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Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote a note to the US State Department staff on October 19. He was aware of growing discontent among his workforce; hurt and disappointed by the unabashed abandonment of diplomatic norms, as the US defended war crimes committed by Israel.
Career State Department employees were shaken professionally and personally, and they were not only Muslims, or Arabs.
“I know that, for many of you, this time has not only been challenging professionally, but personally,” wrote Blinken.
“President [Joe] Biden has made clear from the beginning of the crisis — as I underscored across the region — that while we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself, how it does so matters. That means acting in a way that respects the rule of law and international humanitarian standards, and taking every possible precaution to protect civilian life,” he added, but his words were untrue. When professionals are lied to, they lose respect for their superiors.
The Biden administration’s reaction to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel was to offer unqualified support to the Israelis, insisting they had the right to defend themselves against the militant group.
State Department employees are professionals who are not working for one single Secretary of State, or any one US President. They work for the United States, for the people, and defending the freedom and democracy which makes America great.
When they saw Biden and Blinken supporting the Israeli siege on Gaza, which prevented all water, food, medicine and fuel from entering, they realized they are working for a regime which is complicit in war crimes and in contravention of international law. It became clear that Blinken was working for the Israelis, and not for American values or a rules-based international order.
Like any learned skill, there are accepted and time honored characteristics taught to become a diplomat.
The fourth rule of diplomacy, is objectivity and integrity. A diplomat must always be fair and honest, while never allowing personal political or cultural ideas to influence their actions.
On October 9, Blinken gave an emotional speech alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He stated he was there “not only as the United States Secretary of State but also as a Jew”.
Blinken failed to adhere to the rules of diplomacy by stepping away from representing the US government, and inserting himself into the situation. Blinken is paid by the American people, which is a secular society, to represent the interests of the whole country, and not Jewish Zionists.
Blinken claimed he represented the US as well as Jews, which is untrue. There are thousands of Jews in Israel, the US and globally who object to the brutality of the Israeli government.
State Department Employee Resigned
Josh Paul resigned from the State Department on October 18, after having spent more than 11 years in political-military affairs, which handles weapons deals.
“I have had my fair share of debates and discussions and efforts to shift policy on controversial arms sales,” said Paul, who resigned in protest of US arms transfers to Israel.
“We cannot be both against occupation, and for it. We cannot be both for freedom, and against it. And we cannot be for a better world, while contributing to one that is materially worse,” wrote Josh Paul in his letter of resignation.
“I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued—indeed, expanded and expedited—provision of lethal arms to Israel—I have reached the end of that bargain.”
Paul sees the rush to send more weapons to a conflict where 10,000 civilians have died, and about one-half include children, is not in the best interest of the US. He wrote about his value judgement to officials, asking for a discussion of other ways to help without adding fuel to the fire, and while some agreed with him privately, none were willing to voice any objection officially to the immediate transfer of US weapons to Israel.
Israel receives about 3.3 billion a year in foreign military financing from the US State Department, which represent about half of the total arms the US supplies globally. The Department of Defense gives to Israel $500 million for missile defense programs.
In an interview with Josh Paul, he explained that Israel is the only country on earth allowed to spend their US arms monies on developing their own weapons, which puts the US in the position of funding a competitor.
Paul further explained the Biden administration’s arms transfer policy includes prior vetting to prevent human rights abuses committed with US weapons. But, in the case of Israel, no process is followed, and in the current war on Gaza, it is clear that the weapons sent to Israel will indeed be used for human rights violations and result in massive civilian casualties.
It was Biden’s double-standard which made Paul resign. The whole world is held to account for human rights violations and war crimes, but Israel is never criticized by the White House or the Congress.
UN Human Rights Director Resigned
Craig Mokhiber, director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, resigned in a letter on October 28. Mokhiber explained that he was stepping down in protest over the “genocide unfolding before our eyes” in Gaza.
“The current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging […], coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate,” wrote Mokhiber, a US human rights lawyer who joined the UN in 1992 and has served in several conflict zones, including the Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan and Sudan.
“Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations ‘to ensure respect’ for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities,” he said while accusing the West of complicity in Israel’s war on Gaza.
Protesters have been demonstrating across the Arab world, as well as in London, New York, Washington, Paris and Berlin, in support of the people of Gaza.
Blinken in Baghdad
On November 5, Michael Birnbaum from The Washington Post, asked Blinken in a press conference in Baghdad to comment on the future of Gaza.
“But if you project forward into the future, what we all agree is that in defining that future and shaping that future for Gaza, for the West Bank, and ultimately for a Palestinian state, Palestinian voices have to be at the center of that. The Palestinian Authority is the representative of those voices, so it’s important that it play a leading role,“ said Blinken.
Blinken has repeatedly referred to the creation of a Palestinian State, which is in line with the US official position of the Two-State solution based on the UN resolution agreed upon decades ago. Neither Biden, nor Blinken have set forth a process or timeline to achieve the only lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The White House pays lip-service to the solution, while working directly against any solution, and instead supporting crimes against humanity, and genocide in Gaza.
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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.
Featured image: © UNICEF/Mohammad Ajjour A five-year-old boy holds up his cat amidst the wreckage of his home in Gaza.