Jonathan Pollard 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not asked US President Barack Obama to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, who has served nearly 25 years of a life sentence for passing information to an ally, Pollard told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
There has been speculation recently that Netanyahu
has been working behind the scenes on Pollard’s behalf, because heads of
Jewish organizations, American congressmen and a key figure in the
Pollard affair have all written Obama in the past month asking him to
commute his sentence. But Pollard, who was arrested on November 21,
1985, said he knew for a fact that this was not the case.
Democrats in US Congress urge Obama to release Pollard
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American sources in Washington have confirmed that in recent weeks
Prime Minister Netanyahu has not asked President Obama to release me,”
Pollard, who has served nearly 25 years of a life sentence for passing
information to an ally, said in a statement delivered via his wife
Esther. “Our American sources in Washington have also confirmed that I
have not been been on the agenda at all in recent contacts between the
Netanyahu administration and the American administration.”
said this was especially lamentable now, because Lawrence Korb, who was
assistant secretary of defense when Pollard was arrested, had written
Obama a letter calling his sentence disproportionate. Korb blamed the
severity of the sentence on the anti-Israel agenda of his former boss,
the late Caspar Weinberger.
“Based on my first-hand knowledge, I
can say with confidence that the severity of Pollard’s sentence is a
result of an almost visceral dislike of Israel and the special place it
occupies in our foreign policy on the part of my boss at the time,
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger,” Korb wrote Obama two weeks ago
in a letter released to the press on Tuesday.
Weinberger submitted two affidavits to the court in order to convince
the judge to give Pollard a harsher sentence than the one requested by
the government, despite Pollard admitting guilt, plea bargaining and
cooperating with the government,” he added. “The government committed to
not seeking a life sentence but due to the Weinberger affidavits, the
redacted version of which I have read, Mr. Pollard received a
disproportionate life sentence.”
Pollard called Korb’s letter “an unprecedented breakthrough in my case” and “the golden key to my jail cell.”
gave the Pollards the green light to release the letter so the key
would be put squarely in Netanyahu’s hand to seek his release.
“The dramatic and irrefutable information in the letter Dr. Korb
wrote to President Obama strips away every possible impediment to
gaining my immediate and unconditional release,” Pollard said. “Morally
and legally it is incumbent upon Mr. Netanyahu as the prime minister of
Israel to act immediately without any further delay or excuses.”
Binyamin Netanyahu's office denied on Wednesday Pollard's claim that Israel has not asked US President Barack Obama to
to Pollard's comments, a senior official in the
Prime Minister's office said "nothing could be further from the truth."
National Union MK Uri Ariel, who heads the Pollard lobby in the Knesset,
said he had seen momentum working in Pollard’s favor recently, “but we
have to be careful not to be too optimistic, and we have to never stop
working to make sure Jonathan comes home.”