ABC News: Bush Pardons Man Who Helped Israel During Wartime
In a gesture of forgiveness for a decades-old offense, President George W. Bush on Tuesday granted a pardon posthumously to a man who broke the law to supply aircraft to Jews fighting in Israel's 1948 war of independence.
Charles Winters, a Miami businessman considered a hero in Israel, was listed in a batch of 19 pardons and one commutation that Bush issued before leaving for Camp David to spend the holidays. No high-profile lawbreakers were on the list.
"He and other volunteers from around the world defied weapons embargoes to supply the newly established Israel with critical supplies to defend itself against mounting attacks from all sides,
" New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Gary Ackerman, Jose Serrano and Brian Higgins said in a Dec. 15 letter urging Bush to pardon Charlie Winters. "Without the actions of individuals like Mr. Winters, this fledgling democracy in the Middle East almost certainly would not have survived
as the surrounding nations closed in on Israel's borders."
Winters, a Protestant from Boston, was convicted in 1949 for violating the Neutrality Act for conspiring to export aircraft to a foreign country. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. 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.