Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Home » Resignations mount as Biden faces backlash over Gaza policy

Resignations mount as Biden faces backlash over Gaza policy

by Zack Ball
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A staffer in United States President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday became the first Jewish political appointee to publicly resign in protest of U.S. military and diplomatic support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff in the Interior Department, accused U.S. President Joe Biden of using Jews to justify U.S. policy in the conflict.

Call is at least the fifth mid-senior-level administration staffer to make public their resignation in protest of the Biden administration’s support of the now seven-month Israeli war against Hamas. She is the second political appointee to do so, after Tariq Habash, an Education Department official of Palestinian heritage, resigned in January.

Displaced Palestinians stand among clothes hanging in the courtyard of an UNRWA school in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. /CFP

“I think the president has to know that there are people in his administration who think this is disastrous,” Call told The Associated Press. “Not just for Palestinians, for Israelis, for Jews, for Americans, for his election prospects.”

Biden, seeking re-election in November, faces rising disapproval from key segments of his Democratic base regarding his Gaza stance. Since the conflict began on October 7, several administration officials have publicly resigned over the US’s Gaza policy.

The resignations reflect widespread anger in the country over Biden’s unwavering support for Israel, despite the increasing death toll in Gaza and allegations of Israeli forces committing genocide against Palestinians.

Displaced Palestinians stand among clothes hanging in the courtyard of an UNRWA school in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. /CFP

Josh Paul, a former State Department official who resigned in October over the Biden administration’s decision to continue sending weapons and ammunition to Israel, commented on Wednesday that the latest resignation signaled “the tide is turning.” As an official overseeing arms transfers, his resignation was on the same matter.

He noted in a post on LinkedIn that U.S. university students, Democratic Party voters, as well as Biden’s own staff and political appointees, have all made it clear they are opposed to his Middle East policy.

This week on Monday, Harrison Mann, a former U.S. military intelligence official, released a letter explaining to his colleagues at the Defense Intelligence Agency that his November resignation was in fact due to “moral injury” stemming from U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza and the harm caused to Palestinians.

Mann said he felt shame and guilt for helping advance U.S. policy that he said contributed to the mass killing of Palestinians.

An aerial view of the makeshift tents set up in the coastal area as Palestinians, who left their homes due to Israeli attacks, try to survive under difficult conditions in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on May 16, 2024. /CFP

“At some point – whatever the justification – you’re either advancing a policy that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not,” Mann wrote.

In April, Hala Rharrit, the Arabic-language spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, resigned. She is the first career diplomat to resign in protest of what she called a policy that will set back Washington’s interests in the Arab world for a generation.

Nearly a month before Rharrit’s resignation, Annelle Sheline of the State Department’s human rights bureau announced her departure. Sheline said that she initially attempted to voice her opposition within the administration and found that many of her colleagues at the State Department shared her concerns and were also devastated by the impact of U.S. policy on Palestinians in Gaza.

Source: CGTN

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