Thousands appeal to Obama for Jonathan Pollard’s release

On the eve of Obama’s arrival, at least 2,000 gather in front of President’s Residence in Jerusalem pleading for the release of ailing American spy, Jonathan Pollard.



Over two thousand people gathered in front of the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening to call for the release of Jonathan Pollard, on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s arrival. Some Israeli news outlets are reporting thousands of protesters.

Demonstrator holds a placard during a protest calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard

Demonstrator holds placard during a protest calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard – Photo by Reuters

The protesters are calling on the American president to sign a presidential order for the release of the convicted spy. The streets adjacent to the President’s Residence have been blocked off to traffic.

President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel has led to the launching of a new campaign to free the convicted spy.

Petitions have been signed, newspapers have been recruited, the Facebook page of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro is full of calls to free Pollard and politicians have published notices of support.


A banner depicting U.S. President Barack Obama, and Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish-American who was jailed for life in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 17, 2013. – Photo by AP

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have also jumped on the bandwagon. They have been photographed with Pollard’s wife, Esther, and have stated on camera that they will raise the issue in their meeting with Obama. Although both Peres and Netanyahu are well aware that the public campaign will likely do nothing to secure the release of Pollard from his American prison cell.

White House officials have heard about the petition and know that the question will be broached in Obama’s talks with Israeli leaders. Nonetheless, they stress that there has been no change in the U.S. position on Pollard.

As Obama made clear in his March 14 interview with Channel 2’s Yonit Levy, the American justice system offers periodic review for felons like Pollard seeking early release. Yet the self-confessed spy has never exercised his right to seek parole.


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