Former U.S. intelligence agent Major Shawn Pine is out of a job. The U.S. army recently fired him from his position as commander of the 300th Military Intelligence Company of Austin, Texas on the grounds that his dual-citizenship with Israel was a security risk. The line of reasoning that led to Pine”s dismissal points to a threatening trend in the United States, where discrimination toward certain groups is becoming much more common and much more accepted.

The U.S. military hired Pine with full knowledge of his dual-citizenship, which raises the question of why he was fired now. As Pine explained in an Oct. 24 interview, “It is not like my service and affiliation with Israel was kept a secret. I have always been very forthcoming in disclosing all of my interactions with Israel.” This was not a good enough explanation for the military.

Steve Stromwell, the spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserve Command defended the decision to fire Pine, saying that “(Pine”s dismissal) has nothing to do with his religion or nationality. It is the fact of dual citizenship.”

That would be a fair assessment, but for the fact that the man appointed in Pine”s place has a dual U.S.-British citizenship. Pine also noted that he has worked with “a number of soldiers that have foreign passports.” How can the military honestly explain that Pine”s dismissal was based on his dual-citizenship when dual-citizenship is such a non-issue with others?

No one feels threatened by a British-American in that security position, just as a Canadian-American would not faze anyone. Why should an Israeli-American be any different? The answer is that as always, with a surge of patriotism comes a wave of isolationism. Instead of being a dual-citizenship issue, Pine”s dismissal is an issue of automatically assuming guilt for anyone considered outside of mainstream America.

The U.S. military clearly did wrong, not only by buying into this malevolent wave, but by acting on it and so furthering it. By dividing people in an “us versus them” manner, we degrade the character of this nation and alienate people whose ties to this country are unquestionable.

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