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April 26, 1996 - Image 51

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

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

Pollard People

Esther says they are, Carol insists they
aren't, and says there are no prison
records to document the union, which
the couple claims took place about a year
and a half ago.
Esther declined comment for this
story. Her relations with the family have
not been cordial; Jonathan has not spo-
ken to his parents or sister in a year, and
Carol believes Esther has asked him to
cut off family contact. The family is also
uncomfortable with some statements
she has made, such as calling U.S. offi-
cials anti-Semitic.
Carol said Esther worked to have Is-
rael offer Jonathan citizenship, which
came through in January. This hurt his
case, Carol said, because it appeared to
U.S. officials that Israel was raising Pol-
lard to the status of hero.
A few days after citizenship was
Despite these volunteers' heartfelt granted, Israeli lawyers working for the
emotions, letters, leaflets and lobbying, couple sent Carol a letter, demanding
they admit they have accomplished al- that she stop speaking on her brother's
most nothing toward freeing their man.
"My client wishes to serve you with fi-
They say one of the recent complicating
factors is Esther Zeitz Pollard, Pollard's nal notice that in the event that you do
not cease and desist from making state-
new wife.
There is some question whether the ments on his case and causing damage
couple is actually married. Although to the initiative to free him, he will be

as an example of pidyon
shvuyim, the good deed of
ransoming hostages.
"I asked my rabbi if
Pollard fell in this cate-
gory," Mr. Berman said.
"He asked me if Pollard
was in prison because
he's Jewish or because he was doing
something for the Jewish people. You
could only surmise he got a life sentence
with no recommendation of parole be-
cause he's Jewish."
Attorney Stephen Beiner of Boca Ra-
ton agreed.
"His punishment was meted out as a
Jew," Beiner said. "It rancors all my
senses. If I was in a similar situation, I
too would feel compelled to help Israel."

Kenneth Lasson:
"The only real
power the grass-
roots would
have now is if
(there were) no
dissent from
American
Jewry."

A Complicating Factor

compelled to pursue this matter through
legal avenues," the letter said.
Several Pollard defenders were shocked
that Pollard would order his sister, who
has worked tirelessly on his behalf, to
shut up. But Carol said such letters won't
deter her work, and so did the volunteers
who support her. She believes her broth-
er is lonely and frustrated and willing to
try drastic methods to get out of jail.
"This group goes on regardless," Carol
said. 'Tye spent 10 years cultivating sup-
port. HI had been as nasty, we wouldn't
have gotten anywhere."
Carol said she has developed numer-
ous contacts on her brother's behalf in
Washington, D.C., including members
of Congress and the U.S. Parole Com-
mission. She believes her brother will
have to serve 20 years of his life sentence
before he's allowed out on mandatory pa-
role release.
In the meantime, Carol said she plans
to keep plugging away.
"I continue it for my parents, who are
almost 80 years old, and because he's my
brother," she said. "We cannot live every
day without doing this for him."
Rabbi Avi Weiss, president of Amcha,
The Coalition For Jewish Concerns, also

continues his work for Pollard. After
President Clinton announced that he
won't pardon Pollard, Rabbi Weiss,
known as "Pollard's rabbi," said:
"It is unconscionable that the presi-
dent is being shielded from the senti-
ments of the people .... There's a tough
election coming up in November. We'll
be watching Mr. Clinton's actions in the
Pollard case carefully."
But even such strong words from the
New York rabbi, and the thousands of
letters written by volunteers worldwide,
may be useless in the effort to get Pol-
lard out anytime soon.
"The only real power the grass-roots
would have now is if it were over-
whelming — en masse — no dissent
from American Jewry," said Kenneth
Lasson, a University of Baltimore pro-
fessor who wrote a legal brief in Pollard's
appeal.
Clearly, that's not going to happen.
But Pollard supporters still plan to write,
e-mail, fax and phone, holding on to their
image of an America that promises jus-
tice.
`This case won't go away," Mr. Lasson
said, "until Pollard's released or dies in
prison." ❑

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