Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Matt Salmon: We should focus on getting the release of prisoner Jonathan Pollard

Great article in the Jerusalem Post by Matt Salmon, who is running for Congress.

From Schalit to Pollard

by Matt Salmon

Although one might question the wisdom of the Gilad Schalit exchange for over 1,000 Arab terrorists, no one should question the value Israel puts on the lives of its citizens. Despite the terrible price Israel has paid to terrorism and war, and despite previous hostage trades with those seeking to destroy the country, Israel’s resolve to pay an extraordinary price to bring one soldier home is testimony to the value Israelis put on human life.

Now that the campaign for Gilad Schalit is over, Israelis and friends of Israel should redirect that focus to winning the release of Jonathan Pollard. It is a propitious time, with the upcoming meeting with a high level elected US administration official on Pollard, the first to occur since his arrest 26 years ago. That meeting is with Vice President Joe Biden, the very person who claims that he is blocking Pollard’s release.

Four years ago, Vice President Biden publicly came out for the commutation of Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served; now, astonishingly, he has reversed this position. It is of particular shock to all of us who have reviewed Pollard’s case and agree that an injustice has been done. In response to the uproar concerning this about-face, Biden has agreed to a meeting of Jewish leaders to discuss the case. Because this is a pivotal meeting that very well could lead to Pollard’s release, it is imperative that we are clear in articulating that an injustice occurred, and, no less, that it Pollard’s release is a necessary move in America’s interest.

On June 27, 2011, I wrote President Obama asking for the commutation for Pollard’s sentence to time served. I did so after having met with Pollard, having reviewed his case and having full knowledge of his letter of remorse. It is well documented that the average sentence for a similar crime is 2-4 years. Pollard is now in his 26th year of incarceration! This is simply wrong, and no longer just. Former attorney-general Michael Mukasey made it quite clear when he asserted that no-one questions that Pollard had no intention to harm the United States by his actions.

Read the rest of the article in the Jerusalem Post

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