A senior adviser with the U.S. Department of Education has become the second federal official to resign over the Biden administration’s position that Israel has a right to defend itself against the attacks of Hamas.
“I bring a critical and underrepresented perspective to the ongoing work on equity and justice,” Habash wrote, purporting to be the only Palestinian-American political appointee in the department.
With claims of “ethnic cleansing” and a “genocidal campaign by the Israeli government,” Habash writes that he “cannot be quietly complicit as this administration fails to leverage its influence as Israel’s strongest ally to halt the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics…”.
Following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians and resultant hostage situation, Biden has supported Israel with his words, while also endorsing a two-state solution, stating, “Hamas unleashed this terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.”
“As I said after the attack, the safety of the Jewish people, the literal security of Israel as an independent Jewish state is literally at stake. But it is unshakeable, our commitment to Israel. We continue to provide military assistance to Israel as it goes after Hamas,” the President also stated, breaking with the many members of his own party
Habash also called upon the Department to “play an active role” as the conflict between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine students and faculty plays out on college campuses.
“This includes protecting all students who choose to exercise their first amendment right to engage in nonviolent actions, including expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza who have suffered tremendously in recent weeks and for years before the current ongoing violence,” Habash claimed.
Notably, a House of Representatives investigation into reports of antisemitism on college campuses has revealed the treatment that Jewish and pro-Israel students have received at the hands of pro-Palestine demonstrators. Some students have been blocked from attending classes, while others at the University of Pennsylvania are suing the school for failing to address the concerns of students reporting antisemitism.
Backlash against the presidents of major universities, who claimed in a House hearing that calls for genocide against Jewish people do not constitute harassment under university policies and failed to defend their record on protecting Jewish students, have led to the resignations of UPenn president Liz Magill and Harvard president Claudine Gay, who was also embroiled in a plagiarism scandal.