Jonathan Pollard Forgoes Speech to Major U.S. Jewish Leaders in Fear of Violating Parole

Expected to give first speech after 30 years in prison, former Israeli spy defers to his wife who details his difficult parole conditions.

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Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard departs U.S. District court after a hearing with his wife in the Manhattan borough of New York December 14, 2015.
Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard departs U.S. District court after a hearing with his wife in the Manhattan borough of New York December 14, 2015.Credit: Reuters

JTA - Jonathan Pollard delivered only brief remarks Monday, at what was to have been his first speech after 30 years in prison as a spy for Israel.

Aaron Troodler, a spokesman for Justice for Jonathan Pollard, said Pollard briefly introduced himself at the meeting at the offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and then asked his wife, Esther, to read from his notes.

News of the meeting, which was off the record, had been leaked to the Forward. Troodler said in his release that Pollard’s lawyers feared that anything more expansive than a few remarks could be used against the former spy and send him to jail. Pollard remains on parole.

“He was unable to present his address at this historic event because of his Draconian parole conditions,” Troodler said.

Troodler said Esther Pollard outlined parole conditions “in which Pollard is not only prevented from working and from exercising his religious rights, but also effectively prevents him from ever reintegrating into society.” He said Esther Pollard also revealed that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed President Barack Obama a letter regarding Pollard’s parole conditions during a White House meeting last month.

The conditions for Pollard’s five-year parole include wearing an electronic ankle bracelet with GPS tracking and surveillance of his and any employer’s computers. He also is confined to his New York home between 7 P.M. and 7 A.M. — a condition, Pollard’s attorneys have argued in requesting an easing of the restrictions, that has interfered with his ability to observe the Jewish Sabbath and certain holidays, and could preclude him from holding a job.

According to Troodler, the Forward’s reporting that Pollard is allowed a Shabbat-friendly GPS device is false.

U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler and Eliot Engel, New York Democrats who have advocated for an easing of Pollard’s parole conditions, were to have been present. Engel could not make it because of inclement weather, but Nadler was on hand, according to a photo supplied by Troodler. Nadler did not return a request for an interview.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Presidents Conference, confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but questioned Justice for Jonathan Pollard’s decision to put out a release.

“The publication of the details cannot but harm his case,” Hoenlein told JTA. “The members of the Conference observed their restrictions, it’s regrettable that” JFJP “did not.”

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