Yet another, bigger State Department dissent memo has emerged which slams President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza crisis. The memo obtained by Axios is signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees and bluntly asserts that the United States is supporting Israeli “war crimes”.
Axios notes that the memo was organized by a foreign affairs officer who has in the recent past made public statements saying Biden is “complicit in genocide” – given the soaring Palestinian death toll, now at over 11,200 Gazans killed since Oct.7.
The memo characterizes the Israeli aerial and ground assault as follows: “all constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law”–but says it’s made worse by the US doubling “down on our unwavering military assistance to the (Israeli government) without clear or actionable redlines.”
The scathing memo goes after Biden directly, saying he is “spreading misinformation” and in his unreserved support for Israel the president is “complicit in war crimes”. As for the “misinformation” charge, the memo takes the White House to task for recently “questioning the number of deaths” issued from Gaza’s Health Ministry.
A separate memo was reported last week by Politico which had similar criticisms, but this latest dissent memo is the most significant to date, given the numbers of officials involved.
As a potential solution to the crisis, the 100 State Dept/USAID personnel urge that the White House press for ceasefire. “We strongly recommend that the (U.S. government) advocate for the release of hostages by both Hamas and (Israel)” it says, while underscoring the “thousands” of Palestinians being held in Israel, and many detained “without charge.”
The memo also goes after Biden’s national security team on the NSC. “Members of the White House and (the National Security Council) displayed a clear disregard for the lives of Palestinians, a documented unwillingness to de-escalate, and, even prior to October 7, a reckless lack of strategic foresight,” it states.
Axios says of the context and how the memo came to originate:
Since the Vietnam War, the State Department has maintained a “dissent channel” to give diplomats — in distant embassies and in the department’s headquarters — a way to register their opposition to policies.
From 9/11 as a unit of measurement to Dresden. Not sure this is the comparison he was looking for here since the Dresden bombing is often viewed as a war crime. https://t.co/HfZhhHinKX
— Jack Murphy (@JackMurphyRGR) November 13, 2023
Separately at the start of the week CNN reported that American diplomats in the Middle East sent a cable, since leaked, to the White House warning that US full-throated support for Israel’s military campaign “is losing us Arab publics for a generation.”
Akin to the new dissent memo, the cable linked US policy to “material and moral culpability in what they consider to be possible war crimes.” It also said that as the Palestinian death toll mounts, “We are losing badly on the messaging battlespace.” The cable also said, “President Biden’s cruelty and disregard for Palestinians exceeded all previous US presidents.”
Meanwhile, the White House has remained unwavering it its request for Congress to approve $14 billion in additional security aid for Tel Aviv to support its operations in Gaza.