Jewish groups back Pollard clemency letter

Orthodox and Reform Jewish groups are backing a letter circulating in the House of Representatives asking President Barack Obama to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for passing classified information to Israel.

Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) are circulating the letter among their colleagues with plans to submit it to Obama. The letter does not question Pollard’s guilt or sentencing, but points out “a great disparity” and compares Pollard’s time served with others who were found guilty of “similar activity.”

The effort is backed by a number of Orthodox groups, including the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel, as well as by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. — jta