State Department staffers have slammed President Biden’s full-throated support for Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in a dissent memo.
The memo was obtained by POLITICO, which reported that the blistering critique of Biden’s handling of the war reflects the sentiments of many US diplomats, especially at the middle and lower levels. HuffPost previously reported that a “mutiny” was brewing within the State Department.
One request made in the memo is for the US to support a ceasefire in Gaza. The Biden administration has said it supports a “humanitarian pause” but has refused to use the term ceasefire.
The memo also calls on Biden administration officials to publicly criticize Israel’s military tactics and treatment of Palestinians. The memo says the lack of public comments critiquing Israel “contributes to regional public perceptions that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor, which at best does not advance, and at worst harms, US interests worldwide.”
“We must publicly criticize Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets,” the memo reads. “When Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity.”
The memo criticizes the US for accepting the high civilian casualty rate in Israel’s bombardment, saying that doing so “engenders doubt in the rules-based international order that we have long championed.”
According to POLITICO, it’s unclear how many people signed the memo or if it was submitted to the State Department’s Dissent Channel, which was established during the Vietnam War to give diplomats a way to criticize policy. The report said the memo’s demands are “unlikely to get far with Biden or his top aides, at least not anytime soon.”