Washington – An Orthodox Jewish dentist from Queens who was denied a federal security clearance because he has several relatives who reside permanently in Israel has been informed that he poses no threat to national security and has been cleared to continue his work with military patients.
As previously reported on VIN News, Dr. Gershon Pincus had been treating patients at the naval dental clinic in Sarasota Springs, making the 400 mile round trip every week. Pincus, who has a private practice in Midwood, earned far less at the clinic than he did in his home office, but had chosen to work with military patients in the spirit of patriotic volunteerism.
Pincus received an email last week from Commander Benjamin Young of the Navy, informing him that the mandatory background had been completed and he would be permitted to continue his work, as reported by the Albany Times Union. Agudath Israel of America and the American Jewish Committee both protested the Pentagon’s categorization of. Pincus as a security risk. Mark Wright, a Defense Department spokesman, said that having relatives in a foreign country is a valid reason for a security clearance application to be rejected but denied that applicants with Israeli relatives were more closely scrutinized.
Pincus’ attorney, Avi Schick, disputed that statement, noting that within the last 10 years, 105 applicants with Israeli relatives have had their security clearance applications rejection.
“The bipartisan nature of the bigotry makes it vital that we continue to speak out and insist that American Jews are entitled to be judged based on their conduct and their character, not who they remind others of,” Schick said. “The Pentagon policy must be revisited, revised and reversed.”
Now that he has been cleared by the federal government, Pincus hopes to spend another ten years treating patients who work at the nearby Kenneth A. Kesserling Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.
“I’m overjoyed with it,” said Pincus in response to the verdict, adding that he has no hard feelings but hopes that others will not undergo a similar experience.
The Orthodox Union released a statement today applauding the decision.
“We are pleased to see that the Pentagon corrected its wrongful decision to assert Dr. Pincus has divided loyalties just because he is an American Jew with family in Israel,” Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy . “We encourage the Obama Administration to review the security clearance process so that such cases do not arise in the future.”