Hundreds of mostly Jewish demonstrators rallied today on the doorstep of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign headquarters, demanding the first lady use her influence with the president to win the release of a convicted Israeli spy.
The rally of rabbis and community leaders was the second in recent months calling on Clinton to state her position on whether former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard--who has served 14 years of a life sentence after pleading guilty to selling U.S. military secrets to Israel--should be freed.
"We are not going away. This is only the beginning of the campaign. We want to know from Hillary where she stands on this important issue," said Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who led the demonstration on the sidewalk outside Clinton's Manhattan headquarters.
Clinton was in Washington at the time of the rally and her campaign spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
The first lady is campaigning for the Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who is retiring.
The Pollard issue could be important in Clinton's bid for office because she risks alienating some Jewish voters, a key constituency in any New York political campaign. She has been heavily criticized by the same Jewish activists for sitting in silence last month while Suha Arafat, wife of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, made a speech highly critical of Israel at a delicate time in the peace process.