US Vice President Joe Biden 311 (R).
(photo credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters)
US Vice President Joe Biden has agreed to meet with Jewish communal leaders to discuss the case of Jonathan Pollard, one organizational official said.
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Biden made the commitment at the end of a Rosh Hashana reception with Jewish organizational leaders Wednesday, according to Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The New York Times
recently reported that during an earlier meeting in Florida, Biden told a group of rabbis
that “President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.’”
Hoenlein and other Jewish communal leaders from across the political and
religious spectrum have called on successive presidents to grant
clemency to Pollard, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for
spying for Israel. In recent months, Obama has received a flood of clemency appeals
on behalf of Pollard from Congress members and former US government
Pollard recently underwent kidney-related surgery that was deemed successful.
Hoenlein said he asked Biden to give Jewish leaders the chance to make
the case for Pollard’s release - and, in response, the vice president
agreed to hold a small meeting in order to have an “open and frank
discussion” over the issue.
Biden also agreed that the meeting “would happen very soon,” Hoenlein
said. “He takes it seriously and understands there is a concern in the
community. I hope the meeting will be soon after Yom Kippur.”
Hoenlein said it was Biden's meeting, so the vice president would decide who ends up attending.