Jonathan Pollard 311 (R).
(photo credit: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)
The White House’s switchboard was shut down on Sunday after receiving an
overload of calls urging US President Barack Obama to release Israeli agent
Jonathan Pollard from prison for 24 hours to attend the funeral of his
Morris Pollard died on Saturday morning at age 95 at Memorial
Hospital and Health System in South Bend, Indiana.
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Esther, arrived from Israel to attend the funeral, which will be held on Monday
morning in Indiana.
A campaign on Facebook urged people to call the White
House switchboard because the White House comment line is not open on Sundays.
After receiving an overload of calls, the White House switchboard automatically
shifted to a message saying that the comment line was now closed.
more than a week of pleading, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s advisers
agreed on Sunday to issue a diplomatic request via Israel’s embassy in
Washington asking for Pollard to be able to attend the funeral.
hundred people protested outside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, urging Obama
to allow Pollard to attend the funeral and accusing Obama of being heartless for
not allowing Pollard “compassionate leave” to be able to say good-bye to his
father before he died.
“Free Pollard – yes we can,” the protesters
shouted at the rally, which was attended by MKs.
The Facebook page of the
US Embassy also became a focal point for protests. A page with a promotion
asking people to describe what America meant to them in order to enter a lottery
to attend the embassy’s Independence Day celebration, was filled with messages
saying that America is cruel.
“The United States’ reputation as a just
society has been severely damaged by the unjust handling of the Pollard case
from beginning to end,” wrote Devora Shem-Tov. “World confidence in the American
Way has been eroded as a consequence.
Isn’t anyone there at all
interested in damage control? All thinking people call for Justice for Jonathan
Pollard – commutation of his sentence to time served without any further delay!”
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) told Army Radio she would boycott the American
Independence Day party at the ambassador’s house if Pollard’s request to attend
the funeral was not granted.
Kadima MK Nachman Shai, who initiated a
petition of 75 MKs calling for Pollard to be granted leave, said that in
addition to the government communicating clear messages to the administration
about Pollard’s release, the Jewish community in the US should also put pressure
“Five million Jews live in the US and they are silent.”
Shai said. “A clear statement needs to come from them. With all due respect,
after 25 years, they can say something. They are able to put a lot of pressure
on the White House. It is time for them to do it.”
But MK Ahmed Tibi
(United Arab List-Ta’al) said Israeli attacks against the US government’s
decision not allow Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to see his father before he
passed away were “typical Israeli hypocrisy.”
refuses to let Palestinian prisoners attend the funerals of their parents,” Tibi
told Israel Radio.