I find it disgusting that President Peres accepted the Medal of Freedom from President Obama under current conditions (“Shimon Peres has journey,” June 15). Clemency should be granted to Jonathan Pollard as a matter of justice. There is worldwide support for clemency for Pollard from former members of various agencies within the U.S. government, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. President Peres presented President Obama with a new petition with more 75,000 names calling for clemency for Pollard. Pollard is being held in prison as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to take actions that it does not want to take. Dennis Ross, in his book The Missing Peace, writes that he advised Clinton not to release Pollard, even though there were commitments at the Wye conference with Netanyahu to do so. He said that humanitarian concerns are outweighed by politics, even though the sentence was unjustified.
Having Jay Carney say that Pollard will not be released at his daily press conference is one more use of subordinates to shield Obama from making the announcement himself.
Peres allowed himself to be used by Obama to further Obama’s stature with the Jewish community in the run-up to the upcoming elections. Peres had an excellent opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes promise, in writing, to grant clemency for Pollard. Instead, he received a medal and talked effusively about how great Obama is with the State of Israel.
It is interesting that the U.S. urges and pressures Israel to free terrorist prisoners who have the blood of Israelis and Americans on their hands but cannot find the decency to free a prisoner whose sentence was disproportionate to the crime committed.
The acceptance of the medal should have been tied to Pollard’s freedom.