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March 22, 1991 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Backers Say Gulf War
Put Pollard In New Light

IRA RIFKIN

Special to The Jewish News

A

dogged effort, Pollard
family members and
their small cadre of active
supporters around the
nation say their campaign to
rally American Jewry to
Jonathan Pollard's side
seems finally to be making
inroads.
Pollard supporters main-
tain that the Persian Gulf
war has provided their cause
the moral edge it needed —
the fact that Jonathan
Pollard provided Israel with
secrets about Iraq at a time
when Iraq was a U.S. ally. In
the aftermath of the conflict,
they are optimistic about
what they term their
"window of opportunity"
provided by Saddam Hus-
sein's missile attacks on
Israel.
Bolstering their hopes is
the fact that this turn of
events coincides with Mr.
Pollard's upcoming U.S.
Court of Appeals hearing. At
issue is whether Mr.
Pollard's guilty plea should
be set aside in favor of a new
trial. Briefs in the appeal are
due in June, with arguments
before a three judge panel in
Washington set for
September.
Mr. Pollard, a former Navy
intelligence officer convicted
of spying, has become a more
sympathetic figure to
American Jews, his sup-
porters maintain, in the
aftermath of Iraqi missile
attacks on Israel.
"With hindsight, a good
argument can be made that
(Mr. Pollard) was faced with
a moral dilemma when he
learned of the dangers facing
Israel, and that his giving
the information on Iraq's
chemical abilities to Israel
enabled Israel to prepare for
a possible chemical attack,
allowing it to stay out of the
Gulf war," said Baltimore
attorney Kenneth Lasson,
who is coordinating the
Pollard appeal amicus brief.
"Before, people were
apathetic, uninformed or
nervous, as Jews, about ap-
pearing to be unpatriotic if
they advocated on his behalf.
Now they're saying, 'maybe
Pollard wasn't as bad as
originally pictured.' "
"There was little under-
standing of Pollard's impor-

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FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 1991

fter five years of

4,

Ira Rifkin is assistant editor of
the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Jonathan Pollard:
Backers call him a modern Jewish
hero.

tance to Israel until the Gulf
crisis," he said.
Carol Pollard, Jonathan's
sister and the logistical
quarterback of the pro-
Pollard effort, added,
"everything has accelerated
since the war. People are
listening — finally! We're
getting good press and even
the organized community
groups are now saying they
are available for meetings
and showing interest.
"That's a big change. Peo-
ple are getting back to me
right away, when it used to
be 'Carol who?' "
But the support of
America's major Jewish
community organizations,
which Pollard backers see as
crucial to influencing public
opinion, has yet to mate-
rialize.
Shoshana Cardin,
chairperson of the Con-
ference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish
Organizations, was widely
reported to have said that
group would join the
struggle to reduce Mr.
Pollard's sentence. However,
in an interview, Mrs. Cardin
denied having said that and
insisted the issue was "still
under study."
In addition, other leaders
say there is little proof that
American Jewry has taken a
deeper interest in Mr.
Pollard, despite the claims of
his supporters.
Jerome Chanes, a Nation-
al Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council offi-
cial who staffs a Pollard
study committee made up of
the legal directors of seven
leading mainstream Jewish
communal groups, said
"personally, I am not hear-
ing a lot about the Pollard

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