The release of Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison, is “inevitable” and could take place shortly on “technical grounds,” a a prominent Jewish leader and supporter of U.S. President Obama told Haaretz.
The comment, made by Jack Rosen, chairman of the Council for World Jewry, who is in Jerusalem to chair the International Conference of Mayors, came in an apparent contradiction to the Obama administration’s staunch refusal to discuss Pollard’s release.
Notably, late last year the New York Times quoted U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as telling Jewish leaders that the convicted spy would be released “over my dead body.”
While later Biden denied he used that exact phrase, he did, however, confirm that the sentiment expressed in that rejection was indeed his own.
Speaking to Haaretz, Rosen, however, said: “Right now, it looks like he’ll be released in the next few years – shortly,” he said. “There are some technical reasons, I’m told, why he’ll be released. I think there’s an inevitability to that happening.”
Rosen, a New York City real estate executive who hosted Obama at his Upper East Side home for a Democratic Party fundraiser last November, would not be more specific.
“I was told what the technical reasons were but I forgot,” he said. “But it won’t be because of a presidential pardon.” Pressed further as to whether Pollard would be released prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, Rosen replied: “No, no, no. I don’t know when it would be. It would be in some short period of years.”
Rosen’s prediction comes nearly a month after President Shimon Peres sent a personal letter to Obama urging him to consider granting clemency to the 49 year-old Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel in 1986.
Peres’ missive came after a recent hospitalization prompted Pollard’s wife, Esther, to request an urgent meeting with Peres, who is expected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama next month.
Peres is being urged by Pollard supporters to consider refusing America’s highest civilian award until the convicted spy is released.