Orthodox Union Expresses Outrage at Apparent Anti-Semitic Discrimination in Federal Security Clearance Process

Posted on December 17, 2015 In Press Releases

Contact: Roslyn Singer
Director of Communications, OU Advocacy

The leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expressed its outrage at the opposition Dr. Gershon Pincus is facing from the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in his effort to obtain security clearance for his civilian position in the U.S. Navy, as described in The Wall Street Journal.

Per the OPM’s Statement of Reasons document, cited by the Journal, Dr. Pincus was denied his security clearance in September because of alleged “divided loyalties” and would, therefore, lose his job doing dental work at an off-base Naval clinic. The evidence of such “divided loyalties” consisted of nothing more than the fact that Dr. Pincus’ mother, brother and sister live in Israel. The same Statement of Reasons noted that Dr. Pincus has no intention of moving to Israel or obtaining Israeli citizenship.

“The notion that an American Jew, a citizen of the United States, could be accused of having ‘divided loyalties’ and therefore be denied security clearance and lose his job, simply because he has family members who live in Israel, is outrageous and offensive,” said Martin Nachimson, president of the Orthodox Union.

“The American Jewish community is an active and vital element of all parts of this country’s economy and job force. Discrimination against one individual because of his family’s whereabouts—or against a much larger population of applicants, as the Journal indicates, because of familial connections with Israel—suggests an anti-Semitic bias that is poorly disguised as security concerns. This discrimination cannot and should not be tolerated against Jews any more than it should be with regard to any other minority group,” Nachimson added.

“We call on Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to review Dr. Pincus’ case and the Obama Administration to investigate and address any prejudice that appears to exist within the OPM bureaucracy and its security clearance process,” said Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union.