The State Department Should Quash, Not Coddle, Those Rebelling against the Administration’s Israel Policy

In the past few weeks, there have been several reports about memos and letters sent by government employees—at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), at the State Department, and at other agencies—criticizing the administration’s support for the Jewish state. These missives claimed to have specific numbers of “signatories,” but these individuals notably chose to remain anonymous. Elliott Abrams comments on how Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to whom two of these letters were directed, should respond. (Subscription required.)

The proper reaction would have been to squash the mutiny. Those who called for a ceasefire in week one were essentially saying Israel had no duty or right to protect itself after Hamas’s brutal attack on its civilians. Mr. Blinken should have told these government workers that he and the president reject their views as entirely wrong and contrary to U.S. national interests. Instead of encouraging the dissenters to offer more “feedback and ideas,” [as he did], he should be wondering if he can count on such people to offer any sound advice on foreign policy—or even to implement a policy that he sets.

Instead of coddling the staff with listening sessions, he should have reminded them who sets the policy—and even challenged those protesting to re-examine their hostile attitudes toward the Jewish state.

The problem of having staff members who think they know best and should determine policy is an old one. . . . Harry S. Truman noted that too many bureaucrats “look upon the elected officials as just temporary occupants.” Mr. Blinken should have had the rebellious staffers read Truman’s words: “The civil servant, the general or admiral, the foreign-service officer has no authority to make policy. They act only as servants of the government, and therefore they must remain in line with the government policy that is established by those who have been chosen by the people to set that policy.”

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Antony Blinken, Joseph Biden, State Department, U.S.-Israel relationship

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion