WASHINGTON — Each year, just before Passover, Malcolm Hoenlein writes a letter to President Obama, requesting that he grant clemency to Jonathan J. Pollard, the American sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for passing suitcases stuffed with classified documents to Israel.Read the rest here.
This week, with his goal suddenly within reach, Mr. Hoenlein, the leader of an umbrella group of American Jewish organizations, has held off on sending the letter. He is waiting to see whether Mr. Obama will release Mr. Pollard as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel that would extend peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Even now, nearly three decades later, Mr. Pollard’s case bedevils American Jews. While more and more of them believe the time to release him is long past — he spied for an ally, not an enemy, they say, and has expressed remorse — they are deeply divided over whether he should be used as a chit in a diplomatic transaction with Israel.