Jonathan Pollard, who was recently released on parole after spending half his life in US jails on charges of spying for Israel, had his plans to deliver his first speech in 30 years disrupted by his unprecedented and draconian parole conditions.
Pollard had been set to speak at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday, but after his plans to address the private off-the-record meeting were leaked to the Forward, his attorneys warned him that anything he said could be leaked, distorted and used to throw him back in jail.
After being introduced as the keynote speaker, Pollard heeded the advice of his attorneys and only made briefs statements of thanks and introduction, explaining the leak to the press forced him not to deliver his speech. He then handed his wife Esther the notes for his speech, and stood by her as she read out what the points of his speech were to have been.
During the speech, a letter hand delivered by President Reuven Rivlin to US President Barack Obama was revealed, and used to describe Pollard's current situation in which he is prevented from working and exercising his religious rights, and effectively blocked from ever reintegrating into society.
Pollard's wife revealed that even if all of the severe parole restrictions were lifted, her husband can still be thrown back into prison for any reason – including for open support of Israel – at any time for the next 15 years, which is the balance of a 45-year life sentence.
She also debunked the reports that Pollard was given a new GPS ankle bracelet that conforms to his religious observance by not requiring him to have to recharge it on Shabbat. She revealed that he is still forced to wear an ankle bracelet requiring him to charge it daily, thereby desecrating the Sabbath in a severe breach of his religious rights as an Orthodox Jew.
Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst, was released from federal prison in November after serving 30 years of a life sentence for passing information about regional threats to the Jewish state.
The restrictive conditions for Pollard’s parole include night curfew to his New York home, a ban from leaving the US and from approaching certain places, including airports and the embassies of Israel, China and South Africa. He is also required to wear a GPS bracelet 24-hours a day, and there is government supervision of any computer he has access to, thereby preventing him from finding a job.
Pollard has requested to be allowed to come to Israel in return for his American citizenship, but that request has so far been denied.