December 23, 2008 – New York – AJC today welcomed President Bush’s posthumous pardon of Charles Winters, a key supporter of Israel’s 1948 struggle for independence.
“Charlie Winters was an American hero and a true friend of Israel, who risked his own life to help establish the Jewish State simply because it was the right thing to do,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. “We are grateful to President Bush for this just decision.”
Winters, a non-Jewish businessman, was convicted in 1949 of violating the Neutrality Act for helping to ship American aircraft to Israel the previous year. The planes became Israel’s only bombers in its war for independence. Winters personally flew one converted B-17 from Miami to Czechoslovakia, where it was retrofitted for military use and sent to Israel. He died in 1984.
AJC had sent letters to President Bush and Attorney General Michael Mukasey in August, supporting a posthumous pardon for Winters.