White House staffer resigns over Biden's support of 'ethnic cleansing' in Gaza

 January 4, 2024

A Biden administration official has resigned over the president's continued support of Israel in its war with Hamas.

Tariq Habash, a policy adviser at the Education Department, accused Biden of backing "ethnic cleansing" as the death toll continues to rise in Gaza.

There have been previous reports of internal rebellion over Biden's foreign policy with Israel, but this is only the second time that an official has stepped down in protest.

White House resignation

Habash, who is of Palestinian origin, said Biden is supporting the "ethnic cleansing" of thousands of Palestinians who have died since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

“I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives, in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government,” Habash wrote.

He asserted that criticism of the Israeli government is being unfairly conflated with anti-Semitism to quell free speech.

“Claims that conflate criticism of Israel’s government with antisemitism only seek to silence dissent against a foreign government," he wrote.

Biden faces backlash

The war has exposed fissures in Biden's shaky electoral coalition heading into 2024.

Biden has faced backlash from progressive voters, Muslim groups and even his own staff for his response to the conflict. Although Biden has distanced himself from Israel over its bombing in Gaza, he has refused calls from progressive to demand a cease-fire.

Members of Biden's own campaign signed an anonymous letter Wednesday demanding a cease-fire.

“As your staff, we believe it is both a moral and electoral imperative for you to publicly call for a cessation of violence,” the staffers wrote in the letter.

Biden bypassed the divided Congress last week to supply Israel with more military aid. The decision drew criticism from some Senate Democrats.

“The U.S. must not write a blank check for [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s] war in Gaza and his right-wing government, which has demonstrated a gross disregard for Palestinian civilians,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) told The Hill in a statement.

Israel is said to be transitioning to a longer and lower intensity phase of the war after Biden lobbied the Jewish state to change its approach.

However, Israel says they already planned to make this shift after gaining control of northern Gaza.

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