Harrison Mann

Harrison Mann, a Jewish U.S. Army major who resigned from the Defense Intelligence Agency over U.S. support for Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, appeared on Mehdi Hasan's show on June 5, 2024.

(Photo: Zeteo/screenshot)

Jewish US Army Major Explains Why He Resigned Over Gaza

"I knew that as long as I stayed, I'd be contributing to this campaign that had already demonstrated basically it was going to be indiscriminately killing civilians at an industrial scale," said Harrison Mann.

After Harrison Mann's resignation from the U.S. military was finalized on Monday, the Jewish U.S. Army major who worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency gave a pair of interviews this week explaining his decision to resign over American support for Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.

"We saw, even from the first days of the Israeli air campaign, willingness to inflict very high civilian casualties," Mann toldCBS News chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod in a conversation that aired Tuesday.

Even before the Hamas-led October 7 attack prompted the ongoing Israeli bombardment, ground assault, and restrictions on humanitarian assistance deliveries into Gaza, the United States gave Israel billions of dollars in annual military aid. U.S. weapons and diplomatic support for the Middle East ally has increased over the past eight months, as the death toll has topped 36,500.

Journalists and human rights groups have documented Israel's use of U.S. arms to kill and injure civilians in Gaza. Asked by Axelrod whether Israeli forces were intentionally doing so, the Mann responded, "I don't know how you kill 35,000 civilians by accident."

During Mann's first televised interview, Axelrod also asked, "You felt your work was directly connected to starving children?"

The 13-year Army veteran simply said, "Yes."

U.S. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said in an interview this week that he doesn't think Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war, contradicting conclusions by global human rights organizations and the International Criminal Court.

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action CEO Jamie Beran, whose group has historically stayed out of the decadeslong Israel-Palestine conflict, wrote in a Tuesday letter to Biden that "we, as American Jews, are sounding an alarm: U.S. support for continued violence in Gaza is putting American safety and U.S. democracy in danger."

In his CBS appearance, Mann read from his resignation letter, in which he notes his experience as a Jewish person, writing that "as the descendant of European Jews, I was raised in a particularly unforgiving moral environment when it came to the topic of bearing responsibility for ethnic cleansing—my grandfather refused to ever purchase products manufactured in Germany—where the paramount importance of 'never again' and the inadequacy of 'just following orders' were oft repeated."

Mann addressed his decision to make his letter public on LinkedIn last month after distributing it internally at DIA on April 16. He cited the Biden administration's May report—which critics called a "Friday news dump"—about Israeli assurances regarding the use of U.S. weapons in Gaza and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

That administration's report states that although "it is reasonable to assess" that Israeli forces used U.S. arms in Gaza in manners inconsistent with their international law obligations and expresses "deep concerns" about Israel's action and inaction on humanitarian aid, American support for the Israeli war effort can continue.

Mann also appeared Wednesday on Mehdi Hasan's new show for Zeteo, the media platform that the journalist launched following the cancellation of his program at MSNBC after he aired content critical of Israel's assault on Gaza.

Jewish-American Soldier Quits Biden Administration Over Gaza: “I Feel it's Appropriate to Invoke ‘Never Again’” by Mehdi Hasan

Mehdi speaks to newly-resigned Major Harrison Mann. Plus: the forgotten genocide in Sudan.

Read on Substack

Mann told Hasan that he started his resignation process in November but revealed why in April, saying that "the war in Gaza and our role in it and my contribution to that was the straw that broke the camel's back and the reason I ultimately understood I could not do this work anymore."

By November, "I knew that as long as I stayed, I'd be contributing to this campaign that had already demonstrated basically it was going to be indiscriminately killing civilians at an industrial scale," Mann said. He added that it was clear that the U.S. would continue to provide Israel with "unwavering" support.

Others who have quit their jobs over U.S. government support for the Israeli war include Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant in the Department of the Interior and the first Jewish political appointee to resign in protest; Tariq Habash, a Palestinian American who worked as a policy adviser in the Education Department; and Stacy Gilbert, Josh Paul, Hala Rharrit, and Annelle Sheline, who all left the State Department.

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