Friday, April 25, 2008

Doing America in (Part one)





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Doing America in; the dual citizenship rage (Part one)


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.


See videos

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