Israelis protest for Jonathan Pollard in Jerusalem 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The 60,000th person signed a petition early Friday calling upon President Shimon
Peres to do everything possible to bring about the release of Israeli agent
Jonathan Pollard when he goes to Washington on June 13 to receive the
Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The petition drive began two months ago
and has attracted support from across Israel and around the world.
to the superior values the medal represents, we feel we cannot reconcile you
receiving it when the United States is still holding Pollard in prison,” the
“We ask you to take advantage of your unprecedented
diplomatic standing in order to work for Jonathan’s immediate release before you
are given the medal. Otherwise, receiving the medal would make a mockery of
Pollard is still serving the life sentence he was given more
than 26 years ago for passing classified information to an ally. Obama has not
responded to calls by many top current and former Israeli and American officials
to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served.
According to the 1987 Eban
Commission Report, the Knesset committee appointed to investigate the Pollard
affair, Peres personally initiated and authorized the return to the US of all of
the documents that Pollard had provided to Israel with his fingerprints still
upon them, which helped the prosecution’s case. This was the first and only case
in the history of modern espionage in which a prime minister actively assisted
in the indictment and prosecution of his own country’s agent.
organizers of the petition stressed that they were not asking Peres to condition
receiving the medal on Pollard’s freedom.