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RAC pollard

RAC pollard

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Published by: akredo on Oct 17, 2011
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OBAMA'S FAITH ADVISOR CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT TO FREE JONATHANPOLLARDFollowing Vice President Joseph Biden's recent revelation that President Obama was consideringgranting clemency to Jonathan Pollard, one of the President's chief faith advisors called upon thePresident to free Pollard through a commutation of his sentence.Jonathan Pollard has spent 26 years of an unprecedented life sentence languishing in a federalprison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The mediansentence for this offense is 2 to 4 years. Next month, on November 21, 2011, Pollard will enterhis 27th year in captivity. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a lifesentence for this offense.In a statement released by Rabbi David Saperstein, the Director and Counsel of the ReligiousAction Center of Reform Judaism, he implored the President to act swiftly, and with compassion,in releasing Pollard."Jonathan Pollard has been incarcerated for over 20 years, after he plead guilty to one count of delivering classified information to the Israeli government," said Rabbi Saperstein. "As we havesaid many times, we neither condone breaking the law, nor do we support clemency for Mr.Pollard out of a belief that that he is innocent of the crime for which he wasconvicted. However, Mr. Pollard's time spent in jail has been grossly disproportionate tosentences that others have received for comparable espionage offenses. Only those who spiedfor enemy nations have received life sentences. No other individual convicted of disclosinginformation to an ally has received such a sentence.""In the midst of the Days of Awe, as we ponder the wrongdoings we have committed and prayfor God's mercy, we pray as well that President Obama will act with mercy and grant Mr. Pollardlong-overdue clemency," continued Rabbi Saperstein.Following Vice President Biden's recent comments, in which he expressed his opposition togranting Pollard clemency, Rabbi Saperstein spoke with the Vice President and urged him toreconsider his position.Rabbi David Saperstein has spent the past thirty years as the director and chief legal counsel atthe Union for Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center, which is the Washington office of theUnion for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North Americaencompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whosemembership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.Rabbi Saperstein was one of the first members appointed by President Obama to the President'sAdvisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which makes him a keyliaison between the White House and American Jewry.Over the past three decades, Rabbi Saperstein has become a powerful and renowned advocate inWashington, D.C. In 2009, Newsweek magazine selected him as the most influential rabbi in the
country. The Washington Post has called Rabbi Saperstein the "quintessential religious lobbyiston Capitol Hill."During his tenure as director and counsel at the Union for Reform Judaism's Religious ActionCenter, Rabbi Saperstein has headed a number of national religious coalitions, includingthe Coalition to Protect Religious Liberty. In 1999, Rabbi Saperstein was elected as the firstChair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which was created by aunanimous vote of Congress.In 2008, Rabbi Saperstein was selected to deliver the invocation at the Democratic NationalConvention's final session, before then-Senator Barack Obama accepted the party's nominationfor president.In addition to Rabbi Saperstein, a number of prominent leaders close to President Obama havecalled upon him to release Pollard.Former Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida, a close friend of President Obama who isregularly consulted by the President on issues relating to the Jewish community, wrote to thePresident and asked that he commute Pollard's sentence to time served.Chicago attorney Alan Solow, a key supporter, confidante, and friend of President Obama who isthe former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,has called on the President to free Pollard, as has Abraham Foxman, the National Director of theAnti-Defamation League, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, both of whom are close to thePresident.Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who is currently a member of the
President’'s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free
Pollard. Congressman Hamilton served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at thetime of Jonathan Pollard's sentencing.Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady MichelleObama's law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today, called upon thePresident to grant clemency to Pollard.In addition, Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. of Chicago, who is First Lady Michelle Obama's firstcousin, also wrote to President Obama and called upon him to free Pollard.There have been numerous other calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent governmentofficials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in thelegal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders.Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, formerDeputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, and former Senator andChairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, each of whom had the

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