Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey joined last night (Sat) numerous U.S. officials calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard.
In the most acute expression by a major U.S. figure, Woolsey addressed the issue of Pollard and claimed that the decision to continue to hold him in prison despite the many years that have passed is unprecedented and stems from, among other things, anti-Semitism.
Woolsey explained that although his actions were severe, after almost three decades, it’s time for his release. Woolsey added that spies for similar offenses committed by American allies such as South Korea and Greece, were punished less severely. According to Woolsey, who objected to his release during his tenure as head of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1993-1995, continued opposition to Pollard’s release also stems from anti-Semitism and if was not a Jew who spied for Israel he would have been set free years ago.
Lately, many American diplomatic officials have called to shorten Pollard’s sentence, despite previously opposing the move. Recently Elliott Abrams, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration, said that after 29 years in prison, it is impossible not to compare Pollard to the spies of other U.S. allies, and the bottom line is – none of them was in jail for such a long time. He said that in his opinion there are humanitarian justifications to release Pollard.
Two former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, said last month that they support releasing Pollard. Former ambassador Sam Lewis, who served during the period in which Pollard committed the offense of espionage “He betrayed us and I am happy he sat in jail, but 29 years is enough.”
Despite the increasing number of voices who demand the release of Pollard, at the moment there is no change in the official position on the issue.
Minister Uri Ariel responded and called the leaders of the U.S. administration to release Pollard, “Woolsey’s words are a damning indictment against American leadership which leaves Pollard languishing in prison for no more than anti-Semitic reasons. I urge the Secretary of State, John Kerry and U.S. President Barack Obama to prove that these words are not correct, to act humanely and release Pollard immediately”.