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Obama should pardon Pollard

1:30 PM EDT, March 18, 2013

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I agree with Kenneth Lasson's article "Obama should free Pollard" (Feb. 27). Mr. Lasson made a good point in comparing the president's very low record of clemency grants to that of past Presidents like Lincoln, Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Bush.

Meanwhile, numerous illegal immigrants, drug pushers, and other more hardcore criminals have been released from our prisons as part of the president's recent sequester cuts. Also, in Israel there have been thousands of terrorists released from prisons (some with blood on their hands) as part of an exchange for dead soldiers returned in caskets and more recently, one live kidnapped Israeli soldier. We have to do better than that.

Mr. Lasson reminds us that "The fundamental belief in our American values are based upon a biblical principle of Deuteronomy 16:20: 'Justice, justice, shall Thou pursue.'" It's time for our president and other leaders to show compassion and equal justice for this one Jewish man who has served more than 20 years of suffering a much harsher punishment than any person of a similar crime.

The president's upcoming trip to Israel does give him a chance "to mend some political fences" and what better way than to show respect to the many Israelis, Americans, Congressional leaders, as well as former secretaries of state and religious leaders who have signed petitions appealing for Jonathan's clemency and long overdue pardon.

It would be a feather in President Obama's cap to grant Jonathan Pollard clemency and would help promote warmer relations with Israeli leaders. This is especially important now when there is so much division between both countries. Our president needs to show more objectivity when it comes to showing justice for all. Americans need to believe in our leaders because they show true equal fairness and compassion toward everyone. But unfortunately, this has not been the case for Jonathan and his family. If not now, when? Indifference is the worst sin.

Barbara Bloom, Owings Mills

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