Winters, who died in the 1980s in Florida, was in the airplane business after World War II. He bought up former military cargo planes and used them to transport fruit and other products. He later started helping his Jewish friends who were shipping arms to Jews trying to found their own state in the Middle East.
Winters, a Protestant from Boston, could fly his planes in and out of the region without interference from authorities. In 1948, three of his planes left Miami, picked up weapons in Azores and Czechoslovakia and then left the planes and arms in Palestine.
Winters was convicted of violating the Neutrality Act, fined $5,000 and sentenced to serve 18 months in prison. The act is designed to ensure that financial assistance and arms are not provided to parties in foreign conflicts where the US has not taken sides.
Two others, Herman Greenspun and Al Schwimmer, also were convicted of violating the act, but they did not serve time. President Kennedy pardoned Greenspun in 1961. President Clinton pardoned Schwimmer in 2000.
Kudos to the President for this move. It sends exactly the right message to the enemies of Israel who are also the enemies of the United States. The U.S. had not taken sides in Israel's battle to be born and in the struggle of the Jewish inhabitants of the Mandate to avoid being pushed into the sea. But the U.S. has taken a side now. Or at least up to now. Bush's trust in Abbas, pressure on Israel to capitulate to terror and encouragement of palestinian statehood may be misguided, but in the war for Israel's survival, he's left no doubt as to where the United States of America stands. This pardon rights a wrong and underscores that point. And it will generate much seething on the part of Israel haters and moonbats. Cool.
Of course, the pardon of Winters won't assuage those who are demanding that other pardon. I've made my position on that question crystal clear many times in the past and it hasn't changed. I trust that, notwithstanding this sort of nonsense, the President will leave it alone.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah.