(Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman has issued the following statement:
The heavenly gates are closed; the book of life is inscribed. Another judgment day has passed. And Jonathan Pollard, a convict who spent 30 years in prison for spying on behalf of Israel, remains prohibited from returning to his adopted country—the Jewish state.
Sure, he’s been released from prison since 2015. His parole requires him to stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and to wear a GPS device at all times; and to live in the United States for five years. Thirteen months away from a possible release, the excessive sentence is more than a year from being met. Well, it’s enough.
Jonathan Pollard has done his penance, served his time. It’s time for the U.S. Justice Department to allow him to leave the United States. He’s lived under restrictive conditions. Even in Israel he would remain under the same restrictive conditions. Pollard is 65 years old and reportedly lives in deteriorating health. He pleaded guilty 33 years ago to committing espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents that he had obtained as a civilian intelligence specialist for the U.S. Navy.
Since 1986, when Pollard was convicted, the world has undergone a technological revolution. Relative to commonplace hacking today and undetected cyber violations, one thing is clear—Jonathan Pollard has spent half his life in captivity and, by all accounts, he no longer presents a danger to U.S. intelligence. An ailing, all- but-spent convict just wants to live out his days.
Just five years ago, Americans felt the sting of releasing three Cuban spies for American Alan Gross. The memory of swapping five still dangerous Taliban prisoners—terrorists—for a disgraced American soldier burns brightly in the American psyche. What further debt can be extracted from a figure like Jonathan Pollard?
The book of life has just closed on the Jewish people. It’s time to close the book on Pollard and lift his parole. Immediately, let him live out the final chapter of his life in Israel.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org