The Dual Citizenship Problem, Cte’d

A few more points about dual-citizenship and dual-loyalty.

Last week at the Brit Tzedek event at the Village Temple, the Israeli veteran said that if the West Bank settlements were uprooted tomorrow, most of the settlers would quietly take compensation and move to Israel. But the religious crazies might leave the country. Many of the Gaza settlers had moved back to the U.S., he said. “To New Jersey,” someone in the audience called out, knowledgeably. “To Brooklyn,” another man cried.

These people were talking about a real issue: the extent to which dual citizenship has allowed religious nutbags from this country with messianic visions to inflame the politics of the Middle East, then when things don’t work out, just to come back here.

I dream about a day when national borders will vanish and we’ll all sing Kumbaya. That hasn’t happened yet; in the meantime, the U.S. and Israel need to clear some of these issues up. The problem came up on Democracy Now yesterday in a forum on the (disgusting) fact that “the Israeli government has effectively frozen visitation and re-entry of foreign nationals of Palestinian origin to the West Bank and Gaza.”

Israeli human rights lawyer Leah Tsemel went right to the dual citizenship issue:

I wanted also to mention one very important point. We get information that there are… a half-million Israelis who live in the United States and have dual nationalities. Those, and most of the Israelis, have a second passport and third passport and third nationality, just to kind of — to be on the safe side. I think that there should be a demand for mutuality. The same [rights should be afforded by] Jewish Israelis toward our American citizens, as we, the Americans have to your Israeli citizens. Because Israelis can come and go with the re-entry permit… into the United States, and at the same time, there is no mutuality, and [Arab] Americans are not allowed in here.

Exactly. There’s a revolving door between Israel and the U.S., for Jews. Neocon Max Singer moves to Israel and continues to work for a Washington thinktank, pushing us to go to war in Iraq. Nutbag settlers move from here to the West Bank with religious visions. This freedom (and absence of freedom) is distorting our politics. Yes I dream of a day when there will be no borders. But not just for Jews.

P.S. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute (a principled guy) takes exception to my recent item on dual loyalty:

I read your comments related to my phone interview with you, and your conversation with Max Singer. It is, as we discussed, perfectly legal at the present time to vote in two countries. The implicit subtext of your comments is that Max as a “neo-con,” (horrors, hide the children) should somehow be chastized. Why? Because after serious thought he changed his mind and arrived at a new understanding on the basis of principle? On the contrary, Max should be commended for his principled decision to vote only in the country in which he is most politically active. Many dual citizens have not been as principled.