I have been pushing for a letter of clemency for Jonathan Pollard that Rep. Barney Frank was circulating to members of the U.S. House of Representatives to ask President Obama to extend clemency to Mr. Pollard. My information is that it was presented to President Obama with thirty signatures: all of them Democrats, none Republicans. I have been trying to get Mark Kirk, a Republican representative running for Senate in Illinois to sign, to no avail. Rep. Eric Cantor has refused to sign it; Minister Hagee and Gary Bauer – two fundamentalist Christians – tried to get him to sign it, but he wouldn’t. I am gratified that my own Rep., Jan Schakowsky did sign it, and that the Republican candidates for House in my area, Joel Polak and David Ratowitz as well as Democratic senate candidate Alexi Gionoulias have all agree that they would support clemency. Unfortunately, Rep. Mike Quigley – in our shul’s district – did not sign the letter and has not gotten back to me with his position after weeks of emails and phone calls. Can you please call your Rep, or the opposing candidate for Rep in your district and find out what their position is on this?
Many people feel that the only important issue is Israel and the Jewish people. If so, find out if the candidate that everyone is proclaiming is so pro-Israel or pro-Jewish is supporting this request for clemency. In my state, Mark Kirk has been hailed as the best person for Israel: So why can’t his campaign answer me regarding his lack of support for clemency for Jonathan Pollard who was acting as an Israeli agent for the sake of Israel, and the lives of Jews in Israel. Even if it was a crime by American law, he has been punished more than anyone else who has spied for a friendly country, and the charges that he caused the capture of 11 Americans by the USSR have long been shown to be incorrect – it was the Russian mole Aldrich Ames who compromised their lives.
On erev Shabbat as we read of Avraham’s plea to God for justice for Sodom and Gemora, let’s start demanding of our politicians – from whatever party – that they start showing the courage to really stand up for Israel and fair justice, not just when it suits them.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin