Roughly a dozen protesters took to the White House on Monday to stage a “die-in” that seeks to not only apply pressure on the Biden administration to support a ceasefire in Gaza but embolden those staffers who feel suppressed, Anadolu Agency reports.
Organiser Hazami Barmada said Biden administration staffers “have a responsibility” to speak out, but many internal critics of President Joe Biden’s Gaza policies “are afraid” to do so for fear of retribution that could cost them their jobs.
“We’ve actually heard now from staff in the administration that us being out here has helped put pressure on them, which is, for us a sign of success,” she said during an interview with Anadolu.
“We don’t necessarily have an outcome that we’re trying to achieve in being out here other than making sure that people know that we are here, and we’re not going anywhere until this atrocity ends, but also absolutely putting on pressure to let people know that we see you, we see your inaction, we see your silence and hopefully we build more courage to speak out,” she added.
Biden and his senior officials have sought to moderate once unwavering rhetoric in support of Israel’s war that included questioning the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza, most recently saying Israel could be doing more to reduce the number of civilian deaths.
But the US President has, nonetheless, continued to provide Israel with a diplomatic shield at the UN, vetoing a Security Council resolution Friday that demanded a humanitarian ceasefire, while pledging to continue to arm the country with a $10 billion arms package that comes on top of the nearly $4 billion supplied to Israel annually.
The package, which has been bundled with funding for other policy priorities, remains stalled in Congress. Complicating its passage is Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders, who typically caucuses with Democrats, who has pledged opposition to any additional funding for Israel.
Democrats hold a narrow one-seat majority in the chamber, and it is unclear if Biden would agree to split up the overall package for individual bills to fund Israel, Ukraine and other agenda items in order to shuttle them through the federal legislature.