Foxman declines Pollard meeting due to media hype

Anti-Defamation League National Director tells 'Post' he was considering vising the Israeli agent until it became media event.

By JORDANA HORN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
December 22, 2011 19:53
2 minute read.
Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard 311 (R). (photo credit: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)

 
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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 event.”

“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.”

He said 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.”

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According 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 face.”

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 Jewish streams.

More than half of the recipients have accepted the invitation to the meeting, a date for which has yet to be set.

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