Jonathan Pollard - Nir Keidar
Protesters calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard near the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. Photo by Nir Keidar
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Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman says the way the United States is treating convicted Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard verges on anti-Semitism.

Pollard, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he gave thousands of classified documents to Israel. Pollard was arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison. Israeli governments and high-ranking former U.S. officials have called for his release.

Foxman says there is no reason why Pollard remains incarcerated when spies convicted of far more serious crimes have walked free.

He told Israel's Army Radio on Tuesday that the only explanation is someone is trying to teach the American-Jewish community a lesson in loyalty, and "that to me is on the verge of anti-Semitism."

In a statement released by the ADL, Foxman said the Pollard issue threatens the entire American-Jewish community.

"If it were only a vendetta against one individual, it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American-Jewish community. In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years - the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States."