A prominent American Jewish organization this week urged the US government to end a decades-long policy of denying security clearance for US Jews with family in Israel.
Citing the case of a Jewish dentist who had initially been approved to work at a naval base in New York, only to have his clearance denied after it emerged he had relatives in Israel, the American Jewish Committee slammed “the shopworn canard of dual loyalty,” and demanded an end to the practice.
“Of course, the US must evaluate every candidate, but 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,” said the AJC’s general counsel Marc Stern in an emailed statement.
“To be sure, this questionable practice resurrecting the shopworn canard of dual loyalty has been taking place for years, over several administrations. For the good of the country, it is high time that it be brought to an end.”
The issue of so-called “dual loyalty” briefly returned to the spotlight recently, with the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish civilian analyst for the US Navy who served 30 years in jail for passing classified documents to Israel. Following his 1985 arrest, the vast majority of Jewish leaders in the US sought to distance themselves from the case, which, like the trial and execution of Jules and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953, was seen as corrosively toxic to the achievements of American Jewry.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish Democrat in the Senate, also faced accusations of putting Israel’s interests above those of his own country earlier this year, when he came out against the July 14 agreement between world powers and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program, which was also heavily criticized by Jerusalem.
After Schumer announced that he was opposed to the deal, a weekly cartoon on liberal website Daily Kos depicted the senator as a woodchuck, and in the course of a TV interview, the flag in the woodchuck’s office changes from American to Israeli and the moderator, a basset hound, calls Schumer a traitor.