A confidential memo from State Department staff has surfaced, evidencing sharp criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
This dissent, reported by Politico, underscores a perceived need within the diplomatic corps for the U.S. to adopt a stance critical of Israel and to openly rebuke Israeli military practices.
The memo, which is not classified but considered sensitive, outlines two primary recommendations: endorsing an immediate ceasefire and reconciling America’s private and public discourse concerning Israel. It suggests that the current U.S. approach diminishes its standing as an impartial mediator and may be detrimental to broader U.S. interests.
Authored by two midlevel officials experienced in Middle Eastern affairs, the memo candidly acknowledges Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas — explicitly recognized as a perpetrator in the death of some 1,400 Israelis following the October 7 attack.
However, it casts the resultant Palestinian civilian casualties as excessive and damaging to the integrity of the international rules-based order, arguing that the Israeli military’s actions were “unacceptable” thus far.
While the exact number of signatories remains unknown, the memo is indicative of a broader sentiment among State Department personnel, particularly among mid to junior-level ranks, and highlights the internal struggle to influence policy direction.
The Dissent Channel, a longstanding feature of the State Department, is intended to provide a safe conduit for such expressions of concern without retribution, Politico reported.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been briefed on the contentions, and while the administration has not publicly shifted its stance, there is an increased emphasis on civilian protection and adherence to international law in its messaging. However, direct public censure of Israeli actions remains largely absent.
Blinken has engaged in listening sessions with staff to address these internal dissatisfactions, emphasizing the value of diverse viewpoints in shaping effective foreign policy.