said Saturday - when US-Israel relations are finally improving. 

"In a short time, Jonathan will mark his thirtieth year in American prison," Lahav noted Saturday. "His physical condition is unstable, and the calls of dozens of senior American politicians for his release are undoubtedly grounds for an end to this tragedy." 

According to Lahav, Pollard's "disproportionate" sentence is even more outrageous against the backdrop of increasing US-Israeli cooperation to fight ISIS. 

"We believe the strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States' intelligence agencies in the war on terror, more than ever, highlights the fact that the Pollard affair must end," Lahav urged, noting it would be "a humanitarian gesture from an ally."

Jonathan Pollard has recently been the subject of a high-profile campaign for his release. He is now in his 29th year of incarceration in a US jail for passing classified security-related information from America to Israel. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and has been held ever since, including eight years in solitary confinement.

The argument has been made that Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious than those that landed other spies in jail, yet those spies served a few years's jail time at most, critics noted, slamming the US for "hypocrisy." 

Over 106 MKs attended a special Knesset session in December to protest US President Barack Obama's refusal to release the prisoner, and signed a petition urging the President to reconsider. 

Several top US officials, including Former Deputy National Security adviser Elliott Abrams, US Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Jonathan Pollard affair Lawrence Korb, and former CIA chief James Woolsey, have also called for Pollard to be released.

Several senior senators have opposed freeing the longtime captive, despite the sharp criticism of Israeli politicians, and even top American officials over the US's harsh treatment of the case.

Pollard has been described multiple times as a "hostage" of the US, a notion which has ramped up criticism against the White House earlier this year; outrage has simmered further after a reported deal to release Pollard before the Passover holiday in April never materialized. 




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