Dear President Obama,
Congratulations upon your election to a second term as
president of the mightiest nation in the world, the United States of America.
May your second term in office be a blessing to America, to its allies and to
I write with some urgency to draw to your attention the
request for clemency which my husband, Jonathan Pollard, filed more than two
years ago during your first term in office.
In the interim, Jonathan’s
health has continued to deteriorate while calls for his release by senior
American officials continue to mount.
I write in the sincere hope of
urging you to respond favorably and speedily to Jonathan’s petition and to all
of the official appeals for his immediate release.
time next week, shortly before November 22, you will be pardoning this year’s
American National Thanksgiving turkey, thereby sparing its life.
president of the United States, your granting clemency to a lowly barnyard bird
demonstrates to the world the great respect that the American people have for
the values of justice, compassion and mercy. It is in this light that I write to
bring to your personal awareness once again, the urgent plight of my husband,
On November 21, 2012 – the day before Thanksgiving –
Jonathan begins his 28th year of a life sentence with no end in sight. I urge
and implore you, Mr. President, to include Jonathan in the list of holiday
clemencies that are expected to be announced by the White House shortly,
enabling those who are set free to get home in time for the holidays.
President, G-d has seen fit to elevate you for yet another term to the position
of the head of the most powerful nation in the world, the president of the
United States of America, and to invest in you powers of clemency second only to
Clearly these gifts were bestowed upon you as a man worthy and
capable of fulfilling the biblical injunction which describes what G-d requires
of man, namely: “to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your
G-d.” (Micha 6:8) Over the past two years, since Jonathan submitted his clemency
petition to you on October 15, 2010, there has been a burgeoning public
awareness of the injustice of his sentence. Many senior American officials as
well as high-ranking legal officials and elected representatives have appealed
to you, both publicly and privately, to release Jonathan.
In their words,
his release is a matter of simple justice because “his sentence is grossly
disproportionate.” And it is appropriate on humanitarian grounds because his
health is failing after more than a quarter of a century of affliction in
Those who know the case best have been very clear in
their publicly stated opinions and in their letters to you, indicating that
keeping Jonathan in prison any longer is a travesty of justice. These include,
among many others: former secretary of state George Shultz, former secretary of
state Henry Kissinger, former White House legal counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former
attorney-general Michael Mukasey, former deputy attorney-general Phillip
Heymann, former assistant secretary of defense Lawrence Korb and former CIA
director James Woolsey.
As well, in a historic display of bipartisanship,
a group of 18 prominent former United States senators wrote to you, Mr.
President, and asked that you commute Jonathan’s sentence to time
A number of the signatories served on the Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence, including senators Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona), Alan Simpson
(R-Wyoming), the late Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Birch Bayh (D-Indiana),
Connie Mack (R-Florida) and David Durenberger (RMinnesota).
All of these
individuals had access to the classified portions of Jonathan’s file, enabling
them to know the full scope of the case.
This letter, which marks the
first time that a group of senators has united to request clemency for my
husband, is an indicator of the solid support for Jonathan’s release as a matter
of justice. Some of the senators who signed the bipartisan petition opposed
Jonathan’s release in the past but now support an immediate commutation of his
sentence to time served.
Another bipartisan congressional appeal to you,
jointly sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith and Eliot Engel, is being circulated and
has already acquired dozens of signatures in support of my husband’s
Internationally, Jonathan’s release is supported by a number of
prominent organizations and individuals, including the European Parliament, the
European Jewish Congress and the African Redeemed Church of Christ, which has
more than 14,000 branches in 110 countries and has more than five million
members in Africa alone.
My husband, Jonathan Pollard, has now served
more than six to eight times the usual sentence for the offense he committed.
After enduring 27 years of the harshest afflictions in prison, including seven
years in solitary confinement, it is time to release him, now, while he is still
alive – before it is too late.
As you are aware, Jonathan has repeatedly
expressed remorse, including his most recent statements in a letter
hand-delivered to you by President Shimon Peres. The State of Israel has also
expressed remorse, promising that there will never again be a repeat of this
Mr. President, if a lowly turkey is deserving of your compassion
and merits the dispensation of justice by your own hand, how much more so does a
man who has more than paid the price for the offense he committed and is now,
after 27 years in prison, in danger of losing his life.
We are taught,
“From Heaven did the Almighty look down upon the earth, to hear the groaning of
the prisoner, to liberate those who are doomed to die.” (Psalms 102:20-21) While
those who hold the reins of power are urged: “Let the groaning of the prisoner
come before you; According to the greatness of your power, set free those who
are condemned to die.” (Psalms 79:11)
Mr. President, I implore you, set my
husband free by commuting his sentence to the 27 years he has already served,
and send him home to me in the Holy City of Jerusalem for the Holiday of Light
which fast approaches – and G-d will surely bless!
Mrs. Jonathan Pollard