Joe Biden is facing a significant internal revolt against his administration’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war, insiders have said – reflected in nationwide unease at the conflict, and his dismal polls. The president has been determined to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel following the Hamas terror attack of October 7, which killed 1,200 people. But he warned Israel’s leaders in private and in public not to repeat America’s mistakes post 9/11, and be blinded by rage and a desire for revenge.
With 15,000 Gazans killed in seven weeks of bombardment, many inside the Biden administration feel that the White House should do more to rein-in Israel. Only one person has publicly resigned due to the Gaza onslaught – Josh Paul (pictured), a director in the State Department’s political-military affairs bureau, which oversees U.S. arms transfers. But sources told NBC News that the internal unrest – including statements in open letters from government employees – exceeds anything felt in the last 40 years, including the Iraq War and Donald Trump ‘s Muslim ban. ‘It’s remarkable and it’s unprecedented,’ said Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank who worked at the State Department from 1978 to 2003. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’
The anger has been expressed by hundreds of federal employees signing an open letter demanding the Biden administration push for a cease-fire, and dozens of diplomats at the State Department sending official dissent cables. At the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), hundreds of employees signed a letter critical of the administration’s approach, while hundreds of staff members in Congress have staged protests and signed letters demanding a cease-fire.
They reject what they called a ‘blank check’ for Israel. The CIA, meanwhile, last month sent out an internal email reminding staff to keep their posts on social media strictly apolitical and nonpartisan, NBC News reported previously.
One State Department official told NBC: ‘Not everyone is demanding a change in policy, but they are advocating for a shift. We all saw the pictures on the seventh [of October], and I think there was widespread support for Israel’s right to eliminate this threat. But we also saw the pictures that came out after. Once pictures started coming out of the rubble of 5,000 dead, 10,000 dead… We all know the tools they used to kill them.’
The United States supplies large quantities of weapons to Israel: about $3 billion annually, adjusted for inflation, for the last 50 years. Israel is the largest historical recipient of US security aid. Biden announced in October that he was sending more, declaring from the Oval Office that he would seek ‘an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense’ of $14.3 billion. ‘We’re surging additional military assistance,’ he added. Two State Department officials told NBC that ‘their most levelheaded counterparts in the region’ were warning that Biden was damaging America’s reputation by failing to do more for a cease-fire. One source told NBC that the unrest was, in part, generational, with younger people more likely to question the United States’ massive financial and political support for Israel, against Palestine.
A new NBC News poll shows 70 percent of Democratic voters ages 18 to 34 disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war. Biden’s approval rating is currently at one of the lowest points of his presidency, falling from high 50s when he was inaugurated to under 40 percent now. Just 33 percent of all voters approve of Biden’s handling of foreign policy, which is down 8 points from September. Among Democratic voters, 51 percent believe Israel has gone too far, versus 27 percent who say Israel’s military actions are justified. ‘They have a different view of U.S. foreign policy than the older generation,’ said one source. ‘It’s a progressive view that sees the U.S. as having made terrible mistakes and not always being on the right side of history.’ Josh Paul, the State Department employee, spent 11 years at the State Department, after stints at the Department of Defense. He wrote an op ed for The New York Times on November 17 explaining his reasoning.
‘On Oct. 18, I resigned from the State Department because I could not support the provision of U.S. weapons into the conflict in Gaza, where I knew that they would be used to kill thousands of civilians,’ he wrote. ‘I saw no willingness to re-evaluate a long-term policy that has not led to peace and has actually undermined both regional stability and Israeli security.’ Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, wrote a memo to staff members this in early November saying they were listening to their concerns. ‘We’ve organized forums in Washington to hear from you, and urged managers and teams to have candid discussions at posts around the world precisely so we can hear your feedback and ideas,’ said Blinken. ‘I’ve asked our senior leadership to keep doing that. We’re listening: what you share is informing our policy and our messages.’
The American Foreign Service Association, the union for the State Department’s diplomatic corps, told NBC it was ‘heartened’ by how the administration has responded to the internal dissent. ‘We know that there has been some concern with current policy, in particular by members of Arab American and Muslim American employee organizations at the State Department and elsewhere,’ said Tom Yazdgerdi, the association’s president. ‘We know that these employee groups met with Secretary Blinken and other members of leadership at State. That is crucial because dissenting views especially need to be heard and we hope they are taken into consideration.’ Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12812557/joe-biden-gaza-protest-state-department-israel.html?ito=msngallery
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