Veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and other U.S. wars today blasted a House resolution to extend federal benefits to U.S. citizens who join the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in its war against Palestinians.

Veterans For Peace announced its opposition to H.R. 8845, proposed by Reps. Max Miller (R-OH) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), amending and expanding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to cover U.S. citizens serving in the IDF.

If passed, U.S. citizens fighting for Israel would be protected from civil lawsuits for defaulting on mortgages, car payments, loans or for divorce, plus it would protect their jobs.

The resolution would amend sections 3902 and 3914 of US Code 50 which “…provide for, strengthen, and expedite the national defense…to enable such persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation…” and to protect U.S. citizens “serving with the forces of a nation with which the U.S. is allied…”  (emphases added)

Former VFP president and attorney, Barry Ladendorf, a Vietnam veteran, said, “the use of the term ‘defense needs of the nation’ can only mean the United States or nations allied with the United States, as with Britain in World War II.  By no stretch of the imagination can one argue that Israel’s ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people is essential to the defense needs of the United States.”

He added, “By extending the benefits to U.S. citizens who serve in the Israeli armed forces, we are encouraging U.S. citizens to join the IDF. In that case, the United States could be seen as even more deeply immersed in supporting Israel.”

“This proposal would create a terrible precedent.  What better way to inch the U.S. closer to a larger role in this conflict than this seemingly innocent bill?  Should it pass, will U.S. citizens fighting for Israel expect our government to pay for their physical or mental injuries?  If they are killed, will their families expect death benefits? And will Congress next extend benefits to several thousand Americans fighting for Ukraine?”

Ladendorf concluded by saying, “Any politicians sincerely interested in helping veterans can increase spending at VA hospitals and provide decent housing for the 41,000 homeless veterans.  Let them repair what war did to U.S. veterans who believed they were helping to ‘meet the defense needs of the nation’ when in reality they were helping meet the demands of American corporations.”