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Annelle Sheline in Resigning, ‘I Speak for Many People’ in the State Department

March 31—In an interview March 29 with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Annelle Sheline, who resigned from the State Department, described the process by which she decided to make her resignation public, to express her disagreement with the Biden administration’s policies on Israel and Gaza. She had tried to operate through the internal dissent channel and discussion forums at State, but ultimately decided there was little she could do to change a policy that allowed for using “starvation as a weapon of war.” Although she had planned to resign quietly, colleagues with whom Sheline discussed it urged her to “speak for us, be our voice,” which Sheline did in her March 28 op-ed for CNN. She reported she knows of many at State who are considering resigning because what the U.S. government is doing is in “contravention to the mission that they are trying to uphold at the State Department.”

Sheline agreed there had been something of a shift in Biden’s public posture regarding Israel, but ultimately, “it made no difference to the lives of people being bombed in Gaza.” Biden has made a political calculus of maintaining “extreme support for Israel”—but Israel is in violation of U.S. law. “The law is clear,” she said, and when the U.S. flouts that, it affects its moral standing abroad. The Biden administration’s insistence that Israel is engaged in “self-defense,” is not defensible, Sheline said. Using starvation as a weapon, bombing buildings, residences, hospitals—this is conduct outside the bounds of self-defense. These are war crimes and genocide.

In another universe, Annelle Sheline’s thoughtful views would be valued and discussed by the leadership of the institution for which she worked. She made every attempt to make her views known and appreciated the “environment of openness” at State. But in the end, “there was no way to change policy. It’s decided at the very top. Biden would have to act,” reexamine and assess how history will view him, she emphasized. “People are shocked and appalled at what State is doing.”

Sheline apparently has no access to what is described as a bitter debate inside the upper levels of the Biden administration, in which her former boss Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have repeatedly sought to counteract efforts by Sleepy Joe Biden to move the U.S. away from support for Israeli genocide in Gaza, andf to give support to forces in Israel who might oust the butcher of Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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