Slowly Dying in Jail: for Jonathan Pollard, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

by Dr. David Mandler

With President Obama’s first trip to Israel as president approaching, the fate of Jonathan Pollard has resurfaced  in Israel with tens of thousands of average Israelis signing a petition to free the former American intelligence agent convicted of spying for Israel. For the last twenty-seven years, Mr. Pollard has been incarcerated in US jails. Just two years ago, Mr. Pollard was denied a request to attend his father’s funeral. In the past few months, his health has rapidly deteriorated, leaving no choice but to allow for his transfer to a hospital. Since then, he has been returned to his jail cell. Along with thousands of Israelis and Americans, among them former CIA director, James Woolsey and former secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, urge the president to pardon Mr. Pollard as a humanitarian gesture.

With twenty-seven years behind bars, Mr. Pollard has served more than five times as long a jail sentence as any other spy convicted of similar offenses. This assertion may seem to be an exaggeration, but it is James Woolsey, the former CIA director who had advised against freeing Pollard when Woolsey was serving President Clinton, who has stated this recently now in support of releasing Jonathan Pollard. Opposition to such a move from other members of the intelligence community has reportedly put efforts to obtain a presidential pardon from Clinton and George W. Bush effectively neutralized the periodic pressure applied by Pollard supporters.

Since the case against Pollard is still classified, only those with the proper level of security clearance are privy to all the details. Amongst them, an impressive list of mostly former officials have been supporting Pollard’s release. Former Secretary of States Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have both advocated Pollard’s release. (

What more can be written on this subject? So many words have been uttered, so many sighs, so many tears have been shed for so many years. As King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:2 has put it, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to kill, and a time to heal…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

I believe this is the time to speak. I believe this is the time to heal. If you agree, I urge you to sign the petition below and send this article along with the petition to as many people as you can. Let us urge President Obama to be the healer of this still throbbing wound.