Pollards to 'Post': We hope Peres sways Obama
Bipartisan Congressional letter aims to show Obama both US parties united in support of clemency for Israeli agent.
Jonathan and Esther Pollard Photo: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard and his wife Esther expressed optimism Tuesday
night that President Shimon Peres would convince his American counterpart Barack
Obama when they meet Wednesday to commute Pollard’s sentence to the 26.5 years
he has served.
In a statement given exclusively to The Jerusalem Post,
the Pollards said they were “exhilarated, overwhelmed and very grateful for the
enormous support” that has been galvanized in support of Peres’s appeal to
Obama. “We are heartened that so many senior American officials including those who
know the case best are strongly calling for Jonathan’s release,” Esther Pollard
said. “Their support enables President Obama to make a bold and courageous
decision to respond favorably to President Peres and set Jonathan free. We are
On a personal note, Esther Pollard added: “I lie awake in bed
at night, hoping, praying, dreaming, that our nightmare is finally coming to an
end. That Jonathan will soon be home, maybe even on Mr. Peres’s plane, and we
can begin a normal life and attend to his urgent medical needs. We hope and pray
that the time to cut the Gordian knot has finally come.”
marked the Israeli agent’s 9,700th day in captivity on Tuesday. The head of the
Pollard caucus in the Knesset, MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), said on the Knesset
floor that she hoped that when Peres receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom
from Obama Wednesday, he will also receive good news about Pollard.
unprecedented display of bipartisanship, a “dear colleague” letter is being
circulated in the US House of Representatives in support of clemency for
Congressman Eliot Engel (DNew York) and Congressman Christopher
Smith (R-New Jersey), both of whom are veteran members of the House of
Representatives, are soliciting signatures on a letter to Obama that urges the
president to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served.
The letter marks
the first time congressional Democrats and Republicans have joined forces in an
effort to secure Pollard’s release. In November 2010, Congressman Barney Frank
(D-Massachusetts) spearheaded a letter to Obama that was signed by 39 members of
Congress, all of whom were Democrats.
“There is no doubt that [Pollard]
has paid a heavy price, and, from the standpoint of either punishment or
deterrence, we believe he has been imprisoned long enough,” the Congressmen
wrote Obama. “We join our voices to those who see clemency as an act of
compassion justified on humanitarian grounds and for purposes of fairness and