NEW YORK – Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman told The
Jerusalem Post Thursday that he had opted out of a planned visit to Israeli
agent Jonathan Pollard in prison because he felt the visit had become a “media
“I may have gone quietly and privately” to visit Pollard, Foxman
said, “but I am certainly not interested in media hype, which is to little
avail. It may make some people feel good, but I don’t think it’s going to bring
him closer to freedom. In fact, some of the public manifestations of this sort
have been counterproductive.”
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Pollard had invited Foxman, along with six
other Jewish leaders, to visit him in his Butner, North Carolina, prison cell.
The ADL director said he had been “seriously considering going, but when this
became a media event, I decided not to” – a reference to the Post’s reporting
this week on the planned visit.
“I was invited as what I thought was a
private invitation – it was explained that he’d like to thank us for our
advocacy,” Foxman said. “But I don’t think telling the world we’re going will
influence the president or vice president in terms of clemency.”
there was “no question” that the time had come for clemency.
“This is a
public position of many people, but how you achieve it is a matter of judgment,”
he said. “I believe it will come about not by media hype, but by trying to
influence and convince the right people in the right manner.”
to the Post report, the invitation came via a letter from Rabbi Pesach Lerner,
executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, to the Jewish
leaders in question. Pollard told Lerner that he wanted to express his gratitude
to the leaders for urging his release.
“Jonathan personally requested
that in addition to conveying his appreciation, I invite you to visit him as a
group at the prison as soon as possible so that he has the opportunity to thank
you in person,” Lerner wrote. “He also would welcome the opportunity to share
with you information and ideas which can best be shared face to
Aside from Foxman, the letter’s recipients were Conference of
Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations executive vice chairman
Malcolm Hoenlein, Jewish Council for Public Affairs president Rabbi Steve Gutow,
Florida philanthropist Michael Adler, and the heads of the three major American
More than half of the recipients have accepted the
invitation to the meeting, a date for which has yet to be set.