Tag Archives: Obama

39 Congressmen advocating for release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard

ACTION ALERT

AMP urges supporters to take action and denounce latest Israel-first policies

(CHICAGO 11/22/2010) – Thirty-nine Democratic U.S. Representatives have signed a letter asking President Barak Obama to grant clemency to convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. The elected officials are working in tandem with several Zionist and religious Jewish organizations, including the Zionist Organization of America, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, B’nai B’rith International, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) urges its supporters to take action and call on the congressmen to uphold America’s interest and stop these Israel-first policies. Freeing Pollard is unpatriotic and harms America’s long-standing interests.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1986, after he confessed to spying for the state of Israel. Pollard, who was a civilian research analyst with high security clearance for the U.S. Navy, had agreed to spy for Israel for 10 years in exchange for more than $500,000. According to a January 1999 article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, Pollard “betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems.”  Pollard caused extensive damage to U.S. intelligence and U.S. national security because of the nature of the highly sensitive documents he sold to Israel.

In many cases, Israel bartered top-secret U.S. intelligence documents it received from Pollard with the Soviet Union, in exchange for Soviet Jewish colonial emigration to historic Palestine, Hersh wrote.

Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has hinted at Israeli concessions in the stalled peace talks if Pollard is released, according to the Jerusalem Post. This is not the first time he has used the American Jewish traitor as a bargaining chip in Middle East peace negotiations. As prime minister in October 1998, Netanyahu also tried to gain Pollard’s release in exchange for concessions during the Wye River, Maryland, talks with then-President Bill Clinton.

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is outraged that 39 U.S. representatives care more about the state of Israel than they do for American security. It is time for our elected officials to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s.

TAKE ACTION

Below is the letter, initiated by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, to President Barack Obama as well as the names of the 39 representatives who have put Israel’s interest ahead of America’s by signing the letter.

  • AMP urges you to contact the signatories to say that their support of someone who has done incalculable damage to the security of the United States is reprehensible and unacceptable.
  • If your representative did not sign the letter, please write and thank him or her. AMP also asks you to urge them to resist pressure from their Israel-first colleagues.
  • Write a letter to President Obama to express your disapproval of this letter and to stress that Americans deserve and demand that U.S. policymakers put our interests ahead of a foreign country’s.

November 18, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to urge you to use your constitutional power to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, thereby releasing him from prison after the time he has already served. Mr. Pollard committed serious crimes and he has expressed remorse. Such an exercise of the clemency power would not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted. Those who have such views are of course entitled to continue to have them, but the clemency grant has nothing to do with that.

We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served — or not served at all — by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us. It is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.

In summary, we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system. We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.

Sincerely,

Barney Frank (D-MA)

Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY)

Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ)

Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

Robert A. Brady (D-PA)

Danny Davis (D-IL)

Theodore E. Deutsch (D-FL)

Eliot L. Engel (D-NY)

John J. Hall (D-NY)

James A. Himes (D-CT)

Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY)

Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI)

John Lewis (D-GA)

Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)

Michael E. McMahon (D-NY)

Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY)

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

John W. Olver (D-MA)

Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)

Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)

Donald M. Payne (D-NJ)

Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)

Laura Richardson (D-CA)

Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL)

Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA)

Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

Niki Tsongas (D-MA)

Henry A. Waxman (D-CA)

Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

To find the addresses and phone numbers of elected officials, click here.

To send an email to President Obama, click here.

For more background information on Jonathan Pollard, go to these resources:

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 19, 2010.

Seymour M. Hersh, Annals of Espionage, “The Traitor,” The New Yorker, January 18, 1999, p. 26 ($5.99 fee)

Ian Williams, “A Tale of Two Spies,” July/August 1993 Washington Report, p. 13.

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national, grassroots organization, whose mission is to educate the American public about issues relating to Palestine and its rich, cultural heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org, call 888.404.4AMP, or email info@ampalestine.org.

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President Obama’s UN speech dismisses legitimate grievances; places blame squarely on Palestinian shoulders

By Kristin Szremski

President Barack Obama’s speech to the  United Nations General Assembly Thursday was a crushing blow to those who have the audacity to hope that the United States can and will be a truly honest broker in the Middle East peace process. In his remarks – delivered in his trademark lets-get-this-job-done style, Mr. Obama shifted the paradigm of discussion in much the same way his predecessor George Bush framed the post-911 debate by saying “You are either with us or you’re with the terrorists,” leaving no middle ground where true debate can take place.

Mr. Obama set the stage by saying Israel is the historic home of the Jewish people and then immediately moved to stifle any justifiable debate this statement – for which no historical or empirical evidence exists –  would elicit by saying it was time move on and to forgo “the familiar list of grievances.”

In two short paragraphs, Mr. Obama dismissed the rights of the Palestinians who had lived in that region for thousands of years before the creation of the State of Israel. With this dismissive phrase, Mr. Obama negated the validity of very real grievances held by the millions of Palestinians who constitute 40 percent of the world’s refugees – the largest and longest-standing refugee population. He chose to ignore the plight of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in an abject humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip or the

He evoked the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human when he said that “freedom, justice and peace for the world must begin with freedom, justice, and peace in the lives of individual human beings.” The United States upholds these values because it is the right thing to do, according to the president, who also said that those who uphold these values are America’s friends while those who “have denied those rights – whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments – have chosen to be our adversaries.”

What is so maddening is that Israel is guilty of exactly what Mr. Obama is attributing to our adversaries – by implication in this case, the Palestinians. But the president overlooks Israel’s duplicity to focus instead, once again, on its victimhood. “The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance – it’s injustice,” President Obama told the General Assembly.

What about the slaughter of innocent Palestinians?  Are the deaths of more than thousands Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police and illegal settlers, worth any less than the deaths of Israelis? Don’t their deaths amount to injustice as well?

To be sure, no one can support the bloodletting of innocents.

But how President Obama can unconditionally support Israel without once acknowledging that it consistently denies the rights of not just the Palestinians but also of non-Orthodox Jews living in Israel, undermines the sincerity and determination he is trying to achieve with this speech. He therefore undermines the position the United States is trying to take within the Arab and Muslim worlds. Annually, the U.S. Department of State lists numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel upon Palestinians and non-Orthodox Jews in its Human Rights Report. The same is true in the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

One can’t travel to Jerusalem, let alone the West Bank, without seeing evidence of home demolitions; the 30-foot-high concrete barrier isolating Palestinian villages into tiny enclaves; complete lack of freedom of movement; and the illegal settlement construction that eats up more and more Palestinian land with each passing year.

Because of Israel’s occupation, per capita income in the Palestinian Occupied Territories has dropped 45 percent since 2000 and its gross domestic product has plummeted too, and consequently unemployment and poverty have skyrocketed.

The Israeli military, police and illegal Israeli settlers killed more than 6,500 Palestinians – including nearly 400 children – between 2000 and Dec. 30, 2009.

At the end of 2009, roughly 9.400 Palestinians, including 310 children and 34 women, were still in Israeli custody in detention facilities mostly inside Israel, in violation of international law. In Gaza, the number of detained was 855. Many of these prisoners were being held without charges for indefinite periods of time.

Also in 2009, Israel destroyed some 2,881 housing units giving shelter to 3,253 families totaling 18,750 individuals; more than 3,000 houses were partially destroyed and at least 16,000 houses were damaged and 51,453 civilians suffered from fear and forcible migration, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

President Obama: According to international law – and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which you quoted in your speech – all of the above facts amount to legitimate, justifiable grievances for the Palestinian people. To discard these and to disallow them to be part of the discussion, you are discarding the entirety of the occupation and its unjust legacy. You are laying the responsibility for the Middle East conflict solely and squarely upon the shoulders of the victims – the Palestinians and obligating them to meet the demands of the very people who are occupying them.

You can drive Mr. Abbas – who has very limited support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza – to the bargaining table. But until the United States has the integrity and temerity to stand for truth and to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity and force it to end the occupation, you will never achieve peace.

Until you speak the truth, you will not be able to count peace in the Middle East among the legacies of your presidency.

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