By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

JWV was honored to host Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff at the annual NEC conference on February 21, 2024. Following a meet and greet with Jewish War Veterans, Jewish War Veterans National Ladies Auxiliary, and National Museum of American Jewish Military History leadership, National Commander Barry Lischinsky and Emhoff had a fireside chat.

Lischinsky began the conversation by thanking Emhoff for his participation at the NEC meeting and for his representation as the first Jewish White House principal.

Emhoff emphasized that it was an honor to participate in this event and that he takes his role in the White House very seriously.

Emhoff stated, “Coming into office a little over three years ago, I wanted to just live the way I had: open, proud, Jewish, and celebrate our faith and our culture.”

He elaborated on some of the events that he’s participated in such as the White House Hanukkah parties, and Seders. Emhoff detailed that he wants to continue to share the joys of being Jewish.
“And as well to fight against hate and antisemitism,” he continued. “In connection with that, one of the things I’m most proud of is the ‘National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.'”

Emhoff noted his work with the administration and with Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt to develop this plan, the first of its kind. He explained that one of the elements of this plan is education.
“A lot of the antisemitism out there is because of a lack of knowledge, a lack of education,” Emhoff said.

He went on to explain that since the terrorist attacks of October 7, his work to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate has increased.

“Since then, I have basically been working nonstop to push back on this crisis of hate, this crisis of antisemitism that has arisen in conjunction with the administration,” Emhoff explained.
He detailed that he’s been working with the administration to make sure that Jews and all people are safe and secure to live their daily lives amidst this growing hate.

Lischinsky emphasized JWV’s members readiness to assist him and the administration in any way that they can.

Lischinsky asked Emhoff about his transition from private citizen to Second Gentleman.

Emhoff explained it as quite a transition and everything changed once his wife, Kamala Harris, became the Vice President. Though he emphasized that he proudly stepped away from his career to support her.

He continued, “It was all hands on deck and I raised my hand. And it was three plus years of representing this country. The way you all [the Jewish War Veterans] have represented your country in your roles, I had and still have that honor of being able to go around the country and go around the world saying ‘I represent the United States of America.’ It’s an honor of a lifetime.”

Lischinsky asked Emhoff about the ‘National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism’ that he had alluded to before. The ‘National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism’ was released in May 2023Emhoff described that the idea was born at the end of 2022 following a rise in antisemitism. He cited Charlottesville and the Tree of Life synagogue murders as examples.

“At the end of 2022, I knew I needed to do more. This was in the era of Kanye West was saying all these horrible things. I was in LA, and there was a billboard that said ‘Kanye was right about the Jews.’ I went back to the office and told my team we have to do something more. That something more lead to a convening of Jewish leaders at the White House, which then led to President Biden creating an interagency group to look at the issue and develop a plan,” Emhoff explained.

He continued that it was really a group effort to look at all forms of hate, but that the first deliverable was the ‘National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.’

Emhoff paraphrased that the plan is based on four pillars: 1) education, 2) safety and security, 3) resources to counter growing online misinformation and 4) hate, and coalition building.
Emhoff further explained that since October 7, the group has done everything they can to uplift the plan including hosting continuous meetings and providing dedicated resources to communities.
Lischinsky noted that JWV was founded on similar principles including education to combat antisemitism, bigotry and hate. He continued on to ask Emhoff what keeps him up at night, which earned a laugh from the audience and Emhoff.

Emhoff replied, “Saving our democracy.”

He continued that it’s protecting the oath that the Vice President, service members, and all other United States representatives take to protect the Constitution and protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic.

“That oath must be honored, each and every day. And sometimes, I know you all probably shake your heads at some of the things you’re seeing out there right now. Disregard for our rule of law, disregard for our Constitution, disregard for that oath. We all need to fight back and stand up for that, and you know what, sometimes that keeps me up at night,” Emhoff stated.

Lischinsky concluded by asking Emhoff if he had any additional thoughts on how his work combatting antisemitism and all forms of hate has changed following the October 7 attacks.
Emhoff responded, “The only thing I’ll add is the personal toll it has taken. Just like every other Jewish person and a lot of people who saw what happened on October 7. The shock, anger, rage. That coupled with the unfair blaming of Jewish people here in America, and just equating any action by Israel that they may not agree with and taking it out on all Jews.”

He continued, “But we have to keep talking about it, we have to keep reminding people, this happened. My wife, the Vice President, has been great. There are days I don’t want to do this, there’s days I do not want to speak about this. Every time I need to, she pushes me out there and says, you have a responsibility to do this and speak up about not only antisemitism, but about hate of all forms because it’s important.”

Emhoff closed by mentioning his father who served in the National Guard. He stated, “It’s something he was so proud of, and I loved when I was a kid, looking at pictures of him looking impossibly fit and young with his medals. It’s something that I am so proud of as his son to be say that publicly.”

He continued, “I came late to public service, I wish I could’ve done this earlier on, but I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity to do this public service. I love this country, I’m a patriot. So, to be able to serve and express my love for my country as the first Second Gentleman, and the first Jewish person in this role, it’s just an honor.”

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

JWV welcomed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher to speak at our Policy Committee during our NEC Meeting.

Bradsher began her remarks by thanking JWV, JWVA, and NMAJMH leadership, members and patrons for the invitation to speak, and their “selfless service to the country.”

She then brought up JWV’s work combating antisemitism, bigotry and hate, “Your work and the mission of JWV has never been more important than it is right now. The world was reminded of that fact after the depraved terrorist assault on Israel, which brutally reinforced the stark, sorrowful reality that antisemitism is rising here in our country and abroad.”

She continued, “Secretary McDonough has stated this often, but it bears repeating. So let me be clear. The Department of Veterans Affairs stands with you during this tragic time for the Jewish people in Israel, in the United States, and around the world. Discrimination, prejudice, and hatred in any form have no home at VA and no place in our great nation. At VA, we are committed to advancing an inclusive environment that values and supports the diverse communities we serve. It’s our individual and collective responsibility to do the work that’s necessary to counter antisemitism. Together, we reject those who distort history and peddle racist conspiracy theories. Together, we teach future generations so that they can stand up to injustice and defeat the scourge of antisemitism once, and for all. Together. Because that’s what humanity demands.”

She pivoted to discuss how VA has been delivering on their promise of serving veterans.

“When it comes to the benefits Vets have earned and deserve, we’re processing their claims faster than ever before. Altogether, VA processed nearly 2 million claims in 2023—shattering last year’s record by 16%. We’re also providing more care to Veterans this year. VA delivered more than 116 million health care appointments to Veterans, exceeding last year’s numbers by more than 3 million appointments.”

She explained an expansion in PACT Act benefits, “Starting in March—all toxic-exposed Vets will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care under PACT Act. That means any Vet who served in the Gulf War, in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other combat zone after 9/11 is eligible for VA health care. Millions of additional Veterans will get access to VA health care.”

Bradsher closed her remarks with two personal stories.

“I grew up down the street from Lieutenant General Sidney Weinstein, known today as the ‘Father of Modern Military Intelligence.’ I’ve been thinking a lot about General Weinstein as I prepared for tonight’s remarks. He played a key role in my decision to join the Army. His story of service inspired me in other ways, too. His daughter and my friend, Halee, has written about what it was like for her dad to endure discrimination, bigotry, and violence as a young Jewish man in environments where he often felt like an outsider. I’m sure many of you have felt the same. He made it his mission to create an Army, an America, and a world that were fair and just to all. For me, his example stands as a symbol of humanity at its best one person supporting another, making the future better for the generations that follow,” Bradsher explained.

Bradsher continued, “There was a woman, Rosalie Flasinski, whose parents immigrated from Poland. Rosalie had a daughter in 1950, and another in 1954. Sadly, she passed away shortly after giving birth in 1954. So, her two daughters, Linda and Susan, were both put into a Catholic orphanage in Boston. Linda grew up in Arlington, VA, and met this guy, and they had a kid named Tanya. In 2002, my mother gets a call, and she finds out that she’s the daughter of Rosalie Alice Flasinski. And so, I stand here before you as Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher, and her granddaughter.”

She concluded, “That is what I see as the long-standing legacy at JWV. That is what you have been about since the Hebrew Union Veterans Association first waged war on antisemitism defending the rights of all service members and Veterans. That is what we are about at VA, too. This work takes all of us working together. VA can’t—and doesn’t—keep the promise to Vets alone.”

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

On March 13, 2024, National Commander Barry Lischinsky testified to present our legislative priorities to the Joint House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC). Prior to the hearing, JWV submitted a written testimony that can be read here:

Gathered in the Hearing Room of the Cannon House Office Building, more than 20 JWV leaders, members, patrons, and staff watched as NC Lischinsky delivered his five-minute oral testimony designed to be a summary of the previously submitted document.

Lischinsky opened his remarks detailing his extensive military career spanning more than 34 years and his roles after retirement, including as the superintendent of Chelsea Soldiers Home.

Later, he emphasized the Jewish War Veterans’ commitment to fighting all forms of hatred, discrimination, and bigotry, particularly antisemitism, and their support for Israel.

“JWV condemns the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel and emphasizes that terrorist actions anywhere are never justified,” said Lischinsky. “JWV stands with Israel, its military, and its citizens and calls on all Americans to join us in condemning the terrorist attack. The remaining hostages must be immediately released and reconstituted with their families.”

Lischinsky highlighted JWV’s spearheaded effort to show unity and solidarity for Israel.

“We secured the signatures of 26 VSOs and MSOs representing millions of current and former uniformed service members, veterans, and their families to stand against terrorism and with our brothers and sisters in the Israeli Defense Forces,” Lischinsky continued.

Lischinsky also discussed other JWV legislative priorities including delivering timely, high-quality benefits and services to all veterans, fixing VA’s electronic health record system, supporting the Major Richard Star Act, and improving veteran suicide prevention/mental health care.

The written testimony also referenced JWV’s priority to remain “committed to addressing the specialized health care needs of our women veterans including increasing cancer screenings, improving mental health care and access, addressing infertility, and reducing intimate partner violence.”

This legislative priority prompted Representative Mike Levin (CA-49) to ask Lischinsky, “Why is it so important that we train providers to provide gender specific care?”

Lischinsky answered, “Women veterans are the fastest growing in VA enrollment with the rate to shortly match those in service, at almost 20%. Our sisters have fought for this country, and it is important to provide the right medical care, that they be recognized and respected for their contributions,” he continued, “We support the VA and their Women Veterans Health Mini-Residency three-day education and training course.”

Chairman Mike Bost (IL-12) also took the opportunity to ask NC Lischinsky a question regarding a VA employee’s antisemitic remarks (See Page 16) and if Lischinsky was happy with the VA’s response and handling of the situation.

Lischinsky responded that on January 29, 2024, he and NED Greenberg met with VA Secretary McDonough to discuss this incident. Secretary McDonough assured them that there were no biases or prejudice in the employee’s work.

Lischinsky continued, “JWV would be glad to work with anyone who wants to deal with antisemitism, bigotry, and hate. When freedom of speech is brought into the workforce and it has a connotation of antisemitism, bigotry and ,hate, and it affects your employees, customers or stakeholders, it’s no longer freedom of speech.”

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

On March 15, 2024, JWV celebrated its 128th anniversary as the longest-serving active Veterans Service Organization. In honor of this anniversary, JWV leadership, members, patrons, and staff celebrated at a ceremony as well as at Central Synagogue’s weekly Shabbat Service.

Post 1 organized their annual JWV Anniversary event at the Found Study, a private college residence hall formerly known as the Lexington Avenue Opera House. The Lexington Avenue Opera House was the site for the first JWV meeting back in 1896. Honored at the ceremony were the seven Jewish Civil War Veterans who organized that first meeting of the Hebrew Union Veterans Association which later became the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. The seven honored were Jastrow Alexander, Isadore Eckstein, Isadore Isaacs, Jacob Jacobs, Joseph Steiner, Joseph Unger, and Joseph Wolf.

The keynote speaker was NC Lischinsky. Other speakers included NVC Ginsburg, DC Sidney Goldberg (NY), and JWVA President Shirley Zak (NY).

From left: DC Sidney Goldberg, Jerry Alperstein, PNC Alan Paley, Eric Spinner, NC Barry Lischinsky, Gary Glick, Paul Rosenfield, NVC Gary Ginsburg. Seated: SVP Leslie Emack, PNP Petra Kaatz, and NP Shirley Zak.

JWV’s 2023 Education Award recipients Michal Epstein of Texas A&M University and Aliza Ruttenberg of Barnard College also attended and were recognized. The two were classmates at Plano East High School in Texas.

Also among those attending were Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager Eric Hoey, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System Director Timothy Graham and Assistant Director Rosemary Cancel.

NEC Jerry Alperstein (NY) presented NC Lischinsky with a copy of the minutes from that first meeting and with a custom-made kippah by Avi the Kippah Man from Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

NC Lischinsky spoke about the importance of our national organization, “We are here because people need to know that Jews serve.”

The ceremony concluded with Mourners Kaddish recited by Post 1 member David Goldstein.

Following this event, JWV members were encouraged to attend Shabbat Services held at Central Synagogue. Central Synagogue organized JWV members to have reserved seating for the services. More than 20 Jewish veterans and members of the Ladies Auxiliary were present from New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and New Jersey. JWV members and patrons from around the country also watched these services streamed by the Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS).

Apart from JWV, the Synagogue was nearly full with approximately 500 people present.

JWV was announced by Senior Rabbi, Angela Buchdahl, in her welcome remarks and people stood and applauded. JWV’s 128th birthday was also mentioned by Rabbi Maurice Salth efore the Shehechayanu and the congregation was receptive.

NED Greenberg, who streamed the event via JBS, stated, “The Shabbat Service was filled with energy and moved along at a fast pace and was uplifting as a virtual participant. I am sure those in-person must have felt the same way.”

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Carol Berman, Post 580

On Sunday, December 24, 2023, the Ben Katz Post 580 hosted a Louisiana Honor Medal Ceremony at Congregation Shir Chadash in Metairie, Louisiana Post 580. Post Commander Lt. Col. Carol Miles Berman (USA, Reserve) presented recipients with the medal on behalf of Louisiana. Post Quartermaster Joel Picker assumed the role of Acting Commander for this special meeting and ceremony. Acting Chaplain Rabbi Scott Hoffman gave a speech titled the “Jewish Warrior’s Sacrifice.” Penina Berman sang the National Anthem, and Hatikvah. Karen Sher, the daughter of World War II Veteran Hal Baumgarten and member of Congregation Shir Chadash, led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Joke of the Day was provided by Dr. Sol Heiman.

Umika Cohen and PC Carol Miles Berman

There were approximately 15 veterans who were awarded the medal, including two given to families that received medals on behalf of deceased WWII Veterans. Each medal came with a letter from Governor of LouisianaJohn Bel Edwards thanking the veterans and their families for their courage and sacrifice for our state and nation. The names of honorees were submitted by Ben Katz Post 580 to the State of Louisiana for approval and receipt of the medal.

“The Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal is an award created by former Governor Bobby Jindal that is only given to Louisiana Veterans who served the country during peacetime or wartime. In order to be eligible, the veteran must have been honorably discharged or killed in action,” said Post Commander Carol Berman.

Elliot Bain was among the veterans honored. An Ensign with a specialization in Auditing, his first assignment in New York led to him being instrumental for two major societal changes. The requirements for seatbelts in automobiles was due to one his audits – which started as an Army contract in the Spring of 1956. Another was when Dr. Georgios Papanicolaou was awarded a contract to conduct his famous Pap smears in New York. In Spring 1957, Bain was the auditor that approved the expenses for pap smears at two New York Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.

Another veteran honored was Umika Cohen, a retired Army Sergeant First Class, who is currently a VA employee at the Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System, where she continues

Dr. Sol Heiman and PC
Carol Miles Berman

to serve beside veterans. Another is John Shallet, who served on Active Duty during the Vietnam Era, but continues his service to country and community as a social worker and mentors future social workers. And there is Hugo Kahn – who fled Germany with his family after Kristallnacht when he was seven years old, he is now a husband, father, and G-dfather to hundreds of Jewish children through his support and work at the Jewish Community Day School in Metairie, Louisiana.

Dr. Sol Heiman was the oldest recipient of the day. He was President Eisenhower’s pilot’s optometrist during his service. Dr. Sol will be 95 years old this year. Born and raised in New Orleans, he

joined Air Force in 1951 as an enlisted man. His first assignment was in the Pentagon’s Reading Improvement Lab in Washington DC. Dr. Sol taught officers with third grade-level reading comprehension during the five-week intervention – he helped them pass tests and increase reading comprehension significantly. He later received a Direct Commission and became an Air Force optometrist.

Dr. Sol witnessed and experienced antisemitism during his career. He testified as the treating optometrist on the behalf of a Jewish American airman during the airman’s bad conduct trial. Dr. Sol produced documentation to show how the Airman had an eye condition interfering with his duties – the charges were dismissed. However, the Post General decided to reinstate the charges and the person was dismissed from the military regardless. Dr. Sol was also given menial jobs due to antisemitism. When in 100-degree Texas weather, his senior sergeant gave him a wheelbarrow and told him to pick up rocks. Nothing was done with the rocks, of course.

If you or a loved one served in the US Military and is/was a resident of Louisiana, please contact Post Commander Carol Berman at or Post Adjutant Judy Newman at for more information. Please allow Ben Katz Post 580 to give honor to you and your family, as it is deserved.

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Richard Goldenberg, Post 105

Members of the JWV across the Capital District joined with Albany Post 105 to remember the World War II service and sacrifice of the Four Chaplains and present the annual Brotherhood Award to Justine Crowley-Duncan of Latham, NY, on February 25, 2024 at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady.

The annual event honors four Army chaplains who gave their lives in the sinking of a troopship. The Brotherhood Award honors those whose service and devotion in the practice of brotherhood are deserving of community recognition.

“We honor people who have given selfless service that is commensurate with the legacy of the Four Chaplains,” said Albany Post 105 Commander Fred Altman.

Albany Post 105 have held the ceremony to remember the Four Chaplains and recognize those who live up to their legacy since 1966.

“The ceremony and program was outstanding and I extend my thanks to all JWV personnel involved,” said NVC Gary Ginsburg.

The Four Chaplains were Reverend George Fox, a Methodist minister from Lewiston, PA, Rabbi Alexander Goode from Brooklyn, NY, Dutch Reformed Reverend Clark Poling, from Schenectady, NY, and Father John Washington, a Roman Catholic priest from Newark, NJ.

The ship was torpedoed shortly before 1 a.m. on February 3, 1943. The chaplains provided comfort and direction to soldiers as the ship rapidly sank. They gave their own life jackets to others and calmly prayed as the ship slipped under the North Atlantic waters.

“In their legacy, we chose this year’s honoree for her selfless service to others that these Four Chaplains exhibited 81 years ago this month,” Altman said.

Nearly 100 attendees filled the Poling Chapel at the First Reformed Church. The diverse group included Gold Star Mothers, local veterans organizations, representatives of the First Reformed Church, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, members of the New York State Assembly and Senate, and the region’s congressional representative, Congressman Paul Tonko.

“Lieutenant (Chaplain) Clark Poling ministered to this very congregation within the walls of that historic old sanctuary up until his final and fateful deployment aboard the troopship Dorchester,” Altman said.

“We are truly honored we are to be in this beautiful chapel that is named for one of the Four Chaplains,” Altman continued. “His spirit, and through him, the spirit of his three comrades, is in these walls. Can you just feel it? We can.”

“We chose Justine because her character and her more than 30 years of dedicated advocacy for our veterans, meets the profile of the Four Chaplains admirably,” Altman said.

Executive Director of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation Bill Kaemmer presents a challenge coin to Justine Crowley-Duncan.

She served as Veteran Service Chair with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the U.S.A. for more than 13 years, supporting her lodge, her district, and the state. She organized a statewide Elks raffle fundraiser for the Fort Drum United Services Organizations, raising close to $14,000.

“As she expressed to me, it was one step at a time. One rung of the ladder at a time,” he said.

It began with a simple offer to be a pen pal to a service member deployed the Persian Gulf War in 1990, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Altman explained.
“It is a little thing, but it means a lot, that’s how Justine got started,” he said.

Crowley-Duncan emphasized her spirituality as a bedrock of her commitment to helping others.

“Every morning I read scripture, this morning the passage that I read started with ‘I am leading you, step by step, through your life, hold my hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day.’ This was a step-by-step journey.”

“Spirituality can and should bring us all together, so today is very special,” said New York State Senator Pat Fahy in presenting a citation to Crowley-Duncan. “Justine, at such a difficult time in our world, I think it is truly wonderful you have been chosen to receive this award.”

New York State Senator Jake Ashby, a former Army Reserve captain thanked Crowley-Duncan for her support.

“If you were in remote areas, you wouldn’t come into contact with chaplains very much. When I came back, it was not easy, and Justine was there,” Ashby said. “She was there for many veterans and their families. And continues to do that work. Continues to inspire me.”

Crowley-Duncan has been the Secretary of the Not-For-Profit Capital Region Veterans Memorial Legacy Project. She raised funds for the project to create a museum, veterans café, resource center, and monuments listing our Capital Region military personnel killed in combat. The Legacy Project will be built on six acres in Glenville, NY.

“Justine, I know you’ve done some wonderful and miraculous thing for our veterans. You go above and beyond that, you go across the state of New York and we thank you for that,” said New York State Senator Jim Tedisco.

Crowley-Duncan said she was humbled and emotional to learn of her selection for the award, having volunteered alongside prior awardees.

“I had 30 years of memories that just came rushing back. I never thought I’d be standing here today for this award. For years, it was all about thanking the people that paved the way for us. This was my way to say thank you.”

Crowley-Duncan ended with a piece of advice for others.

“When I joined in the Elks, my kids were small and I said I’m gonna start small. And I said I’m going to give what I can give,” she said. “When people come to join the Elks, I tell them, ‘Start slow because then it will be a journey that will be forever.’”

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Ken Greenberg, National Executive Director

This page serves as the third addition in a series focusing on JWV’s work combating antisemitism. JWV opposes all forms of discrimination and bigotry, but is especially outspoken on antisemitism. JWV will continue to be a strong voice to combat antisemitism wherever and whenever it occurs.

As instances of antisemitism increase, especially following the terrorist attacks of October 7, JWV monitors, reports, and responds on instances of antisemitism. Some of these instances, and JWV updates regarding them, is provided in the information below.

JWV asks all Americans to be vigilant, learn, and educate our fellow citizens.

NC and NED Meet with VA Secretary McDonough Regarding General Counsel Employee
January 29, 2024
National Commander Barry Lischinsky and National Executive Director Ken Greenberg met with VA Secretary McDonough to discuss the incident regarding a VA General Counsel employee’s antisemitic remarks and antisemitism. Secretary McDonough confirmed the employee’s duties do not involve matters of eligibility for VA benefits and that the employee’s work products would be reviewed to ensure there was no bias. Additionally, in the coming weeks, VA will launch a new antisemitism training for its employees.

NC and NED Meet with HVAC Chairman Bost and SVAC Staff
January 29, 2024
NC Lischinsky and NED Greenberg also met with HVAC Chairman Mike Bost to discuss antisemitism and the incident. Chairman Bost expressed concern about VA’s response and stated the Committee will continue to hold VA accountable. The Chairman acknowledged there is no place for hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism at any government entity and reaffirmed to continue to work with JWV to combat antisemitism.

A similar meeting was held with Ranking Member Moran’s SVAC staff to exchange information on the incident and discuss antisemitism. Staff Director Shearman, Deputy Director Gonzalez, and General Counsel VanderPlas noted that Senators Moran and Manchin sent a letter to the Secretary expressing concern on VA’s decision. They agreed to continue to work with JWV on combating antisemitism.

JWV Participates in An Evening of Solidarity at the Israeli Embassy
February 6, 2024
NED Greenberg attended An Evening of Solidarity hosted by Ambassador Michael Herzog at the Israeli Embassy. The event marked four months since the October 7 attacks. Other participants included Speaker of the Knesset, Amir Ohana, as well as members of Knesset from both sides, members of Congress, and representatives of the families of the hostages. Greenberg thanked Representative Dan Goldman (NY) for his discussion on Emergency Aid for Israel and support for veterans. JWV was honored to be included in the event and continues to advocate for the safe return of all hostages and a secure Israel.

NC Lischinsky and PNC Blum Attend ADL’s Conference “Never is Now”
March 6 – 7, 2024
NC Barry Lischsinky and PNC Jerry Blum participated in ADL Conference’s “Never is Now.” According to ADL, this conference is the world’s largest summit on antisemitism and hate with more than 3000 guests and more than 100 experts. It featured programming on moderating social media, local implementations of ‘National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism’ and combating antisemitism in the workplace.

The following article was initially published in The Hill on March 8, 2024.

Hamas Weaponized Sexual Assault to Deliver a Message to its Enemies
By Paul Becker & Joel Poznansky

The world was shocked on Oct. 7 not just by the scale of the Hamas attack on Israel but by its brutality and the sexual atrocities committed against women. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the sexual violence as “beyond anything that I’ve seen.”

His comment, and others like it, lead to three critical questions: Were the terrorist actions, including the sexual atrocities, indeed unprecedented? If so, were they planned? And, if premeditated, what was the motivation for these new Hamas tactics?

Initial Israeli investigations of the Oct. 7 attack have focused on establishing details of the atrocities, gathering more than 1,500 testimonies from witnesses and medics. The investigation may take some time, given the few survivors and the need for forensic evidence, since so many of the rape victims were killed and many victims’ bodies were burned.

What is clear is that Hamas crossed the Israeli border for what was designed to be a speedy, horrific, one-day incursion. The attack reportedly was planned in detail and rehearsed for two years, including the deployment of standard Hamas tactics of hostage-taking, the killing of civilians and the destruction of property. The narrative promulgated by supporters of Hamas and some others is that the sexual atrocities, the burning of bodies and the social media distribution of real-time video images of the enthusiastic perpetration of this butchery were the spontaneous actions of individual terrorists carried away in the disorienting mayhem and inspired by their hatred of Israel.

But was that the case? A second stage of the Israeli inquiry has just begun and is being further developed. Unpleasant as it seems, it is important to differentiate between the “standard” terrorist actions of Hamas and these additional heinous actions. We propose that the tactics involving extreme sexual violence and barbarous acts meted out against Israeli women, children and babies were new and deliberate.

While atrocities such as rape are among the well-known horrific aspects war, they are not a standard aspect of the first wave of an intense day-long battle. Hamas terrorists may have been surprised by the freedom of action they experienced, and it is possible that some of the terrorists were untrained, undisciplined, and exhilarated by the killing, and thus became carried away by hatred. But it is much more likely that these terrorists, intensively trained and rehearsed, had been purposefully instructed to perform outrageous acts of sexual violence and to publish them on social media.

It absolutely does matter whether the sexual atrocities and social media dissemination committed by Hamas were unprecedented in this military context and planned rather than spontaneous. Terrorism by its very nature is a political language; when it changes, we need to understand the message.

A question then follows: What did Hamas commanders believe they might achieve strategically with that increased, outrageous and broadly transmitted level of sexual violence and brutality meted out against Israeli civilians?

There are several possible explanations.

Hamas leaders may have believed that these outrages, if publicized graphically, would cause debilitating fear and traumatize all Israelis. Hamas leaders may have believed that the Israeli public had grown accustomed to rockets, civilian death and hostage-taking and that this new level of horror would persuade a significant segment of the Israeli population to feel defeated and, in some cases, to leave their country.

We believe it is more likely that Hamas leaders gambled that without the outrage caused by their brutality, they would not succeed in luring Israel into what they believed would be an unwinnable urban war in Gaza, similar to the one that occurred in Lebanon in 2006. A variation on this is the possibility that Hamas believed these excessively violent tactics might even be necessary to achieve a sufficiently aggressive Israeli reaction, so that the world’s attention would continue to be on Gaza and the humanitarian crisis that followed as Israel retaliated. There is precedent for this type of anticipation of overreaction, most recently from al-Qaida actions masterminded by Osama bin Laden, in which the overreaction ultimately drowned out the horrors that incited it.

Finally, an important possibility is that, with these additional violations, Hamas planners were simply telegraphing explicit articles of their 1988 Hamas Covenant and Hamas Principles and Policies of May 2017, which express no interest in any negotiated settlement or two-state solution, but only in total victory over Israel or death. The atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists have effectively prevented any way back for either side to a peace negotiation. This certainly is a message that would serve Hamas’s Iranian backers and the mission of Hamas’s political manifesto.

For Hamas’s own troops and active members, such a tactic serves Sun Tzu’s maxim: “Throw your forces into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight.” For Hamas terrorists and leaders who actively planned or participated in the Oct. 7 attack — as with Germany’s Einsatzgruppen troops during World War II — their actions have placed them in a legal position where there can be no way back for them individually, no negotiated peace and no surrender.

In time, and with the various investigations currently underway, it should be possible to determine for certain whether the new Hamas tactics were intentional. It will take longer to fully confirm the purpose behind them, although it is likely that, even now, Hamas leaders are claiming credit for the evil innovation and incorporating this into their terrorist playbook.

For us in the West to misinterpret the extreme sexual violence, butchery and real-time social media sharing committed by Hamas terrorists as abhorrent but merely unplanned and mindless war crimes committed by individual terrorists, rather than as new tactics adopted by Hamas leaders with an underlying rationale, is to underestimate and misunderstand the enemy. To paraphrase Sun Tzu again, that would be a losing strategy.

Rear Adm. Paul Becker, USN (Ret) is a former director for intelligence of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Joel Poznansky served as a captain in the British Army. He is currently Chairman of CBIS, a Washington publisher. Both are active with the Jewish War Veterans of America.

Volume 78. Number 1. 2024

By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

National Commander Barry Lischinsky, National Vice Commander Gary Ginsburg, Past National Commander Nelson Mellitz, Past National Commander David Magidson, and more than 25 members and patrons from twelve JWV departments donned JWV caps and gear before heading to the National Mall to demonstrate their support for Israel. On November 14, 2023 the Jewish Federations of North America (JNF) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations hosted a rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

NC Lischinsky emphasized JWV’s message was clear, “this march was to show support for Israel, stand in solidarity with the hostages and condemn antisemitism.”

JWV staff including National Executive Director Ken Greenberg and Director of Operations Greg Byrne met at JWV National Headquarters before walking with Lischinsky, Ginsburg and Magidson to the National Mall to attend the rally. They met with other JWV members and patrons, some of whom had traveled from as far as upstate New York to attend the rally.

JWV signs attracted individuals to stop and talk with JWV officials, thanking them for their service and inquiring about our organization and its work.

PNC Magidson remarked, “A multitude of groups wanted to have their picture taken with us, B’nai Brithers, Hillelers, etc. Why? We showed the hat. We are Jewish Veterans. Pride all around!”
The formal event started at 1 PM and lasted approximately two hours and a half hours.

Permits obtained prior to the event estimated a crowd of 60,000 people. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency these numbers were exceeded, with 290,000 participants in-person. Reports included more than 250,000 tuned in to the livestream.

While the turnout exceeded expectations, a viral incident revealed some people were unable to attend. One incident prevented more than 900 people from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit from attending the rally. These people were abandoned at the airport after bus drivers refused to transport the protestors. Despite this antisemitic incident, the rally was considered an overwhelming success.

The event featured 30 different speakers, including three different relatives of Israeli hostages that spoke of their missing relatives, urging Hamas to return them home. As they spoke, the large crowd chanted “Bring Them Home.” Other speakers included actress Tovah Feldshuh, Israeli Artist Ishay Ribo, the a capella group The Maccabeats, and more.

The event also included political leaders such as the Co-Chairs of Bipartisan Task Force Combatting Antisemitism: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), as well as, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). These political leaders spoke about the United States’ commitment to stand with Israel, as well as showed unwavering support to condemn and defeat Hamas.

JWV NVC Ginsburg remarked, “The March for Israel was a moving, emphatic event with an unmistakable message: America stands with Israel.”

These sentiments were echoed by other JWV leadership.

NED Greenberg stated, “Today’s march was personally touching to me to see so many gather in unity to bring the hostages home. JWV will continue to be a strong voice in support of Israel.”

Volume 77. Number 4. 2023

By Bryn Garick, Managing Editor

JWV Stands with Israel — JWV leads letter signed by 25 different VSOs and MSOs showing support, solidarity, and unity for Israel.

On November 3, 2023, JWV spearheaded a letter sent to Congressional leadership urging Congress to act and show solidarity and unity for Israel. The letter was signed by JWV National Commander Barry Lischinsky National Executive Director Ken Greenberg, and 25 other Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), Military Service Organizations (MSOs), and other veteran-focused groups.

The letter was addressed to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

JWV leads VSO/MSO effort to Congressional Leadership Urging Solidary and Unity for Israel
November 3, 2023

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Democratic Leader Jeffries:
The undersigned Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs) representing more than six million current and former uniformed service members, veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors urge you to stand with Israel and in support of humanitarian and military funding. The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) is leading this effort to demonstrate solidarity and unity from the larger veteran and military community in the United States. Now more than ever, we must stand against terrorism and the atrocities committed by Hamas and with our brothers and sisters in the Israeli Defense Forces.

The October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks by Hamas, an Iranian proxy, were unprovoked and vicious, killing and maiming many Israeli civilian men, women, and children. Reports from the Middle East share barbaric atrocities including innocents being beheaded, whole families randomly being executed, women being raped, and people being kidnapped and held hostage for future trade-offs. Hamas, like ISIS, is a terrorist organization and terrorist activities are never justified. The United States must continue to fight for democracy and stand against terrorism wherever and whenever it occurs.

We believe that a strong national defense against terrorism is necessary to protect democracy. As such, the undersigned VSOs and MSOs urge you to stand with Israel and move swiftly to pass proposed emergency aid to Israel.

Thank you for all you do for service members and veterans, as leaders in Congress. We also commend your support for Israel at this critical time.

COL Barry Lischinsky, USA, Ret., JWV National Commander
Kenneth Greenberg, JWV National Executive Director

List of signing organizations:
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society, American G.I. Forum, American Retirees Association, America’s Warriors Partnership, Association of the United States Navy, Blinded Veterans Association, Blue Star Families, Fleet Reserve Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Korean War Veterans Association, Marine Corps League, Marine Corps Reserve Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Order of the World Wars, Military-Veterans Advocacy, National Defense Committee, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Operation First Response, Sea Service Family, Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Ukrainian American Veterans, USCG Chief Petty Officers Association, Vets4Vet Leadership, Wounded Paw Project.

Volume 77. Number 4. 2023

JWV National Commander Barry Lischinsky and National Vice Commander Gary Ginsburg spoke with future Jewish military leaders from West Point, NY and the Citadel in Charleston, SC on October 28, 2023.

NC Lischinsky briefed the Jewish cadets present on the history, purpose, and current and future JWV priorities.

NC Lischinsky pointed out, “JWV will continue to support this important program and we will know in a few weeks the location for the spring 2024 Jewish Warrior Weekend event. Lischinsky indicated, “we obtained six more signed JWV membership applications from our West Point cadets and future Army leaders.”

US Army Major General retired Jeff Jacobs (2nd from right in group picture) was also present for this leadership professional development opportunity as chairman of the West Point NY Jewish Chapel Fund. General Jacobs is also a member of the JWV.

JWV also appreciates the support provided by the College of Charleston Hillel office, and the Jewish lay leader from USMA Colonel Ben Wallen.

Volume 77. Number 4. 2023