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Hillary Clinton Is Urged To Seek Pollard’s Release In A Bid For Votes In New York

Allan Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
September-October 1999

New York City Assembleyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, has asked Hillary Clinton to seek clemency for convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is now serving a life sentence.  

Addressing a sidewalk rally in New York, Hikind said: "We are pleading with Hillary to impress her husband with the humanitarian aspects of a pardon for Jonathan Pollard..."  

Discussing the New York Senate contest, Hikind, who is active in Orthodox Jewish circles, said: "Hillary has a lot of work to do in our community and we are watching very carefully. She is for the unity of Jerusalem—very nice. But words alone do simply not work. Action is what will count, and I am determined to make this the number one issue in our community."  

The Washington Times (Aug. 31, 1999) reports that, "The issue illustrates the tightrope the first lady must walk as a likely candidate for the seat of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan...Mrs. Clinton is seeking support from New York’s 1.6 million Jews. She is also trying to minimize the damage from her past comments in favor of a Palestinian state."  

President Clinton remains noncommittal about Israel‘s requests that he release Pollard, who pleaded guilty to spying charges in 1986. The Pentagon, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. all oppose the release of Pollard. Earlier this year, 58 senators from both parties wrote to President Clinton urging him not to pardon or commute Pollard’s sentence.  

Comparing the pleas for Pollard’s release to the campaign for the release of FALN Puerto Rican terrorists, The New Yorker (Sept. 20, 1999) reports: "A number of Jews...seized upon the controversy as a chance to demand an equivalent show of respect. If a bunch of Puerto Rican conspirators could get clemency, surely the First Lady ought to be able to spring one Israeli spy..."  

Writing in The New York Post (Sept. 13, 1999), Floyd Flake, a former Democratic congressman from New York, laments "the fact that the most prominent issue to date has fanned the embers of ethnicity. The Puerto Rican community’s increasing power has been felt...as respected leaders chastised Clinton over her opposition to the grant of clemency for convicted FALN terrorists, Now parts of the Jewish community have responded that this is the right time to push for clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. I suspect that people in the African-American community will begin to look for ways to seek clemency for convicted or escaped Black Panthers...And so on and so on. Where will it ever end...If we have learned anything over time in modern American politics (here in Gotham and even down south), it’s that the politics of division will never triumph over the politics of addition...In the end, neither candidate can benefit from fights in the ghettoes of racial, religious, cultural and Ethnic balkanization...we all come out losers in that race."

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