Transgender troops, Trump officials to testify before Congress on military ban

From The Washington Blade:  https://www.washingtonblade.com/2019/02/19/transgender-troops-trump-officials-to-testify-before-congress-on-military-ban/

by Chris Johnson
February 19, 2019

Transgender troops and Trump administration officials are set to testify before Congress on February 27 about President Trump’s transgender military ban, the Washington Blade has learned.

The House Armed Services Committee announced on Tuesday as part of it weekly scheduling announcement the personnel subcommittee, newly chaired by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) under the Democratic majority, will hold a hearing on that date on “Transgender Service Policy.”

Set to testify are transgender members of the armed forces — Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, Navy Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Akira Wyatt and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann. (Two of these witnesses — Peace and Dremann — were among the transgender service members lawmakers invited to the State of the Union address earlier this year.)

The Trump administration officials set to testify on Trump’s ban are James Stewart, who’s performing the duties of under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency. They’ll likely face questions from the subcommittee why on the Pentagon is seeking to ban transgender people from the armed forces and whether there is a medical need to do so. (The American Medical Association has concluded there is not.)

Also set to testify is Jesse Ehrenfeld, a combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan and is now a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

During the Obama administration, Ehrenfeld questioned then Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during a military town hall in Kandahar after transgender military policy. The process toward implementing openly transgender military service started shortly afterward.

Trump later sought to reverse this policy change by announcing on Twitter transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military “in any capacity.” Although courts have until recently issued orders blocking implementation of Trump’s policy, the U.S. Supreme Court issued stays on those injunctions, essentially allowing the ban to go into effect.

(Technically, one injunction against the ban issued by a federal court in Maryland remains standing, but the order isn’t expected to last long. The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to have it dissolved following the green light from the Supreme Court.)

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BDS Is Linked To Terrorists. Just As You Suspected.

From The Forward:  https://forward.com/opinion/418744/bds-is-linked-to-terrorists-just-as-you-suspected/

Peter Lerner
February 4, 2019

For years, we have heard various claims from Israeli officials positing that the global movement to boycott Israel, known as the BDS Movement, is tainted and controlled by extreme anti-Israel individuals who are unconcerned with the human rights of Palestinians which they claim to champion.

However, until this week, no incriminating evidence had ever been provided.

All that changed when a report by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs provided conclusive evidence that the energy of terrorists and their organizations has infiltrated, and is even driving, the BDS activities.

The report reveals direct ties between numerous boycott groups and US, Canada, and EU-designated terror organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Hamas and PFLP operatives have infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, North America and South Africa, for the purpose of advancing their ideological goal: the elimination of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” reads the report. “Convicted terrorist operatives who have served prison sentences currently hold senior positions in NGOs which delegitimize and promote the BDS campaign against Israel. In these positions, they recruit fellow terrorist operatives to their NGOs. Israeli courts have determined that some of the terrorist operatives listed in this report pose a concrete security threat.”

Until I read this report, I have always remained a moderate voice. I have advocated listening to criticism of Israel and its policies, even when uncomfortable for us. But as BDS it looks like we’ve all been duped.

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/418744/bds-is-linked-to-terrorists-just-as-you-suspected/

See also: Documenting the BDS Movement’s Undisputed Ties to Terrorism

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