A top official in Biden’s education department resigned Wednesday over President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a widely-circulated letter.
Tariq Habash, a policy advisor in the Education Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, announcing his resignation because he believes the administration has turned a “blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives.” Habash’s concerns are among the growing pushback against Biden and his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.
“I cannot represent an administration that does not value all human life equally. 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, a Palestinian-American, wrote. “I cannot be quietly complicit as this administration fails to leverage its influence as Israel’s strongest ally to halt the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics that have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from food, water, electricity, fuel, and medical supplies, leading to widespread disease and starvation.”
Biden has committed to supporting Israel during its war with Hamas since the terrorist organization launched its Oct. 7 attack on the country, brutally murdering, raping and kidnapping around 1,400 Israelis. The committed backing of Israel has increasingly faced backlash from members of Biden’s administration, his own allies and members of his campaign.
Seventeen anonymous members of Biden’s re-election campaign penned a letter Wednesday demanding the president call for a ceasefire, adding that volunteers of the campaign are quitting in “droves” because of his pro-Israel stance.
“It is not enough to merely be the alternative to Donald Trump. The campaign has to shift the feeling in the pits of voters’ stomachs, the same feeling that weighs on us every day as we fight for your reelection. The only way to do that is to call for a ceasefire,” the campaign letter states.
— Philip Letsou (@philipletsou) January 3, 2024
Several members of the State Department also demanded the president call for a ceasefire, according to a November letter. Allies of the president have warned that Biden’s close ties to Israel could cause him to lose the votes of young Americans in the 2024 election.
Despite the backlash, Biden has attempted to help Palestinian civilians, announcing $100 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank. Vice President Kamala Harris has reportedly urged Biden to show more public sympathy to Gaza and the Palestinians as they face a revolt from some of their biggest allies, Politico reported. The White House contested Politico’s reporting, adding there is not and has not been any “daylight” between Biden and Harris.
“Unfortunately, this obfuscation has been the primary objective of right-wing extremists who do not have Jewish or Arab students’ safety in mind as they attempt to equate calls for a ceasefire with antisemitism,” Habash’s letter claimed. “Attributing the actions of Israel to all Jewish people makes them inherently less safe. Similarly, conflating all Palestinians with Hamas, something Israeli government officials have continuously attempted to do, makes Palestinians and Muslims everywhere less safe.”