Gilad Shalit? No.
Jonathan Pollard? Nope.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky? Nyet.
Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Joshua Fattal? nada.
Give up?

It’s Alan Gross. Alan is wrongfully imprisoned (undoubtedly along with hundreds of others) in Cuba for handing out cell phones.

But one could but find Sec. Clinton’s comments strange considering that the US Jewish community has been mobilizing to help bring attention to Gilad Shalit who has been held in isolation by Hamas for four years.

Jonathan Pollard was convicted 25 years ago of passing on US secrets to Israel, an American ally, and was sentenced to life in prison. Pollards backers have proven his punishment did not fit the crime.

Elie Wiesel has launched a global campaign to free former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is on trial in Moscow for embezzlement and theft.

Josh Fattal and his friends Shane and Sarah were arrested by Iran one year ago.

Remember Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Joshua Fattal? The three were arrested by Iranian authorities July 31, 2009, during what their friends and families describe as a hiking trip in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, which borders Iran. Tehran officials say the three crossed illegally into Iranian territory.

The three young Americans, all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley, are believed to be held in the Iranian capital, Tehran. They have had no contact with their families, and have not been granted their right to consular access.

Clinton makes plea for Cuban detainee Alan Gross

July 14, 2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asked Jewish groups to press the case of Alan Gross, an American Jew imprisoned in Cuba.

Gross, 60, has been held since his Dec. 3 arrest for assisting the Cuban Jewish community to connect to the Internet. He was contracted to the U.S. Agency for International Development….

“Our government works every single day through every channel for his release and safe return home,” Clinton said. “But I am really making an appeal to the active Jewish community here in our country to join this cause.”

Ironically, it takes Sen. Clinton to wake up the Jewish community to the plight of their imprisoned Jews, and the opportunity to pursue the mitzvah of pidyon shevuim, for which it is permissible to break the Sabbath.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Clinton may see an opportunity to spring Mr. Gross, after Raul/Fidel released and deported a number of other Cuban political prisoners last week.

  • What I’m confused about is what motivates Jews like Gross and the three held in Iran to leave the confines of their safe country and go to such risky places, especially for Jews? The others I understand, but these others to take such risks for such little reward. Why any Jew would hike around in a Muslim country, even one friendly with Israel is beyond me.

    I have a theory and I’m sincerely wondering if any of you believe there is any credence to it, but I think that sometimes, many open-minded Westerns who haven’t ever experienced the brutality and ass-backwardness of some 3rd World cultures really, earnestly believe in the inherent good nature of man, and find out the hard way that we really do live in a better, more moral world, but by then, it’s too late.

  • AlexK, I think your assessment of Westerners is spot on. That said, I agree with Tom that this situation presents an opportunity where something can actually get done. The other cases are ones in which we have far less power.