US veterans spark controversial comments after taking a stance on pro-Palestine protest over Gaza war


Photo:Active-duty Senior Airman Larry Herbert stands outside of the White House with a sign explaining his hunger strike.  credit: Veterans for Peace) (VFP)

The following is an extract of an article published by the Jerusalem Post about protests for and against Israel’s war in Gaza are heating up across the US, with veterans and leaders on both sides of the conflict.


Larry Hebert stood in front of the White House holding a rectangular sign that read, “Active-duty airman refuses to eat while Gaza starves.” Next to the wording was a photo of a malnourished Palestinian child with hollow brown eyes that stared wherever the sign pointed.

Behind Hebert and his poster, throngs of children and their families enjoyed the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll that was being hosted by President Joe Biden.

Hebert isn’t the first active-duty airman to take a very public stand in support of Gaza.

“My name is Aaron Bushnell, I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” he says in a video of the incident. “I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

The self-immolation of US Air Force Airmen Aaron Bushnell in front of the Israeli Embassy on February 26, 2024, gained international attention. The 25-year-old, who had been raised in a religious cult, live-streamed his suicide. Bushnell yelled, “Free Palestine!” as he burned.

Busnell’s death inspired Hebert to act. The Veterans for Peace (VFP) member took leave from his duty station in Spain to protest in Washington, DC on behalf of Gazans. He did not plan to follow Bushnell’s extreme measures but hoped to raise awareness via a modified hunger strike. The airman held his sign in solidarity with Gazans, protesting in front of young children as they searched for Easter eggs.

A WOMAN holds a placard accusing Israel of committing genocide as she attends a vigil for US Airman Aaron Bushnell in New York, this week. (credit: Reuters/Adam Gray)

VFP is a nonprofit organization of military veterans who oppose military spending and war. Among the numerous recognizable names on the organization’s advisory board are political activist Ralph Nader, filmmaker and Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone, presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West, and Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko. Its national director, Mike Ferner, told The Media Line that VFP has marched in numerous pro-Palestinian rallies “all over the country by the score, plus national ones in DC.”

VFP provided The Media Line with a press release titled “Veterans Express April 15th Outrage Over ‘Genocide Tax’” in which the organization says it joined “millions of Americans outraged to have our pockets picked again on April 15, to pay a Genocide Tax of $17.8 billion for military aid to Israel on top of $250 billion in current dollars sent since 1970.”

But according to the author this opinion does not reflect the majority of allies in the US-initiated Global War on Terror, a military campaign launched by the US after September 11, 2001. Some service members have trained alongside their Israeli counterparts in military exercises and listed some retired Army officers and US politicians who side with Israel in its war on Gaza.

Source : The Jerusalem Post/ News Agencies