- In a department-wide email sent on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the growing dissent within his ranks over President Joe Biden's administration's handling of the war in Gaza.1
- Following a nine-day trip across the Middle East and Asia, Blinken moved to quell the backlash over Biden's pledge to stand by Israel following Hamas's Oct. 7 attack. Up to 11K people have so far died in Israel's response according to Gaza's Health Ministry — reportedly prompting hundreds of State Department employees to publicly and privately call for an immediate ceasefire.2
- According to reporting from Reuters, at least three complaints have been made using the department's internal 'dissent channel' — a mechanism set up in the wake of the Vietnam War that allows diplomats to anonymously voice concerns directly to the Secretary of State.2
- In response, Blinken's department-wide email read: 'I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis is taking a profound personal toll. The anguish that comes with seeing the daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women, and other civilians suffering in this crisis is wrenching.'1
- He added that he knows some staff 'may disagree with approaches we are taking,' but encouraged them to continue having candid discussions with teams and managers, adding: 'We’re listening: what you share is informing our policy and our messages.' Recipients of the email included employees of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), where over 1K people have publicly endorsed a cease-fire.3
- Meanwhile, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a New York civil liberties group, on Monday filed a lawsuit against Biden, Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin accusing them of 'failure to prevent and complicity in the Israeli government’s unfolding genocide.'4
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Archyde. One of the strengths of the State Department is its diversity of views, which staff are always encouraged to continuously make known. Secretary Blinken and upper management are listening to those views which will be used to inform the State Department's policy decisions. The Biden administration wants to support its ally Israel while also maintaining a safe future for the Palestinian people.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Intercept. In aiding and abetting Israeli attacks on Gaza, which UN officials have already warned may breach international law, the US may be just as legally culpable if they provide direct military support. Some argue those crimes reach the threshold of genocide. The US needs to rethink its current stance and call for an immediate ceasefire.