U.S. Army officer resigns in protest over U.S. support for Israel

Maj. Harrison Mann, a Jewish American working for the Defense Intelligence Agency, has resigned from the U.S. Army, citing the United States’ “nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel,” which he claims has “enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”

Mann, a 13-year U.S. Army veteran who worked in the Middle East bureau, sat down with CBS News senior national correspondent Jim Axelrod for his first television interview since resigning his post. Mann submitted his resignation in November, and his separation from the military became effective Monday. 

More than six U.S. government officials have publicly resigned in protest of the United States’ support for Israel’s war, but Mann is the first from the military and intelligence community. 

“I understand if people are angry that I chose to speak about this, but I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice,” Mann told Axelrod. 

A Defense Intelligence Agency official confirmed to CBS News that Mann was assigned to the agency. “Employee resignations are a routine occurrence at DIA as they are at other employers, and employees resign their positions for any number of reasons and motivations,” the official said. 

Major Harrison Mann CBS News

Mann told “CBS Mornings” that U.S. weapons have enabled Israel’s operations in Gaza, suggesting Israel has indiscriminately targeted Palestinian civilians since it began responding to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and ongoing capture of Jewish hostages

“I don’t know how you kill 35,000 civilians by accident,” Mann said. 

The grandson of Jews who fled the antisemitism of Eastern Europe, Mann said he doesn’t agree that the cry of “never again” that galvanized Jews after the Holocaust warrants Israel’s current response.

“They’re not responding in a way that is productive for the security of the state of Israel or Jews worldwide,” Mann said. “I’m confident saying it’s certainly some measure of ethnic cleansing. I do not think it is in the spirit of ‘never again’.”

“If you are somebody who is really motivated by the concern to protect Jewish life,” Mann said, “you should be fighting for [Israel] to wind down the war, to conduct it in a way that does not turn basically the whole world against them. That is not good for the near- or long-term security of Israel.”

Jim Axelrod and Harrison Mann. CBS News

Mann decided to make his resignation public after the Biden administration released an assessment in May that found instances when Israel’s conduct was inconsistent with “international humanitarian law,” but the administration concluded that U.S. aid would not be interrupted.

“I was struck by the weakness of that justification,” Mann says.

The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry has estimated that Israel’s ground and air operations in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 people, although that number has not been independently confirmed. The United Nations is working to confirm the casualties. The IDF has said around 15,000 Hamas militants have been killed in Gaza.

Sheena Samu contributed to this report.

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