US education official Tariq Habash resigns over Biden’s Israel-Gaza policy

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A top U.S. Department of Education official resigned Wednesday, citing President Joe Biden’s management of the conflict in Gazathe latest sign of dissent in the administration as deaths continue to rise in the war.

Also on Wednesday, 17 staffers from Biden’s re-election campaign issued a warning in an anonymous letter that Biden could lose voters over the issue.

Tariq Habash, special assistant to the Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, said: “I cannot remain silent while this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives. in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government.”

Habash, a Palestinian-American and student debt expert, was appointed at the beginning of Biden’s presidency as part of a development of the Department of Education’s student loan expertise.

The 17 anonymous staff members of Biden’s re-election campaign, in their letter, published on Medium, urged Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Tariq Habash, special assistant in the Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development due to Biden’s handling of the conflict in Gaza. MSNBC
17 anonymous staff members of Biden’s re-election campaign also urged the president to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. AFP via Getty Images

“Biden for President’s staff has seen volunteers quit in droves, and people who have voted blue for decades feel unsafe about doing so for the first time because of this conflict,” the staffers wrote in the letter.

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Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said earlier Wednesday that the United States has not observed acts in Gaza that constitute genocide.

A column of smoke rises over the city of Khan Younis in Gaza following an Israeli airstrike on January 3, 2024.
A Palestinian helps another cross a field of rubble following an Israeli airstrike on buildings in the northern Gaza city of Rafah, October 17, 2023. AFP via Getty Images

His comments were in response to proceedings initiated by South Africa before the International Court of Justice over Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

Israel has also denied accusations of genocide in Gaza.

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