JWV works to ensure that all service members and veterans are able to practice their faith, free from repercussions. We are committed to working with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in implementing their Equal Opportunity (EO) policies that guarantee the right to worship in any matter that you see fit.
How does JWV fight anti-Semitism?
JWV believes that our Armed Forces and VA are inherently good organizations that are free from systemic racism. However, we do acknowledge that there are individuals within the system that do not respect the EO guidelines, and when those individuals come into roles of leadership, this can create problems for those caught in the crossfire.
Therefore, JWV is committed to working within the DoD and VA systems in order to bring justice to those affected, while still allowing the military and VA to accomplish their important missions. We are committed to the privacy of the individual and we will never post anything related to their case in the media or over the internet. We know that these postings can negatively affect these individuals’ career progression, which is why we are so sensitive on this issue.
Once you contact our National Headquarters, we will review the case and let you know whether we will move forward. Any supporting documents about your case would be helpful in making our decision. The best thing you can do in these cases is document everything so that we are able to get a clear picture of what is happening. JWV requires that you write a memorandum outlining the events that have unfolded and why you believe it constitutes anti-Semitism. We will never go forward with any action until we have received your consent.
What does anti-Semitism look like in the military and the VA?
Anti-Semitism within the military and VA can look like many things, but we have classified it into four main categories:
- Proselytizing – No service member or patient at the VA should be subjected to proselytizing. JWV is committed to ensuring that each patient’s religious practice is respected within the military.
- Failure to Accommodate Jewish Holidays – Although JWV is committed to getting the mission accomplished, scheduling activities or refusal to allow Jewish members of the military time off for religious practice is unacceptable. Jewish service members should only be required to work during religious holidays for mission necessary tasks. A commander’s refusal to recognize Jewish holidays as legitimate religious accommodations is unsatisfactory.
- Derogatory and Racist Comments – Whether in the VA or DoD, derogatory and racist comments to Jewish service members and patients are completely unacceptable.
- Career impacting decisions based on religious identity – If you believe that your career has been impacted based upon you religious identity, please reach out to us. For example, if your coworker goes to the same church as your supervisor and receives a better evaluation than you did, you might have cause for concern if you believe that you performed better.
Although these do not summarize every case of anti-Semitism that we see, it should give you a rough picture of what anti-Semitism looks like in the military and the VA.
What is not anti-Semitism?
- Requiring work during Jewish holidays on mission essential tasks – The military requires service members to work through religious holidays on mission essential tasks. For example, service members can be required to work on Christmas, just as they can be required to work on Yom Kippur.
- Failure to provide kosher food – Although commanders should make their best effort to accommodate their soldiers, commanders cannot make kosher food appear if there is none available.
There are other incidents that are not considered anti-Semitism as well.
JWV does not replace your personal legal representative. If you believe your case needs personal representation, please consult your personal attorney.