HomePoliticsFirst Muslim American Biden appointee resigns over US Gaza policy

First Muslim American Biden appointee resigns over US Gaza policy

A Biden political appointee, working as a special assistant in the Department of the Interior, has resigned her post over the Biden administrations support of Israel, amidst the ongoing violence in Gaza brought about by Israel’s invasion.

Maryam Hassanein, the youngest and first Muslim American appointee of President Joe Biden, criticized the administration for ignoring “the voices of its diverse staff by continuing to fund and enable Israel’s genocide for Palestinians,” in a statement posted on Twitter. Hassanein credited the ongoing on-campus student protests, namely the one at George Washington University, for cementing her decision.

“When my family and I, alongside other Muslims and Arab Americans, turned up to vote for President Biden in 2020, it was because the Biden campaign promised justice. That promise and faith in the administration has been shattered,” she continued. “Through their policy choices and dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims, it has become clear to me that I do not have a place in the administration.”

In an interview with HuffPost, Hassanein said her decision to quit was a way of leveraging privilege to “make a statement against Biden’s support for Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip”.

“I came to understand that even if the agency I’m working at is not producing foreign policy, serving in the administration in any capacity does essentially make you complicit in the genocide of the Palestinians,” she told HuffPost.

“We welcome this principled resignation by another Biden administration official who took up their post believing they could help the nation, but instead realized they were becoming complicit in the administration’s enabling of the far-right Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza”, said Nihad Awad, the Executive National Director of the Center of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a statement released on Tuesday. “President Biden, whose administration has lost all credibility on the issue of human rights, must reverse course and end our nation’s complicity in genocide, forced starvation, and ethnic cleansing. He must demand an immediate and permanent cease-fire, an end to the occupation, and justice for the Palestinian people.”.

Hassanein is the third known Biden political appointee to resign over Gaza after Lily Greenberg Call, a Jewish American who previously served in the Interior Department, and Tariq Habash, a Palestinian American who served in the Department of Education.

Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip has killed nearly 38,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Palestinian and international sources. A further 87,000 remain wounded, while 11,000 are either missing or presumed dead, as reported by Common Dreams.

The Biden Administration has been a staunch supporter of Israel and has sent billions in military assistance and diplomatic support to Israel, even amidst criticisms from the United Nations, human rights organizations and experts, and numerous other nations lead by South Africa, who have accused Israel of genocide. Biden has defended his support of Israel as standing with a democratic ally in the aftermath of Hamas’s brutal attacks on Oct. 7.

As reported by The Hill, critics of Biden’s policy regarding Israel and Gaza have called on him to stop the supply of U.S. weapons to Israel, as a leverage for Israel to cease its ongoing military operations.

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