The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to President George W. Bush requesting the out-going president to pardon convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Jonathan Pollard was convicted in 1987 for passing classified information to Israel. He received a life sentence without recommendation for parole, and served seven of the past 23 years in solitary confinement, despite having cooperated with investigators, pleading guilty pursuant to a plea bargain and expressing remorse for breaking the law.
In a letter signed by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Executive Committee Chairman Dr. Alan Mazurek, Treasurer Henry Schwartz, and Secretary Jerome Kaufman, the ZOA said:
“Jonathan Pollard remains behind bars, 21 years after sentencing, a longer period than that served by any other person in U.S. history convicted of passing classified information to a foreign power. Illegal as his activities undoubtedly were, Mr. Pollard passed on classified information to Israel, a U.S. ally, not a U.S. enemy. He did not spy for a hostile foreign power. His illegal acts did not lead to the harming or death of U.S. intelligence agents in other countries
Additionally, the way Mr. Pollard was convicted and sentenced exceeds all necessary severity in dealing with such a case. In conducting his own defense, Mr. Pollard and his attorneys were denied perusal of a 46-page Defense Department memorandum detailing the nature of the information passed on to Israel which was provided to the presiding judge. This occurred despite provisions made for their access to the documentation and thereby circumscribed their ability to argue his case. Moreover, Mr. Pollard pled guilty as part of a plea bargain, yet he was shown no leniency and was given the maximum sentence. This sentence is comparable to that meted out to Aldrich Ames, the chief of CIA counterintelligence in Eastern Europe, who passed critical defense secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and who was found responsible for the deaths of at least 11 U.S. agents
Mr. Pollard has expressed a desire to move to Israel and Israel has indicated it would accept him. In view of all the circumstances, that scenario would be desirable. For these reasons, we assert that the on-going imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard is unnecessary, unjust, disproportionate and inexplicable in terms of protecting the national interest. We respectfully appeal to you to put an end to what is now an inequitable term of imprisonment and pardon Jonathan Pollard.