|Dual Citizenship -- Loyal to Whom?
Someone wrote and asked me, "Why are there Israeli- but not Mexican-American
Unless we are Native American Indians, all Americans have their origins in some other country. Both of my parents were from England. They were proud to be "British" but they were most proud of achieving their American citizenship. Sure, we had pictures of the Queen and nick-nacks with the Union Jack on them. My mother even celebrated the traditional 4 o'clock tea time and was good at making Yorkshire Pudding. In the late 60's my older brother served in the US Army and did his tour in Viet Nam. When it came down to "allegiance," we were all patriotic Americans. Period.
The word "allegiance" means that we promise loyalty. It also carries with it the expectation that this loyalty will be exclusive and unrestrained. In the case of a declared war or real threat or conflict, for example, our allegiance to America should preclude any other interest, be it another country or political ideology.
When they took their oath to become American citizens, my parents had to pledge their "allegiance" exclusively to America and renounce their allegiance to "any and all foreign governments." That included Great Britain, one of our strongest allies.
Before Viewzone asked me to research the meaning of "dual citizenship," I had never heard of the term. How could someone be a citizen of two countries at the same time? But I was just ignorant. Dual nationalities and citizenships are quite common.
From my internet research, I learned that in 1997, a French Canadian with a U.S. passport ran for mayor of Plattsburgh, N.Y. He argued that the incumbent spoke French too poorly to be running a city so close to Quebec. He lost. Also in 1997, a retired top American official for the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) ran for president of Lithuania. He was inaugurated in February to a burst of fireworks!
In 1996, Dominicans from New York not only could vote in the Dominican Republic's presidential elections for the first time, they could vote for a fellow New Yorker. Multiple nationalities have become so commonplace that some analysts fear the trend is undermining the notion of nationhood, particularly in the place with the most diverse citizenry on Earth: the United States.
Debate over the issue intensified in the late 1990s, when Mexico joined the growing list of poor nations that say it's OK for their nationals to be citizens of the countries to which they have migrated. Under the law that took effect in 1998 Mexicans abroad -- most of them in the United States -- will be able to retain Mexican citizenship even if they seek U.S. citizenship. And naturalized Americans of Mexican descent will be able to reclaim their original citizenship. The Mexican government stopped short, for now, of giving expatriates the right to vote.
Since citizenship carries with it a responsibility to be exclusively loyal to one country, the whole concept of dual citizenship and nationality raises questions about which of the dual citizenships have priority. This is extremely important when the two countries have opposing interests. It can be a deadly problem when a dual citizen is in a high position within our American government.
Can one imagine a Japanese citizen serving in the Pentagon during WWII? Or how about a citizen of the Soviet Union holding a cabinet position in the White House during the Cold War?
Today's conflicts are centered in the Middle East. America needs to balance foreign policies towards oil producing Arab nations with our goal being peace and stability in the region. This places a burdon on our government to be even-handed in our dealings with the Arab world and Israel. While the Iraq War was waged on lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction and revenge for 911, the real reason has emerged as a well designed global plan to improve the power and leverage of Israel. Added to this policy is yet another potential blow to American interests and security -- the impending War with Iran. This war will be waged for the security of Israel and will be paid for by the blood of American soldiers and the hard-earned money of American citizens whose quality of life is inversely tied to the cost of petrolium.
Recently, in their much lauded paper, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Harvard professor, Stephen Walt, and University of Chicago professor, John Mearsheimer, focused attention on the strong Israeli lobby which has a powerful influence over American foreign policies (see BBC article). They detail the influence that this lobby has exerted, forming a series of international policies which can be viewed as in direct opposition to the interests and security of the American people. These acts and policies are more often than not carried out by US government appointees who hold powerful positions and who are dual American-Israeli citizens. Since the policies they support are often exclusively beneficial to Israel, often to the detriment of America, it has been argued that their loyalties are misdirected.
A few classic examples can be cited here.
Jonathan Jay Pollard was an American-Israeli citizen who worked for the US government. He is well known because he stole more secrets from the U.S. than has any other spy in American history. During his interrogation Pollard said he felt compelled to put the "interests of my state" ahead of his own. Although as a U.S. Navy counter-intelligence specialist he had a top-secret security clearance, by "my state" he meant the state of Israel.
Literally tens of thousands of Americans holding U.S. passports admit they feel a primary allegiance to the state of Israel. In many instances, these Americans vote in Israeli elections, wear Israeli uniforms and fight in Israeli wars. Many are actively engaged both in the confiscation of Palestinian lands and in the Israeli political system. Three examples come to mind:
One is Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded the militant Jewish Defense League in the U.S. in the 1960s, then emigrated to Israel where, eventually, he was elected to the Knesset. Until he was shot and killed at one of his U.S. fund-raising rallies in 1990, the Brooklyn-born rabbi shuttled between Tel Aviv and New York, where he recruited militant American Jews for his activities in Israel against Palestinians. He claimed to be a "dual citizen" of America and Israel.
Another Jewish American, James Mahon from Alexandria, Virginia, reportedly was on a secret mission to kill PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat when he was shot in 1980 by an unknown assailant. When he was shot, Mahon held an American M-16 in his hand and a U.S. passport in his pocket.
Then there was Alan Harry Goodman, an American Jew who left his home in Baltimore, Maryland, flew to Israel and served in the Israeli army. Then, on April 11, 1982, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, he walked, alone, to Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine, where he opened fire, killing two Palestinians and wounding others. Both the U.S. and Israeli governments played down the incident, as did the media.
Most recently, US Navy Petty Officer, Ariel J. Weinmann, while serving at or near Bahrain, Mexico, and Austria, "with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation (Israel), [attempted] to communicate, deliver or transmit classified CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET information relating to the national defense, to a representative, officer, agent or employee of a foreign government." Weinmann was apprehended on March 26 after being listed as "a deserter by his command," according to the US Navy. The information he gathered was supplied to Israel.
BREAKING NEWS -- April 22, 2008, Ben-Ami Kadish, a Connecticut-born U.S. dual citizen who worked in New Jersey was arrested and charged with giving top secret nuclear information and details about the US Patriot Missile to an Israeli agent -- the same agent involved with the Jay Pollard case. The espionage charges reportedly stem from acts committed in the 1980s. These activities, like the ones with convicted spy Pollard, were immediately denied by Israel (Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986). It is further reported that Israeli officials instructed Kadish to lie to US investigators. Kadish is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon [April 22, 2008] at U.S. District Court in Manhattan, authorities said. More details coming soon.
The examples of Kahane, Mahonm, Goodman and Weinmann raise the question of when a U.S. citizen ceases to be, or should cease to be, a U.S. citizen. U.S. Law at one time clearly stated that an American citizen owed first allegiance to the United States. A U.S. citizen should not fight in a foreign army or hold high office in a foreign country without risking expatriation. What the heck happened?
The 1940 Nationality Act
Section 401 (e) of the 1940 Nationality Act provides that a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization, "shall lose his [U.S.] nationality by...voting in a political election in a foreign state."
This law was tested many times. In 1958, for instance, an American citizen named Perez voted in a Mexican election. The case went to the Supreme Court, where the majority opinion held that Perez must lose his American nationality. The court said Congress could provide for expatriation as a reasonable way of preventing embarrassment to the United States in its foreign relations.
But then something very odd happened.
In 1967 an American Jew, Beys Afroyim received an exemption that set a precedent exclusively for American Jews. Afroyim, born in Poland in 1895, emigrated to America in 1912, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1926. In 1950, aged 55, he emigrated to Israel and became an Israeli citizen. In 1951 Afroyim voted in an Israeli Knesset election and in five political elections that followed. So, by all standards he lost his American citizenship -- right? Wrong.
After living in Israel for a decade, Afroyim wished to return to New York. In 1960, he asked the U.S. Consulate in Haifa for an American passport. The Department of State refused the application, invoking section 401 (e) of the Nationality Act -- the same ruling that had stripped the American citizen named Perez of his U.S. citizenship.
Attorneys acting for Afroyim took his case to a Washington, DC District Court, which upheld the law. Then his attorneys appealed to the Court of Appeals. This court also upheld the law. The attorneys for Afroyim then moved the case on to the Supreme Court. Here, with Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, Lyndon Johnson's former attorney and one of the most powerful Jewish Americans, casting the swing vote, the court voted five to four in favor of Afroyim. The court held that the U.S. government had no right to "rob" Afroyim of his American citizenship!
The court, reversing its previous judgment as regards the Mexican American, ruled that Afroyim had not shown "intent" to lose citizenship by voting in Israeli elections. Huh?
While Washington claims it has a "good neighbor" policy with Mexico, the U.S. does not permit Mexicans to hold dual nationality. The US makes them become either U.S. or Mexican -- you can't be both. But the U.S., in its special relationship with Israel, has become very sympathetic to allowing Israeli-Americans to retain two nationalities and allowing U.S. citizens not only to hold public office in Israel, but to hold US government positions as well! No other country holds this special exception to our laws of citizenship.
So, you might ask, are there any other dual Israel-American citizens who hold US government positions that could compromise American security? Yes. Consider the following list that I obtained on the web:
Lawrence (Larry) Franklin
Franklin will "remain free while the government continues with the wider case" and his "prison time could be sharply reduced in return for his help in prosecuting" former AIPAC members Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, [who] are scheduled to go on trial in April . Franklin admitted that he met periodically with Rosen and Weissman between 2002 and 2004 and discussed classified information, including information about potential attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Rosen and Weissman would later share what they learned with reporters and Israeli officials." (source: sourcewatch.com).
Feith was investigated by the FBI under suspicion of leaking classified information to Israel, being that he was Larry Franklin's boss when Franklin leaked those documents to Rosen and Weissman of AIPAC. For that he was forced to leave the National Security Council. Feith was also investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee for sexing up 'intelligence' that was used to justify invading Iraq.
Dov Zakheim is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2000 a co-author of the Project for the New American Century's position paper, Rebuilding America's Defenses, advocating the necessity for a Pearl-Harbor-like incident to mobilize the country into war with its enemies, mostly Middle Eastern Muslim nations.
He was appointed by Bush as Pentagon Comptroller from May 4, 2001 to March 10, 2004. At that time he was unable to explain the disappearance of $1 trillion dollars. Actually, nearly three years earlier, Donald Rumsfeld announced on September 10, 2001 that an audit discovered $2.3 trillion was also missing from the Pentagon books. That story, as mentioned, was buried under 9-11's rubble. The two sums disappeared on Zakheim's watch. We can only guess where that cash went.
Despite these suspicions, on May 6, 2004, Zakheim took a lucrative position at Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the most prestigious strategy consulting firms in the world. One of its clients then was Blessed Relief, a charity said to be a front for Osama bin Laden. Booz, Allen & Hamilton then also worked closely with DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is the research arm of the Department of Defense.
Judicial Inc's bio of Dov tells us Zakheim is a dual Israeli/American citizen and has been tracking the halls of US government for 25 years, casting defense policy and influence on Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. Judicial Inc points out that most of Israel's armaments were gotten thanks to him. Squads of US F-16 and F-15 were classified military surplus and sold to Israel at a fraction of their value.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
I don't know about you, but dual citizenship is fine with me for an ordinary citizen. But if you hold an official position that demands that you put American interests above all else -- if you should look transparent and fair to the rest of the world regarding your formation of Middle East foreign policies, then this is a dangerous trend. Even if there were no pro-Israeli agenda, the fact that decision makers have a bias or an allegiance to one of the parties involved in the current conflict should have raised red flags long before now.
Hey, I could be way off on this. Let's hear from you.
UPDATE: December 4, 2007
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reports that Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz has been rewarded with a new position in the Bush administration which will allow him to oversee classified intelligence and inform policies on WMD issues.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job," said one senior official.
[Editor's comment: You couldn't make this stuff up!]