Pollards ask to halt pro-Pollard petition

Jonathan, Esther say White House website petition diffuses concern for Pollard's release; Naomi Ragen says she won't stop.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
October 11, 2011 17:45
2 minute read.
Esther Pollard

Esther Pollard with poster 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard and his wife, Esther, asked the organizers of a petition campaign urging US President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to stop the effort on Tuesday.

Author Naomi Ragen created a “Free Jonathan Pollard Petition” on the White House website after Obama promised to consider all petitions that get 25,000 signatures by November 8. In just two days, the petition has attracted support from all over the world, while other petitions, including one calling upon the president to end aid for Israel, have floundered.

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But the Pollards said that if such a petition was capable of assisting in their struggle, they themselves would have initiated and publicized a petition. They called the effort counter-productive and asked that the petition be removed from the Internet.

“The White House petition for Jonathan Pollard is not a means to seek justice for Jonathan Pollard,” the Pollards wrote in a press release.

"It acts like a lighting rod to diffuse concern and disperse it, without achieving any tangible or effective goal. It trivializes the issue and deflects public attention from the real efforts to secure Pollard’s release without further delay.”

The Pollards complained that Ragen’s petition was distracting attention and energy away from what they believe would be more effective: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein’s effort to obtain a meeting of top US Jewish leaders about the Israeli agent with US Vice President Joe Biden.

“It is critical that this promised meeting, which was recently announced in the media by Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, take place before the General Assembly of Jewish Federations on November 6, which will be attended by President Obama,” the Pollards wrote.

Ragen blamed the Pollards’ opposition on terminology in the petition, that has since been corrected. She rejected the Pollards’ request to end the petition drive and remove it from the White House website.

“I don’t want to take it down and insult the people who signed it unless I had a very good reason,” Ragen said. “We don’t see this as just the personal agony of Esther and Jonathan Pollard. It is a gross misjustice of the legal system. The people who sign the petition don’t need to like Jonathan Pollard or agree with what he did. They just need to support correcting the misjustice.”


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