Pollard activists hold vigil to mark 9,000 days

Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization began a three day vigil in Jerusalem.

By SAM CROSS
July 14, 2010 02:48
2 minute read.
Jerusalem.

jerusalem 58. (photo credit: AP)

Esther Pollard and the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization began a three day vigil at a plaza beneath the Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem on Monday, calling for the release of her husband from his North Carolina prison.

Monday was the 9,000th day of Jonathan Pollard’s imprisonment. A former civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, he was convicted of spying for Israel 25 years ago and received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally.

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Esther Pollard and the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization charge he has been “buried alive by the Israeli government.”

At last week’s meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had a golden opportunity to bring up the case of Jonathan Pollard – whose clemency papers are sitting on Obama’s desk in the Oval Office, Esther Pollard told The Jerusalem Post. Instead, she claimed, Netanyahu failed to even mention his name.

“It was humiliating for all of us,” she said. “In a split second, Jonathan could have found his way home.”

Pollard said that Netanyahu wasted the opportunity by calling for America’s help in the safe return of Gilad Schalit instead of discussing her husband’s case. Although she supports any effort to “spread Schalit’s name,” she sees this discussion purely as a political maneuver.

“Why in the world would you ask him [Obama] about a soldier in Gaza that he has no influence over when you have a captive sitting in his own territory and his papers were on his desk?” Pollard asked. “[The government] acts as if Jonathan is already dead.”

But other Pollard activists, such as Asher Mivtzari, said the goal of their vigil is to put pressure not only on Netanyahu, but on Obama.

“Obama speaks all the time of human rights,” Mivtzari said. “Pollard is not a captive of Hamas or Hizbullah, but of America, our ally.... After so many years, it’s time to free him.”

Anita Finkelstein, who made aliya from America 35 years ago, has been following Pollard’s case since the story first broke. After 25 years, she says, she can only recount her fruitless struggle to uncover the truth.

“No one has explained to me, no one has explained to anyone why Pollard is in jail, and no Israeli official has asked for the explanation,” Finkelstein said. “This is inexplicable.”


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