Thursday, October 02, 2008

Army Confirms Anti-Semitic Incident During Solider's Basic Training

The Public Record reported Tuesday that Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss received confirmation from the Pentagon of an anti-Semitic incident suffered by Army Private Michael Handman during basic training at Ft. Benning, GA. Handman was subjected to anti-Jewish epithets and forced by his drill sergeants to remove his yarmulke (head covering) during dinner. Subsequently he was beaten by fellow-soldiers, resulting in his being hospitalized with a concussion.

A Pentagon investigation into the anti-Semitism (but not the beating) concluded that two non-commissioned officers had: "inadvertently violated the Army Regulation concerning the free exercise of religion by requiring the Soldier to remove his yarmulke and by using inappropriate terms when referencing the Jewish faith. While the actions of the NCO’s were not meant to be malicious, and were done out of ignorance for regulations and cultural awareness, this does not excuse their conduct. The command intends to reprimand both NCO’s for their conduct; require them to present formal blocks of instruction on what religious are authorized for wear; and finally, the battalion chaplain will instruct all cadre members on the Army policy concerning religious accommodation."