Hundreds of Federal Officials Sign Letter Objecting to Biden’s Support for Israel, Demanding Cease-Fire
Over 400 government employees and political appointees from 40 agencies wrote a letter on Tuesday to President Joe Biden, objecting to the administration’s support of Israel and demanding he press for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
The letter was first obtained by New York Times. It reads: “We urge President Biden, to demand an urgent cease-fire and call for the de-escalation in the current conflict, by securing immediate release of Israeli hostages, and arbitrarily held Palestinians, the restoration of fuel, electricity, and other basic services, and the passage to Gaza Strip of adequate humanitarian assistance.”
A poll also showed that 80 percent or more of Democrats and independents, as well as a majority of Republicans and Republicans, were somewhat or strongly in agreement with this sentiment. The message also cited a poll showing that 80 percent of Democrats, and a majority of independents and Republicans, somewhat or strongly agree with the sentiment. The letter concluded that “Americans don’t want to see the U.S. Military drawn into yet another expensive and pointless Middle East war.”
Biden and Secretary Blinken of State have said that a ceasefire would empower Hamas only to increase their capabilities and commit additional terror attacks, like the one perpetrated by the group on October 7 when its fighters killed 1,400 Israelis – many of whom were women and children. The administration instead has called for short-term humanitarian breaks in the fighting to allow aid inflow and evacuation of civilians.
The letter was sent one day after Israel Defense Forces revealed evidence that Hamas had used a Gaza children’s hospital as a base.
This note was also sent in conjunction with at least three internal cables that were sent through the State Department’s “dissent channel”, an internal forum where employees can privately express their concerns about American policies. According to the Times, two were sent in the first week of war and the third more recently.
Sylvia Yacoub of the Bureau of Middle East Affairs organized the cable that criticized the White House for its “seemingly complete endorsement” of Israel’s military response. The letter, signed by 100 State Department members and USAID staffers, warned Biden of his “complicity” with the genocide in Gaza.
Yacoub made a series of personal attacks on Biden and Kamala Harris via social media. The officer said on Thursday that by providing more military support to a government that is indiscriminately killing innocent Gazans ….you’re complicit in genocide. Yacoub, tagging Harris in a tweet that said “Embarrassingly Out of Touch @VP,” wrote Yacoub after Harris met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the conflict.
Yacoub made her X account “private” after Axios published the posts.
One official questioned the professionalism of the signatories due to the rift between White House and State Department. In the past 20 years, I have never seen State Department Management make so much fuss over employees’ emotions and feelings to the point that dissent was essentially encouraged,” said a source from the Near East Bureau. There’s a gap between the White House/NSC, and State in this conflict. “I’m not shocked that Yacoub tweets the way she does, however shocking it may be.”
Blinken met previously with signatories, and in a Monday email he responded to the growing pushback. The Times reported that the letter stated: “I understand that this crisis has caused a great deal of suffering for many people. Blinken said that “some people within the department may not agree with our approach or have opinions on how we can improve.” “We are listening to what you say: Your views and ideas inform our policies and messages.”