White House Faces Internal Backlash Over Israel Support

As divisions over U.S. support for Israel deepen within the Biden administration, tensions are escalating. The situation has reached a point where junior aides at the White House are openly expressing their discontent with what they perceive as a pro-Israel bias, even though that stance has traditionally characterized U.S. foreign policy.

The genesis of this internal conflict can be traced back to a “dissent cable” signed by dozens of State Department members. This document criticized Joe Biden’s support for Israel, marking a rare disagreement within the Democratic ranks. The sentiment has spilled over into the White House, leading to what some insiders describe as a revolt against the president’s approach.

A senior administration official, speaking anonymously, acknowledged the staff’s discomfort, saying, “It has created great moral anxiety.” This dissent has put the aides in a precarious position, given their direct work under the president’s authority.

The Agency for International Development (USAID) has also seen pushback. An open letter signed by hundreds of its staff members called for an immediate ceasefire, arguing that the U.S. needs to step in to prevent further loss of life and facilitate the provision of essential services to Gaza.

This internal strife coincides with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indication that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) would maintain security control in Gaza post-conflict. That announcement was met with opposition from both Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who rejected any notions of a re-occupation of Gaza.

However, the core of the issue lies in the response of the international community to the tactics employed by Israel in its conflict with Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The international reaction has placed the Biden administration in a delicate position of balancing unwavering support for an ally with the need to address global criticism.

Josh Paul, a former employee at the State Department who resigned over the administration’s policy toward Israel, highlighted the moral and strategic concerns raised by his colleagues. They are reportedly troubled by the high civilian death toll and the potential strategic repercussions of the U.S.’s unwavering support for Israel, which could isolate the U.S. and negatively impact its global standing.

Tom Yazdgerdi, president of the American Foreign Service Association, expressed sympathy for the employees caught in this challenging situation, noting the emotional toll of the ongoing violence. The State Department has engaged with employee organizations to ensure their voices are heard, acknowledging the domestic implications of the conflict.

While the administration has called for humanitarian pauses in the hopes of minimizing civilian casualties, State Department staff have become increasingly vocal about their dissent, some pushing for the U.S. to adopt a firmer stance in public against Israeli military tactics.

As the U.S. navigates its foreign policy in this volatile context, the leaked memos and the outspoken concerns of State Department staff reflect a broader debate about the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East and its implications for U.S. diplomacy worldwide.