NEW YORK – The American Jewish Committee has called on the United States Army to stop denying security clearances for Jews who have family living in Israel.
The practice, which the AJC described as disturbing and discriminatory, resurfaced last week after a report that retired dentist from Brooklyn, Dr. Gershon Pincus was denied clearance in September because his mother and siblings live in Israel.
Pincus had initially received a recommendation approving the necessary clearance to work at a Naval clinic in Saratoga Springs, New York.
The decision was made after a subsequent security interview in September. Pincus’ story became known after it appeared in the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday.
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.” He had been to Israel three times in the past 10 years.
The Wall Street Journal also stated that since US President Barack Obama took office, there have been 58 cases similar to Pincus’, in which Israeli ties were a significant factor in the decision. Sixty-two percent of them appealed the decision to deny them security clearance 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.
General Counsel of the American Jewish Committee Marc Stern said that even though the US government “must evaluate every candidate” and conduct thorough background checks, “what is truly stunning is that our [the US] 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.”