How the administration treats a Jewish dentist with family in Israel compared to an Islamist ally.
The Obama administration’s anti-Israel sentiment knows no bounds. The latest example involves the denial of a security clearance to a Jewish-American dentist, Dr. Gershon Pincus, on the grounds that he has “divided loyalties.” All that Dr. Pincus wanted to do was to use the experience and skills he had gained over a lifetime of private practice to give back to his country – the United States of America. He wanted to serve American troops as a dentist at an off-base U.S. Navy clinic. Nothing doing, decided the Obama administration after a second security investigation of the dentist. Using a McCarthyite guilt by association rationale, the dentist was disqualified because of his close family ties in Israel and the possible contact of his family members with their Israeli neighbors.
Dr. Pincus’s original security investigation had reached a positive conclusion: “There is nothing in subject’s background or character that would make him vulnerable to blackmail, extortion, coercion or duress.” That should have ended the matter. After all, Dr. Pincus was not applying for a sensitive job in the Department of Defense or the CIA. He was simply seeking to provide dental services at an off-base U.S. Naval clinic.
However, the Obama administration was not through investigating Dr. Pincus. It ordered a second investigation, conducted this time by a contract investigator sent by the Office of Personnel Management. The bill of particulars resulting from this second investigation are set out in the “Statement of Reasons” for denying Dr. Pincus’s request for security clearance. They included such shocking details as the fact that the dentist’s ailing mother now lives in Israel along with his brother and sister. He sends money to his mother to help her pay her rent. He calls his family members and has even visited Israel three times in the last eight years for his father’s funeral, his niece’s wedding and to see his mother. Dr. Pincus’s deceased son was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel and also served for six months in the Israeli Army.
“Foreign contacts and interests may be a security concern due to divided loyalties or financial foreign interests,” quoted the Statement of Reasons from the federal government’s Adjudicative Guideline B – Foreign Influence. They “may be manipulated or induced to help a foreign person, group, organization, or government in a way that is not in U.S. interests, or is vulnerable to pressure or coercion by any foreign interests.”
Just regurgitating this expression of security concerns from the Guideline is meaningless without considering the context in which it is supposed to be applied. Guideline B lists a number of mitigating circumstances that investigators are expected to take into account, among which are whether “the nature of the relationships with foreign persons, the country in which these persons are located, or the positions or activities of those persons in that country are such that it is unlikely the individual will be placed in a position of having to choose between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organization, or government and the interests of the U.S.”
In Dr. Pincus’s case, the Statement of Reasons explaining the decision to deny his security clearance does not point to any security risk posed by the dentist himself or his relatives living in Israel. There is not a single shred of evidence cited, including any questionable statements or associations, which calls into question the loyalty of Dr. Pincus’s family members to the United States. Nor are any activities referenced that could pose a conflict of interest for Dr. Pincus in serving as a dentist at the Navy clinic. The dentist’s son who had served in the Israeli army is no longer alive. His mother is ailing. His brother does not want to become an Israeli citizen. His sister does hold dual citizenship, but there is nothing to indicate that she is in a position of influence in Israel that would force Dr. Pincus to have to choose between Israel’s interests and the interests of the United States, assuming there were even a circumstance in which his dental activities and access to the Navy clinic could cause a problem.
Moreover, the Statement of Reasons admits that Dr. Pincus himself has “no intentions of moving to Israel, or obtaining Israeli citizenship.” Nevertheless, the second investigation led to his disqualification.
This disgraceful decision was not an isolated occurrence. Although subject to an appeal, there is not much cause for optimism that it will be reversed. A Wall Street Journal Op Ed by Bret Stephens reported that “there have been a total of 58 cases in which Israeli ties were a significant factor in the decision. Of these, 36 applicants—an astonishing 62% of the total—lost their appeals and had their clearance applications denied.”
Contrast the arbitrary, discriminatory treatment of a Jewish American dentist who has family ties to Israel with a Muslim American who has family ties to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter, Huma Abedin, was allowed to serve in the Obama State Department and remains a close confidante of Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s Office of Personnel Management and State Department evidently did not consider Ms. Abedin a security risk for a much more sensitive job than serving as a dentist at an off-base Navy clinic, despite the following undisputed facts:
1. Although born in the United States, Huma Abedin grew up in Saudi Arabia, where her parents were recruited by Abdullah Omar Naseef (a jihadist affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Muslim World League) to establish an organization known as the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA). The principle underlying the notion of Muslim Minority Affairs is to discourage assimilation of Muslim minority populations into the culture and society of their host non-Muslim majority countries. Such separatism would enable the Muslim minority population to grow over time and expand the influence of sharia law in their host countries.
2. Huma Abedin returned to the United States from Saudi Arabia to attend George Washington University, where she was an executive board member of George Washington University's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim Students Association.
3. Huma's late father founded IMMA's Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, now run by Abedin's mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin. Saleha Abedin is a sociologist with ties to numerous jihadist organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood. She has directed the Jordan-based International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC), which supports the implementation of strict sharia law. Saleha Abedin still lives in Saudi Arabia.
4. Huma Abedin served as an assistant editor for the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs for twelve years, leaving shortly before she joined the State Department in 2009. The first seven of the years in which Huma was an assistant editor overlapped with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Naseef's active presence at IMMA, including one year in which Huma and Naseef served together on the editorial board of the journal.
5. Huma Abedin did not distance herself from her mother, despite her mother’s jihadist views that place sharia law over man-made law and self-governance. In fact, Huma Abedin introduced Hillary Clinton to her mother during a visit to Saudi Arabia, while Hillary was serving as Secretary of State.
In short, Huma Abedin has a family connection to Saudi Arabia, the source of the Wahhabi jihadist ideology and the country where fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers came from. She grew up there. Huma’s mother is a well-known jihadist in Saudi Arabia still active in pushing a sharia law agenda that is antithetical in material respects to the Constitution of the United States and American values. Dr. Gershon Pincus has a mother, brother and sister living in Israel, which, at least prior to the Obama administration, has been our closest ally in the Middle East. His mother has dementia and neither she, nor Dr. Pincus’s siblings, have expressed any ideology incompatible with the U.S. Constitution or American values.
Yet Huma Abedin, a self-proclaimed “proud Muslim,” slid through her security screening to a highly sensitive job at the State Department and is now a key adviser to the leading Democratic candidate for president. No such luck for Dr. Pincus, who just wanted to take care of the dental needs of some Navy personnel. If this isn’t an example of blatant discrimination against American Jews with family members living in Israel, then pray tell what is?