A leaked memo obtained by Politico reveals that a group of State Department staffers has criticized President Joe Biden’s pro-Israel stance in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, calling on the President to advocate for a ceasefire. The Biden administration has consistently supported Israel in its response to a Hamas attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis on October 7.
The memo from the Biden administration staffers urges the White House to publicly criticize Israel for what they perceive as violations of international norms, including the failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets. They also point out concerns regarding settler violence, illegal land seizures, and excessive use of force against Palestinians. The memo suggests that such actions run counter to American values and should not go unaddressed.
According to the leaked memo, there is a perceived gap in the Biden administration’s messaging on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The memo argues that the current approach may contribute to the perception that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor in the region, potentially harming U.S. interests on a global scale. However, the memo also acknowledges Israel’s legitimate right and obligation to respond to attacks by Hamas while expressing concern over the loss of human lives in the ongoing conflict.
The Biden administration’s position has been to resist calls for an immediate ceasefire, with White House national security spokesperson John Kirby emphasizing that a ceasefire would primarily benefit Hamas. Instead, the administration supports a humanitarian pause to allow civilians in Gaza to evacuate.
President Biden’s pro-Israel stance has faced criticism from within his own party, as well as from Arab and Muslim Americans. Some close allies of the President have expressed concerns that his unwavering support for Israel could lead to the U.S. being held responsible for how Israel conducts its operations against Hamas. Democratic Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal has voiced concerns that the President’s stance might cost him support among young Democrats.
In late October, former aides from Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign called on her to demand a ceasefire and referred to Israel’s actions against Hamas as a “genocide.” The National Muslim Democratic Council released an open letter in which they threatened to mobilize Muslim, Arab, and allied voters to withhold their endorsement, support, or votes if the administration did not change its approach to the conflict.
U.S. State Department staffers have offered a blistering critique of the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in a dissent memo arguing that, among other things, the U.S. should be willing to publicly criticize the Israelis.https://t.co/F1APoUdWnD
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