Some 300 Pollard activists keen to impress Kerry

Imprisoned spy’s wife asks US secretary of state to honor request for release as activists hold vigil outside his hotel.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 9, 2013 00:17
2 minute read.
Jonathan Pollard vigil

Jonathan Pollard vigil 521. (photo credit: REUTERS)

United States Secretary of State John Kerry passed a crowd of some 300 Free- Jonathan-Pollard activists at a vigil outside the envoy’s Jerusalem hotel Monday night, when he left for a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, International Relations, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

The activists held up signs bearing the slogan “10,000 Days is Enough,” marking the 10,000th day of his life sentence that the former Israeli agent had served by Monday. Pollard’s wife Esther was the only speaker at the vigil.

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Ahead of the event she noted that in her last meeting with President Shimon Peres he spoke optimistically about the secretary of state’s appointment, saying that he had known Kerry for many years as a man with strong moral values and a keen sense of justice.

Peres told Esther that Kerry would surely appreciate the great concern and desire that Israel has for Pollard’s release.

“President Peres promised me that he would meet with Kerry and do his utmost to enlist his support for Jonathan’s immediate release, whether as matter of justice or as a humanitarian issue,” she said.

“I hope and pray that Mr. Peres’ words will find their mark in Mr. Kerry’s heart and that he will be an honest advocate for mercy and justice. I also hope and pray that Jonathan’s release and swift return home as a matter of unequivocal Israeli national consensus will be meaningful to Mr. Kerry.”

Esther Pollard said she had a heartfelt request for Kerry to show compassion and mercy to Jonathan and to Israel and use his influence with US President Barack Obama to plead that Jonathan should be returned home now, and “not be left to rot in prison.” She noted that because her husband had no more legal options, only presidential clemency could set him free.

“Jonathan has paid a terrible price for his offense, 28 years of his life – 10,000 days in prison as of today,” she said. “It is impossible to wrap one’s mind around the soul-crushing oppression which Jonathan has endured, day in day out, for 10,000 days. Jonathan is fighting to stay alive in the face of his deteriorating health, while also battling the terrible sense that he is crying out from the depths for help and no one is listening.”

Esther Pollard recalled that 20 years ago, in September 1993, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin referred to her husband when he spoke to then-US president Bill Clinton in the Rose Garden at the White House after signing the Oslo accords. She said she hoped Obama would realize it was time to answer Rabin’s request.

“Mr. President,” Rabin said. “We are not asking for hundreds, or thousands, we are asking for one. Just one."


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