(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
NEW YORK – The American Jewish Committee has called on the US military to stop denying security clearances to Jews who have family living in Israel.
The practice, which the AJC describes as disturbing and discriminatory, resurfaced last week when a retired dentist from Brooklyn, Dr. Gershon Pincus, who had initially received a recommendation approving the necessary clearance to work at a naval clinic in Saratoga Springs, New York, was denied his clearance because his mother and siblings live in Israel.
The decision was made after a subsequent security interview in September. Pincus’s story became known after it appeared in The Wall Street Journal
According to the article, the dentist, who had ran a successful private dental practice in New York City for 35 years, applied to serve in the United States military to “give something back to his country,” and had only been to Israel three times in the past 10 years.
Since President Barack Obama took office, there have been 58 similar cases, in which Israeli ties were a significant factor in the decision to deny security clearance, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Sixty-two percent of those denied clearance appealed the decision and lost.
“For comparison, there has been just one case of a French citizen losing an appeal and being denied a clearance, and zero involving British citizens,” the article said.
Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, said that even though the US government “must evaluate every candidate” and conduct thorough background checks, “what is truly stunning is that our armed forces make judgments on the loyalty of certain American citizens based solely on their Jewish identity and any family ties to Israel.
“To be sure, this questionable practice resurrecting the shopworn canard of dual loyalty has been taking place for years, over several administrations,” Stern added. “For the good of the country, it is high time that it be brought to an end.”