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Trojan Horse In Our Midst: Time To Ban Dual Citizenship in US?

Hossein Askari
21st Century Wire

Before 1967, U.S. citizens could not simultaneously be citizens of another country. This statute that “a person, who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voting in a political election in a foreign state,” was overturned by a Supreme Court decision. The case was brought by a U.S. citizen who had voted in an Israeli election and had been denied a new U.S. passport when the old passport expired. Since 1967, under the new law, a U.S. citizen assuming foreign citizenship is under no obligation to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship and a new U.S. citizen is not obliged to renounce his or her citizenship(s) in other countries.

The pros and cons of dual citizenship for the individual are very different from those for the United States as a country. For the individual, it is a cost benefit analysis focused on personal issues such as family ties, freedom of movement, safety, military service obligation and taxes (income, property and estate), but for the United States the country, the issues could be more pervasive and ominous—U.S. national security, the undermining of U.S. foreign policy, the spreading of misinformation and conspiracy theories, the pollution of the electoral system, the demand for aid to foreign countries—all issues in need of careful examination.

While the exact number of dual nationals is hard to pinpoint, the number is clearly significant and rising: A 2017 study by the Pew Research Center estimated that 6.8 million US adults have dual citizenship, roughly 3% of the adult population.” Is this a national security issue for the United States? Does it affect the conduct of U.S. foreign policy? Does it pose a financial and social burden on the United States?

In the last thirty or so years the U.S. has been entangled—either with boots on the ground, or with military or financial support—in a number of countries, including but not limited to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and Israel. Given the multitude of conflicts with direct and indirect U.S. involvement, isn’t the large number of U.S. citizens with dual citizenship a problem for America? Don’t they lead to favoring foreign interests over America’s national needs? Today, the conflict on most American minds is the war in Gaza. Focusing on this ongoing war and our relationship with Israel allows us to look into the issues that could arise for the United States. Does the large number of U.S. citizens who simultaneously hold Israeli citizenship benefit or harm the United States?

The national security interests of the United States are never 100 percent in lockstep with any other country at all times. In the case of Israel, three incidents illustrate this point—when American national interests have been outrageously compromised and hurt because of support for Israel.

  1. In June 1967, an unarmed American flagged ship, the USS Liberty, was attacked by Israeli forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Let me refer you to the words of a retired U.S. Navy PilotWayne Stiles— who witnessed some of the fallout. As you will learn this was a blatant unprovoked attack by Israeli sailors and aircraft where 34 Americans were killed and 171 were wounded. Again, as you will read in Stiles’ excellent and well-sourced summary, there is no doubt that this was a deliberate attack by the Israeli military on a defenseless U.S. Ship:

Walter Deeley, appointed by the NSA to head a senior task force investigating the attack, came to the eventual conclusion that “There is no way they didn’t know that the Liberty was American.” NSA Director Marshall Carter agreed. “There is no other answer than that it was deliberate.”

I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink the Liberty precluded an assault by accident or by some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day.

The attack was outrageous.” (U.S. Sec’y of State Dean Rusk)

Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.” (U.S. Under Secretary of State George W. Ball)

IMAGE: USS Liberty intentionally attacked by Israel in during the “Six Day War” in 1967.

Those sailors who were wounded, who were eye witnesses, have not been heard from by the American public . . . . [Their story] leaves no doubt but that this was a premeditated, carefully reconnoitered attack by Israeli aircraft against our ship.” (U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson III)

I have never believed that the attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity. That is ridiculous. Israel knew perfectly well that the ship was American. After all, the Liberty’s American flag and markings were in full view in perfect visibility for the Israeli aircraft that overflew the ship eight times over a period of nearly eight hours prior to the attack. I have to conclude that it was Israel’s intent to sink the Liberty and leave as few survivors as possible.” (Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, U.S. Navy, ret.)

Few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel. There could be no doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty.” (Central Intelligence Agency Director Richard Helms)

It is just exceedingly difficult to believe that USS Liberty was not correctly identified. No NSA official could be found who dissented from the ‘deliberate’ conclusion.” (Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, Director, NSA,)

I can tell you for an absolute certainty [from intercepted communications] that they knew they were attacking an American ship.” (Oliver Kirby, Deputy Director, NSA,)

For the past 56 years, survivors and the families of the Israeli attack as well the families of the dead have petitioned the U.S. government in the most civil and respectful terms for a reopening of the investigation into the attack on the Liberty. Each and every plea has gone ignored and unanswered.

In the face of this, U.S. politicians at the highest level even wanted to cover everything up lest they offend American Jews! Was this cowardly and shameful episode in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and the shabby treatment of military forces who put their lives on the line a result of the Israeli-Jewish lobby and the power of Israeli-U.S. dual nationals? You decide. What I have also been told, without any proof, is that the USS Liberty was carrying highly enriched uranium that Israel wanted to highjack in order to make a quick dash toward acquiring its own nukes, of which they now possess over 200.

  1. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the United States asked its ‘allies’ that were not on the UN Security Council to join the U.S. resolution condemning Russia’s aggression. The U.S. tried every which way to get Israel to be a co-sponsor of its UNSC resolution condemning the Russian invasion. Israel refused. While Israel, America’s great ‘ally,’ turned down the U.S. request, 81 other countries signed on as co-sponsors. Israel justified its stance on a number of selfish and flimsy grounds, including the safety of Jews in Russia and Russia’s presence in neighboring Syria. Israel nurtures its relations with Russia, all the while accepting billions of U.S. dollars in aid and Washington’s political and military support. Clearly, Putin’s tough language makes Israel bow, but America’s years of “love” and over-the-top support that harms American interests around the world gets little traction. Even though Israel refused to support the United States, American support for Israel continued uninterrupted. Was this special treatment of Israel due to Israeli-Jewish influence and Israeli-U.S. dual citizens? You decide.
  1. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush wanted to give a “little” more balance to U.S. support for Israel. He withheld U.S. loan guarantees for money borrowed by Israel to make sure that the borrowed money would not go to Israeli settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank. Given the power of the Israeli-Jewish lobby in the United States, this was a risky move by a U.S. politician and, as expected, the lobby went after him. In the end, he got the needed assurances from Israel, but his standing up to Israel might have cost him his re-election. President Obama also faced an onslaught from the Israeli-Jewish lobby when he abstained and did not veto UNSC Resolution 2334 demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.” Were these interferences in the American electoral and political system because of Israeli-Jewish influence and Israeli-U.S. dual citizens? You decide.

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. Israel continued to battle Hamas fighters on October 10 and massed tens of thousands of troops and heavy armour around the Gaza Strip after vowing a massive blow over the Palestinian militants’ surprise attack (Photo by Naaman Omar APA Images)

During the Gaza War, we see a lot of divergence between what the U.S. publicly espouses and what Israel does on the ground. Israelis have slaughtered around 33,000 Palestinians and injured nearly another 80,000, nearly all civilians, with children and women making up about 70 percent of the casualties. All the while and less discussed, Israel has also killed more than 1,100 Palestinians in the West Bank. Over 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since October, according to the US-funded Aid Worker Security Database and at least 103 journalists have been killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza in the past five months, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Most recently, Israeli forces killed seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen who were delivering meals in three clearly marked trucks, travelling in a “safe” corridor and “on a route cleared and coordinated” with Israeli forces. The three vehicles were targeted one by one, as the workers abandoned one vehicle and boarded the next vehicle over 1.5 kilometers. José Andres, the founder of this humanitarian organization, has emphatically said that this was not an accident but his workers were deliberately targeted. Andres said that Israel’s war is now a war against humanity. All the while, hundreds of Palestinian women and children are on the verge of starvation. Yet, even on April 2, after the killing of the seven World Central Kitchen employees, the White House expressed outrage and did nothing to push for an independent investigation but added its firm support for Israel after having just supplied Netanyahu with hundreds more 2,000 pound bunker busting bombs and plans to give Israel more top of the line American jets.

Israel has been on a rampage for revenge for the 1,200 killed and for the 200 hostages taken during the horrendous Hamas attack of October 7. And all the while Netanyahu argues that all the carnage carried out by Israel is justified in Israel’s right to self-defense! Is this self-defense? Netanyahu will not agree to a total ceasefire until Hamas has been eradicated. Israel cannot erase the idea that is behind Hamas—Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and homes with no compensation, the imprisonment, torture and death of tens of thousands of Palestinians over the years. Israel’s inhumanity and war crimes will only breed more mortal enemies for Israel and by association for the United States.

It is all very sad. Americans have to accept the fact that America has been and continues to be complicit in Israeli crimes. We have given Israel more and more bunker buster bombs, designed to kill and destroy indiscriminately, and we have supplied them with the planes for the bombing and with the money to do as they wish. Israel’s physical destruction of Gaza (over 80 percent destroyed with American bombs) runs in the tens of billions of dollars. Who will have to pay for this? Israel, America or generous Arab countries? We also provide Israel the political cover, with much of the American media underreporting and giving Israel’s unfolding real-time war crimes and genocide a sugar coating to deceive Americans so they will continue to support Israel’s atrocities and belligerence in contravention to American values and interests. Yet Israel has continued to largely ignore U.S. wishes. Why? Because Israeli leaders recall the past incident—the SSS Liberty—if the U.S. acted so cowardly then, when its own military personnel were attacked and killed, it will only talk and do nothing when it is Arabs being slaughtered.

Yes, Israeli and U.S. policies and interests frequently diverge, as they do vividly now!

Dual nationals, with divided loyalties support perceived Israeli interests (I say perceived because the ongoing Gaza war will in my opinion isolate and undermine Israel as never before) that undermine the interests and policies of the United States.

Dual nationals undermine American national interests in a number of other ways. A dual national of Israel could be fighting with Israeli forces against a country that is an ally of the United States or indeed even against U.S. forces! We have laws regarding money in politics—the amount of money and its source—that can be circumvented by dual citizens. Imagine a foreign government wanting to infiltrate our elections, spreading conspiracies and affecting our policies. They could give money to a U.S. dual national abroad who in turn makes the contribution. Such transfers of money can also be used to affect media opinion and coverage. A dual national can also circumvent our tax laws by giving money abroad to a foreigner and having that foreigner, in turn, make a gift to a person designated by the dual national, thus avoiding U.S. gift taxes.

The reason for mentioning a few divergences of Israeli-U.S. interests and the ways that American laws may be circumvented is to understand that there are instances where the Israeli-Jewish lobby and dual citizens could undermine U.S. national and social interests. It is time to revisit the law on dual citizenship.

Recall that all dual citizens can occupy a myriad of powerful positions in the United States, including those of senators, members of Congress, cabinet members, federal and state officials in all sectors of our economy and judicial system, reporters and news executives, bankers, members of the Federal Reserve Board, CEOs and board members of corporations, professors, . . . . Americans in such positions shape opinions, affect our national security and our lives in every way.

Now, what if a dual citizen is faced with a decision that affects U.S. national security or social interests, does the fact that he or she has divided loyalties affect his or her decision? And what benefit do we as a nation get from allowing dual citizenship versus some of the potential costs mentioned above? I for one, see little benefit in enabling dual citizenship but a multitude of costs that will increasingly harm and haunt the United States both domestically and on the world stage. We are making millions of enemies with our blind support of Israel, which much of the world cannot comprehend. As Israel acts in its perceived national interests, by massacring tens of thousands of innocent women and children with impunity using American money, planes, bombs and with America’s political support, any rational citizen around the world will see America’s complicity and hypocrisy in what America does and says. We donate billions of dollars a year (amounting to well over $300 billion since 1950) to Israel—a country richer than France and Germany—while we have needy people who are homeless and/or undernourished in our own country and hundreds of millions who are even needier around the world.

It is time for America to take a critical look at its support for Israel and be open to limiting or even ending it. It may also be prudent for Arab rulers to assess their relationship with the United States and end all relations with Israel if they wish to avoid domestic turmoil and upheaval threatening their own survival.

Hossein Askari is an economist and author on reform and institution building in the Middle East and the Muslim World, economic development and social justice.







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