In response to the AP’s fantastical and absurd cloak and dagger tale about Alan Gross‘ work in Cuba helping Jewish organizations on the island connect to the internet, his wife, Judy Gross, speaks out:
Gross’ wife, Susan, addressed the AP story’s claims for the first time on Sunday in a breakfast with congregants at Congregation Chizuk Amuno in Baltimore.
“To suggest that Alan had any ulterior motive other than to help Cuba’s small Jewish community improve its access to information through the Internet and Intranet is categorically false,” she said in prepared remarks shared exclusively with JTA. “Unfortunately, in countries like Cuba, the free flow of information is forbidden, and therefore it should come as no surprise that Alan had to be careful and discreet while he was in Cuba.”
She added, “That members of the media and the blogosphere continue to debate and analyze Alan’s work—a discussion in which the participants openly speculate as to his motives and his actions, despite having never met the man or even spoken with him—while he rots in a Cuban prison without the opportunity to freely and openly respond, is deplorable.”
Susan Gross described her husband’s mission as setting up unfettered Internet access to communicate with Jews outside Cuba and an Intranet so the communities—some in remote areas—could communicate with one another, “allowing them to share things like recipes, prayers and even sports scores.”
She described testimony at Gross’ trial by an elderly Cuban Jewish man who needed assistance in getting to the stand.
“When the prosecutor asked him what Alan showed him on the Internet, he became emotional and said, ‘We saw the world!’ ” she recounted. “A bit taken aback by this response, the prosecutor asked the witness to explain further. He said that Alan used the Internet to show them places they had never seen before—pictures of the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the city of London. Clearly he did so through Google Earth, something we take so much for granted in our country.”