By PNC David Magidson, Post 243
In 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) was founded to refute the lie that Jews did not serve in the military during our Civil War. We did in significant numbers – for both sides.
Now, 120 years later, the “Big Lie” came from the lips of an unusual source – The Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Tzipi Hotovely. In an interview with 124 News in Israel, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that American Jews “never send their children to fight for their country.”
Once JWV and its leadership got over the initial disbelief, shock, and hurt of this statement, we surged into action. Our National Commander put out a press release denouncing the comment. He met with personnel of the Israeli Embassy. Moreover, Embassy staff were invited and did attend a tour of our museum – The National Museum of American Jewish Military History in Washington, D.C. There they saw proof of the honorable and sometimes heroic service of American Jews to this country.
But all American Jews and especially those who have served and their families deserve more. On their behalf, we fought for a retraction and apology, and we received it! On January 28, 2018, Minister Hotovely sent a letter to JWV where she apologized to Jewish American service members and veterans of all wars. “My words were shortsighted and not reflective of my beliefs, and I deeply apologize,” she said.
Silence and shirking duty are not characteristics of JWV. In March 1933, two months after Hitler came to power, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. organized and carried out a protest march in New York City – despite the admonitions of various Jewish groups not to anger the new German Chancellor (a video of the march is on display at our National Museum).
Today, as we have done for over a century, JWV has responded to “The Big Lie.” Over that period, we have earned respect and prestige in our Capitol and others. The resultant apology is being communicated to all of you in memory of the 57 Jewish-American brothers and sisters killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, American Jews do send their children to fight for their country, and sometimes their children pay the ultimate price.
If you wish to assist the Jewish War Veterans in carrying out its mission: (a) please consider joining our Posts as a member (if qualified) or a Patron; (b) generously provide an annual donation in support thereof; and/or (c) leave a legacy gift to JWV in your will, trust or life insurance policy. Please remember that while we care for all Veterans, only JWV specifically speaks to the service and memory of the Jewish-American Veteran, his/her family and friends.
Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018