Cuban security arrested Gross in December 2009, sending a strong message to the U.S. government and collecting a bargaining chip to help in negotiations over Cuba’s biggest grievance with Washington: the 1998 arrest in Miami of the “Cuban Five,” spies convicted of contributing to the deaths of four Americans.
It is likely that Gross was targeted because he is Jewish—not out of anti-Semitism, but because his identity would make him a more valuable asset during negotiations.
Soon after Gross was jailed, a campaign to win his release took shape. The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Orthodox Union all played a role.
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