The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that includes measures to combat antisemitism at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
H.R.4366, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2024 that was approved on July 27, now heads to the Senate.
“We must get the backs of those who had ours, support Jewish American veterans and address antisemitism in our government agencies—even at the VA—and wherever it rears its ugly head,” said the Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who sponsored the amendment on addressing antisemitism at the Veteran’s Administration, to Zenger News.
Gottheimer’s provisions include: Combating antisemitism at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
- Supports the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism and its implementation at the Department of Veterans Affairs’
- Guides the VA to begin incorporating training on combating antisemitism and bias, ensuring their hospitals accommodate kosher meal requests for inpatient residents, and increasing efforts to recognize the contributions of Jewish American veterans.
“It’s critical that the VA incorporates training on combating antisemitism and bias, ensures their hospitals accommodate kosher meal requests for inpatient residents and recognizes the contributions of Jewish American veterans just as they do for every veteran across our great nation,” Gottheimer added.
In June 2020, then-U.S. Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that gravestones with swastikas and messages referencing Hitler would be removed from military cemeteries. The VA had initially refused to remove the inscriptions but agreed to do so after a backlash from U.S. lawmakers and others.
“US veterans department planned remove gravestones with swastikas and Hitler references. The inscriptions were found at VA cemeteries in Texas and Utah on graves of German prisoners of war,” said JNS
“It is understandably upsetting to our veterans and their families to see Nazi inscriptions near those who gave their lives for this nation,” said Wilkie in a statement. “That’s why VA will initiate the process required to replace these POW headstones.”
The House also Okays funding for antisemitism training at veterans’ hospitals. The bill includes accommodation for kosher meals at VA facilities.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager