An undated photo of Jonathan Pollard prior to his arrest.
(photo credit:Justice for Jonathan Pollard)
Two former American ambassadors to Israel who had opposed clemency for
imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard have changed their minds, according to a
The Walla News website spoke to Sam Lewis, who served as
ambassador until 1985 when Pollard was arrested in Washington, and Thomas
Pickering, who as Lewis’s replacement dealt with the arrests
Both veteran diplomats are considered close to Kerry and
strongly support his current efforts to reach an Israeli- Palestinian peace
“I’ve been opposed to releasing Pollard for a long time, but
if you said such a step would assist reaching a framework, in a fundamental way
– I would support that,” Pickering said. “He did some really bad things to us
and I don’t accept the Israeli ‘protest’ over his arrest, but reaching a
framework for peace is so much more important than keeping this guy in
Lewis said he supports US President Barack Obama commuting
Pollard’s sentence on humanitarian grounds. But he said he did not see a
connection between Pollard and the peace process and that Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu erred when he made that connection in the past.
betrayed us, and I am glad he sat in prison, but 28 years is enough time,” Lewis
said. “Even if he may get out in two years from now, I think there is something
compelling about the appeal by more than 100 members of Knesset to Obama to free
The official Free Pollard campaign issued a statement welcoming
the ambassadors’ change of heart. The campaign said the ambassadors carry weight
because they are respected diplomats who have strong connections to the Obama
Labor MK Nachman Shai, who co-chairs the Pollard lobby,
said he was happy to hear the ambassadors decision.
Yesh Atid MK Dov
Lipman, who was born and educated in the US , expressed hope that Lewis and
Pickering would help persuade Obama. He said the American values of liberty and
justice for all necessitate freeing the Israeli agent.
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