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Opposition to Gaza Policy at ‘Boiling Point’ within U.S. Government; Walkout Planned

Jan. 16—“Easily hundreds” of U.S. federal employees from 22 federal agencies may walk off their jobs today, to protest the administration’s support for the destruction of Gaza and its people. Organizers of the action, remaining anonymous for the moment but calling themselves 

“Feds United for Peace,” told Al-Monitor that they have commitments to participate from individuals in at least 22 agencies, among them the Executive Office of the President, the National Security Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Naval Research Laboratory, Food and Drug Administration, and others.

House Speaker Mike Johnson R-La) considered the report credible enough 

to post a threat on his X account Sunday night, Jan. 14, demanding that anyone who walks out be fired: “Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired. Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job,” he threatened.

Al-Monitor reported that the organizers of the protest say that “rather than quit, they felt ‘a moral obligation and a patriotic duty’ to influence change from inside. They blamed the White House for policy decisions they lament, including the obstruction of ceasefire resolutions at the United Nations and weapons sales to Israel that have bypassed Congress.”

Mass resignations may erupt soon, however, if the policy does not change. Over the weekend, 

Middle East Eye reported that opposition among many members of the White House staff as well as staffers in Congress has reached “the boiling point.” And not just in the progressive camp, either. MEE reported that this assessment was based on discussions with congressional staffers from several offices across both chambers, as well as several staffers working in the Biden administration.

One White House staffer told MEE that “mass resignations would be powerful, but I don’t know if we are there yet.” The staffer explained that a lot of people were staying so that at least someone would be advocating for a different policy, but said that reason is “fading,” and staying “also makes us feel even more complicit.” Another White House staffer spoke of staffers being “kind of appalled and very uncomfortable working for this president. It’s very difficult to continue to work here.”

MEE reports that it is just as bad on Capitol Hill, where 140 Congressional staffers wrote a letter in mid-December calculating that across the 71 offices they work in, they had received more than 700,000 calls urging their elected officials to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, The actual number of calls for a ceasefire is more likely in the millions, several staffers told MEE. “I don’t think a lot of these members understand exactly how unpopular and untenable their positions are.”

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