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April 26, 1996 - Image 49

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-04-26

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

Pollard, a civilian employ-
ee of U.S. Naval Intelligence,
gave U.S. government secrets
to Israeli agents from June
1984 to November 1985. He
pleaded guilty in 1986 to con-
spiracy to deliver national de-
to publicize the case, justify
fense information to a foreign
this was information Israel
Aaron Swirski:
government. Although the U.S. govern- should have gotten through "For me, it's unbelievable his actions and fight for a re-
ment had agreed to a plea bargain, he traditional intelligence chan- every single American isn't duced sentence, better treat-
involved in this."
ment, a new trial or some
was sentenced in March 1987 to life im- nels, but was denied because
form of pardon. These volunteers have
prisonment. He has been jailed for al- of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
most 11 years, currently at a medium-
Pollard is credited with supplying Is- stuck with the family through dozens of
security facility in Butner, N.C.
rael with the information it needed to hardships since the arrest.
In September 1987, they created the
His wife, Anne Henderson Pollard, bomb PLO headquarters in Tunisia in
National Coalition for Justice for the Pol-
was sentenced to five years for her role 1985.
in helping her husband. They divorced
Still, what Pollard did deeply troubled lards, headed by Carol Pollard,
in 1990.
many American Jews, cutting to the Jonathan's sister, based in Hamden,
Pollard has always insisted that he heart of the American Jewish struggle Conn. A nucleus of activists gives the or-
never spied against the United States or between loyalty to Israel and the Unit- ganization an extremist tilt, alleging
put any covert activities in jeopardy. His ed States. At the time of the 1985 arrest, anti-Semitic conspiracies, organized Jew-
intention was to give Israel information Jewish leaders waited in line at press ish biases, criminal misconduct among
officials and corruption at the highest
concerning threats to its existence, such conferences to condemn him.
as Middle East buildups of Soviet and
Only a core of activists supported Pol- levels of government.
They frequently mention former U.S.
Arab military equipment. Pollard said lard and his family as they struggled

The National
Network

The community also resonates
to Jonathan's parents, Dr. Mor-
ris and Molly Pollard of South
Bend, Ind., and Pollard's sister,
Carol, whose eloquence and
heimish nature clearly have con-
vinced many to stay with the
cause.
"I do a soft sell," said Carol,
who speaks around the United
States and Canada to encourage
people to work to free her
brother. "I don't like to infuriate
people or force it down their
throats. Jews see it as a Jewish
issue, but it's a legal abomina-
tion, whether you're Jewish,
Christian or from Mars."
Carol oversees 473 chapters in
the United States, Canada,
France, England, Israel and Aus-
tralia. With so many chapters all
over the world, it's almost impossible for
her to regulate every activity. The New
York chapter, for example, is loose-knit:
"I've never been able to control that group.
There are so many factions," Carol said.
Still, Carol, a former hospital admin-
istrator, runs an efficient operation. She
reads most articles written by Pollard
supporters before they are sent to news-
papers. She faxes 300 chapters at once
and updates 100 senators and con-
gressmen monthly, while working on the
cases of 40 other clients who have suf-
fered human rights abuses in the United
States.
Through the many ups and downs of
the case, Carol has gotten to know

AP RI L 2 6, 19 9 6

The Facts, Please

Defense Secretary Caspar Wein-
berger's characterization of Pol-
lard's activities as "treasonous";
this is confirmation, to them, of
what they consider Weinbergei's
anti-Semitic tendencies.
Some supporters also see Pol-
lard's sentence as evidence of
anti-Semitism, saying he has
been incarcerated longer than
any spy who committed a similar
or worse crime. They distribute
graphs comparing Pollard's sen-
tence to those of other widely
known spies.
"The Jonathan Pollard case
touches two nerves deep within
the Jewish soul," said Bill Gral-
nick, South-Central Florida di-
rector of the American Jewish
Committee. "That is, the need to
rescue a Jew in trouble, and the
perceived injustice in a system
that promises justice. The sup-
porters see the entire force of
government aimed at Pollard,
like David and Goliath. The com-
munity resonates to that."

4iat

Clinton's recent announcement
that he won't pardon Pollard.
Still, he refuses to give up
hope that the former Naval In-
telligence analyst will soon be
freed.
"He did what he did to save
Jewish lives," Mr. Seidenberg
said. "Nothing has ever
aroused me like this. It's be-
come the cause celebre of my
life."
Like Mr. Seidenberg, many
Pollard supporters have be-
come fixated on the case and
refuse to give up hope. They
write letters, attend meetings,
speak at community events,
maintain extensive files and
fax, fax, fax. A letter to the ed-
itor or news article perceived
as critical of Pollard is unlike-
ly to go unanswered; similar-
ly, a Jewish event open to the
public is likely to have a Pol-
lard volunteer passing out
leaflets or pontificating in sup-
port.
This grass-roots zeal strikes
many Jewish community ob-
servers as unparalleled: What
other American Jewish cause
in recent years has swept up
so many Jews and spurred
them to act on their convic-
tions?
"People have a passion be-
cause they believe there was a
miscarriage of justice," said
Seymour Reich, president of
the American Zionist Move-
ment. "It goes to the heart of
what he did and why he did it."

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