Secretary of State Blinken Meets with Officials Opposed to Biden’s Israel Gaza Policy
- by proamteam
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with a group of State Department officials who formally objected to President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, according to a current and a former State Department official.
The meeting took place on October 26, when dissatisfaction was expressed within the State Department over Biden’s disregard for the officials’ national security expertise, his circumvention of normal consultation procedures, and his preoccupation with demonstrating support for Israel.
A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the meeting, saying only that “the secretary of state meets regularly with colleagues, including those with whom there may be disagreements.”
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller has previously said that Blinken welcomes dissent and disagreement from the agency. But officials told The Huffington Post that when they described concerns based on their expertise, administrators told them it was highly unlikely that those views would change U.S. policy – and at one point told officials they should focus on exerting influence in other parts of the world (not the Israeli-Palestinian region).
This week, the department launched a new series of group meetings between leaders and rank-and-file officials, according to inside sources seen by The Huffington Post. The announcement describes the exchange of views between the leaders, but does not specify the impact, if any, that expressing a different point of view might have.
The Biden administration has shown some signs of public concern about Israel’s behavior in the Gaza offensive, which was launched by Israel after the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a vicious Oct. 7 attack inside Israel. Biden and Blinken backed the idea this week. Biden and Blinken this week supported the idea of a “humanitarian pause” to allow more aid to flow into the besieged area.
However, the U.S. has given no indication that it would reduce its support for Israel based on its response to humanitarian concerns or indications that Israel may be using excessive force in violation of international law, and some observers fear that a pause would only make the fighting more protracted.
On Friday, Blinken told his Israeli counterparts that he believed a pause would help the U.S. continue to defend and support Israel’s ground operations in Gaza, where millions of people could remain trapped despite the pause, Axios revealed.
A U.S. official and two Israeli officials told the media that Blinken privately told the Israelis, “We don’t want to stop you, but help us buy more time.”
The fact that Blinken met with officials who disagree with Biden’s Israel-Gaza policy may be seen as a sign that Biden is willing to listen to a variety of viewpoints on the issue. However, it is also possible that the meeting was simply a way for Blinken to deal with dissent within his department.
It is worth noting that this meeting took place before the United States endorsed the idea of a “humanitarian pause.” Thus, Blinken’s views on the issue may have changed since then.
It remains to be seen whether the Biden administration will take any concrete steps to address the concerns of officials who disagree with its Israel-Gaza policy.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with a group of State Department officials who formally objected to President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, according to a current and a former State Department official. The meeting took place on October 26, when dissatisfaction was expressed within the State Department over Biden’s disregard for the…