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Second Biden Administration Official Resigns in Protest Over Gaza Policy, Demands Ceasefire

Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American of Christian background and political appointee in the Education Department, resigned from his post on Jan. 3, in outrage over the Biden Administration refusal to stop the Israeli Netanyahu government’s genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. “Today, I resigned from the Biden-Harris Administration. I cannot represent an administration that systematically dehumanizes Palestinians and enables their ethnic cleansing. The President must call for a permanent ceasefire,” he demanded on his X account.

Habash’s fiercely moral letter of resignation exposes the hypocrisy of the Biden administration in which he served for the past three years. That administration proclaims that it is the most diverse in history. He actively campaigned for Joe Biden’s election, helped shape his platform on education, consumer finance and racial justice, and had worked on fixing the student loan system and inequities in higher education, he wrote.

“But now, the actions of the Biden-Harris Administration have put millions of innocent lives in danger, most immediately for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza who remain under continuous assault and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government. Therefore, I must resign….

“It should go without saying that all violence against innocent people is horrific. I mourn each and every loss, Israeli and Palestinian. But 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. I cannot be 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 from food, water, fuel and medical supplies, leading to widespread disease and starvation.”

Habash demands an end to “unconditional military funding” for a government that has killed thousands of children, journalists, medical professionals. “These deaths are unjust—they violate our moral obligation as stewards of our country’s tax dollars, they violate our obligation to abide by international humanitarian law, and they violate every level of human decency.”

He equally demands that the Department of Education play an active role in “protecting all students who choose to exercise their first amendment right to engage in nonviolent actions, including expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza…. Let me be clear: anti-Semitism, anti-Palestinian sentiment, and Islamophobia are all abhorrent. We must not allow hate in any form to permeate our society, schools, or life. But simply put, criticism of the Israeli government, and its violations of international humanitarian law, is not anti-Semitic. Claims that conflate criticism of Israel’s government with anti-Semitism only seek to silence dissent against a foreign government.”