Each year, just before Pesach, Malcolm Hoenlein writes a letter to President Obama requesting that he grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
But this year, in anticipation for the recent proposed Pollard swap deal, Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, has held off sending the letter.
Speaking with the NY Times, Hoenlein said he is waiting to see whether President Obama will release Mr. Pollard as part of a quid pro quo with Israel that would keep peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians on track.
While he believes Pollard should be released purely on humanitarian grounds, Hoenlein said he was resigned to the possibility that the decision would be driven by diplomatic calculations, particularly since Pollard is eligible for release in November 2015, which makes him a diminishing asset as a bargaining chip.
“All along, many of us felt his release would be part of a larger context,” Hoenlein told the Times.