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July 11, 1986 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

or tangible as having their security
clearances lifted," he said. "But someone
working on say, a study on tactical nuclear
weapons in the USSR may be changed to
a study on tactical nuclear weapons in
Peru."
One pro-Israeli lobbyist conceded that
"we're very, very nervous. But it does
seem that dual loyalty is mainly being
discussed within our own community."
For instance, he said, Attorney General
Ed Meese dismissed concerns about dual
loyalty that were voiced by several Jews
at a recent meeting. Meese was worried
about criminal acts by such people as
Pollard, not about dual loyalty.
(Interestingly, one of the chief in-
vestigators in the Pollard spy case is State
Department legal counsel Abraham Sofier.
Sofier is an Orthodox Jew. His prominence
in the case could be a signal from the Ad-
ministration that it does not consider
American Jews' loyalty to be suspect.)
There is little doubt that Jews are more
sensitive about dual loyalty than are other
ethnic groups. Two days after Jonathan
Pollard was arrested last November, for in-
stance, a retired CIA analyst who had
been born in Peking was arrested for spy-
ing for the People's Republic. To date,
there have been no accusations that
Chinese-Americans are disloyal to the U.S.
And the Chinese-American community is
not concerned that there will be.
Such anxieties are the fruits of the suc-
cess of American Jewry, said Hyman
Bookbinder, the American Jewish Com-
mittee's representative in Washington.
"With an active, effective pro-Israeli
movement in the United States," said a
slightly impish Bookbinder, "some people
must be wondering whether this spy
business is part of The Great American-
Jewish Conspiracy."
Bookbinder rejected the suggestion that
dual loyalty is being bandied about by
"alarmists" in the Jewish community.
"We have to assume," he said, "that
there are people in drawing rooms and
men's clubs who are saying, 'There go the
damn Jews again.' We have to meet this
sort of thing head-on. We must tell people
that just as there are thousands of people,
including Jews, in the United States, who
have sensitive positions that require
security clearances, there are also
thousands of people, including Jews, who
are capable of skulduggery."

Irving Greenberg, president of the
National Jewish Center for Learning and
Leadership in New York, rejected the no-
tion that there is anything inherently
wrong with the idea of "dual loyalty," a
term he prefers to replace with the less
emotionally-loaded phrase of "multiple
loyalties."
"Multiple loyalties," he said, "should be
the key to democracy. Every ethnic group
and every interest group has them. They

Admitted spy
Jonathan Jay Pollard, said
his Washington attorney, is
"totally committed to
America and also believes in
the Israeli State."

should be self-evident in the way our
nation functions. But the type of dual
loyalty that is objectionable is Pollard's.
He exploited the American trust in him.
He used that as a cover for his other loy-
alty to Israel. If he felt such an overwhelm-
ing conflict, he should have resigned from
his security position."
But in the wake of the Pollard spy case,
advised Greenberg, "Jews should not
panic. We, are not neutral on Israel. We
never will be. We have legitimate concerns
about Israel and we should not be ashamed
or embarrassed or fearful of them."
Most Jews have assumed that the brou-
haha over dual loyalty was long dead, a
relic from another day, another era.
"'Dual loyalty' is a canard," said Irving
M. Levine of the American Jewish Com-
mittee. "Throughout world history, Jews
have faced it wherever they have been. It
has been used quite knavishly against
ethnic groups in the United States and
most often against Jews. But 'American
interests' are a conglomerate of interests.
American identity for all ethnic groups has
been marked by a split loyalty. But loyal-
ty to another nation such as Israel does

not mean total identity. It means affec-
tion."
Even if dual loyalty is suspected, it is
rarely couched in those terms. Said one
Washington journalist currently working
on a series about the "special relationship"
between the U.S. and Israel, "Dual loyal-
ty is such a sensitive issue that if people
think about it, they usually don't use that
phrase. It's loaded and its highly pre-
judicial."
Once in a while, though, the phrase
"dual loyalty" — or something close to it
— sneaks out of the closet. The most re-
cent full-blown example occurred last
March when The Nation magazine
published a shrill polemic by Gore Vidal.
Vidal charged that Commentary editor
Norman Podheretz's "first loyalty would
always be to Israel." Podheretz and his
wife, author Midge Dector — "that won-
derful, wacky couple" — were "fifth col-
umnists" of the Jewish State. They have
opted to remain in the U.S. "to make pro-
pagand'a and raise money for Israel."
Vidal, a blueblood whose ancestors man-
aged to fight on both "sides of the Civil
War, was obviously convinced that Pod-
heretz and Dector swore allegiance to a

Continued on next page

When dealing with the
Mideast, said former
Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger, "I had to
subordinate my emotional
preferences to my perception
of the national interest. It
was occasionally painful."

15

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