Sunday, May 09, 2010

 

WA VA Director Collaborates with "Jewish Extremists" in Pairing US & Israeli Vets

In his latest update, John Lee, Director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, reports: "Several months ago I was contacted by Rabbi Chaim Levine, President of an organization known as Hope for Heroism." He continues: "This year Hope for Heroism will bring a group of injured Israeli Soldiers to the Seattle area to participate in a series of events with disabled U.S. Soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. A picnic is being held on May 11 where the two groups will participate in several activities ..."

Late last month, Seattle journalist Larry Johnson and the Seattle PostGlobe both published an open letter from Veterans for Peace, Greater Seattle, Chapter 92 to wounded Israeli veterans participating in Hope for Heroism's planned visit to Seattle this month. Seattle Veterans for Peace were alerted to the program by a January 20, 2010, blog post on the Seattle PI web site. The post is entitled "Wounded Soldiers Helping Wounded Soldiers" and starts out: "Peace. Bravery. Hope."

It reports Hope for Heroism is "a non-profit organization created and run by wounded soldiers from Israel's elite Duvdevan Unit (Special Forces) to help other wounded soldiers." The post touts the success of Hope for Heroism's peer mentoring program: "When each soldier is assigned a mentor to guide them through their recovery, the recently wounded see that their steps through recovery can lead to a positive future - as many of the mentors have and will continue to go on to be diplomats and entrepreneurs that Israel needs." The obvious goal of "Hope for Heroism" is to make sure these wounded soldiers don't ever seriously question what they have done and the price they have paid. The goal is that they keep the faith with the violent ideology of Zionism, i.e. Jewish supremacism in Palestine.

Just how peaceful and brave can these wounded Israeli soldiers be? Are they heroes? Do heroes kill Lebanese, Palestinian, and other civilians in droves "for the safety of the Jewish people." What hope is there for wounded veterans in a program that justifies crimes done in the name of a racist, apartheid state? According to, "Targeting to Kill: Israel's Undercover Units," a 1992 report by the Palestine Human Rights information Center, Duvdevan was one of two undercover units formed in 1988 by then-Prime Minister and current Labor Party chief and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak "to infiltrate and disable or eliminate Palestinian activists in the West Bank and Gaza" during the First Intifada. Some of these killings were also documented in Al-Haq's 2001 briefing "Wilful Killing: The Assassination of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Security Forces." And, indeed, evidence suggests that Duvdevan troops are, among other things, assassins, volunteers in Israeli "death squads". They also participated in the 2002 arrest of Palestinian parliamentarian Marwan Barghouti in Ramallah.

The video below shows just one example of some of these "brave" soldiers in action. Released by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, it details the 2006 killing of 'Itaf Zalat by Duvdevan soldiers in her West Bank home.



The above mentioned Chaim Levine is the Executive Director of Living Judaism, a local branch of Aish haTorah. He grew up in the US but exercised his 'birth right' to move to occupied Palestine (Israel). Levine's wife, Techiya Levine is the Co-Executive Director. She also grew up in the US but moved to occupied Palestine. They're both also personally affiliated with Aish haTorah, which is a militantly Zionist religious organization that, among other things, co-sponsors Hasbara fellowships with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Aish haTorah is also linked with the infamous "Obsession" video and possibly indirectly with the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison. In "The Jewish Extremists Behind 'Obsession' " the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, no raging anti-Zionist, described Aish haTorah as "just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today."

So, one wonders why the director of the Washington State VA is working with "Jewish extremists" to "help" rehabilitate wounded Israeli troops and link them up with wounded American vets. Isn't already bad enough that the American vets were wounded in US wars fought in no small part for Israel?

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