It appears that Barack Obama’s former staffers and political appointees don’t believe the Democrat is doing enough to promote peace on the planet.
On Friday, 133 of them fired off a letter to the former president, imploring him to use his “leverage” with President Joe Biden and other elected officials to bring about an “immediate ceasefire” in Israel’s war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
“We feel deep sorrow and anger over the Israelis and Palestinians killed in the past weeks, and condemn vile acts against innocent civilians by Hamas and the Israeli government,” the Obama alumni wrote. “We continue to call for the safe return of Israeli civilian hostages and imprisoned Palestinian civilians, and an immediate end to the collective punishment of all Palestinians.”
“In this critical and defining moment, we remember Dr. King’s words you often echo: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,'” they continued. “You always called on us to be courageous in reaching our hands high to help bend the arc toward justice. Today, we call on you to stand with us, to do the same.”
The nine-page letter continued:
As we witness the scale and speed of a worsening siege in Gaza, we implore you to muster the moral and political courage you ingrained in us, and leverage your influence to encourage President Biden and elected officials toward de-escalation, an immediate ceasefire, and brokering the return of hostages using the international stage. We must demand our government’s largest ally—Israel—to end ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and the widespread massacre of Palestinians, half of whom are children. War crimes cannot be allowed to become an acceptable global response to war crimes.
Since Hamas’ deplorable attacks on October 7, killing about 1,400 Israelis, it is unintelligible how the U.S. and Israel can justify a response of collective punishment on Palestinians. A human catastrophe is unfolding. As of November 7, Israel has killed more than 10,300 Palestinians, at least 4,200 of them children. Thousands more—including 1,300 children—are still unaccounted for and believed to be buried under rubble. At least 1.5 million Gazans have been displaced, left with dwindling access to food, water, electricity, and fuel. Israel has targeted and destroyed at least 221 schools, more than 34 health care facilities, over 177,000 homes, many churches and mosques, at least six refugee camps, and critical infrastructure. Palestinians are caged in with nowhere to escape. Israeli officials have dehumanized Palestinians as “human animals,” “children of the dark,” and “the Amalek” to justify their actions.
“These escalating crimes against humanity as a means for security are shortsighted and a detrimental miscalculation,” the signees — all of whom kept their names private — warned. “They will elicit counter-responses.”
Though some of those who signed the letter fear “professional retaliation for their stance,” according to The Intercept, “they are hopeful Obama will be receptive; despite his checkered history in the Middle East, he has historically been more open than most other U.S. politicians to the Palestinian cause.”
“President Obama, we joined your campaign and administration because we believed in your vision of the world: one of inclusivity, respect, humanity, justice, and hope,” the letter reads. “We believe in the inherent value of every human life. We were inspired by the courage you exhibited in your demands to our allies as we worked toward a more just and equitable world.”
“It is these values that compel us to come together and implore you to call for an immediate end to this humanitarian catastrophe,” they stated.
The former deputy director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Khalilah Harris, told The Intercept that she signed onto the letter because “there cannot be silence in the pursuit of peace and justice.”
Valentina Pereda, the former deputy director of Hispanic media in the White House, explained to the outlet that “complacency and fear” has replaced the inspirational “spirit” Obama created when he was president.
“I joined and devoted my youth to the Obama/Biden admin because of the courage it inspired in me. The root of all of President Obama’s speeches was courage and justice,” she said. “It felt like the spirit of courage had been replaced by one of complacency and fear. I don’t want to live my life that way.”
Obama, meanwhile, recently urged his former staffers to maintain “what on the surface may seem contradictory ideas.”
“What Hamas did was horrific, and there was no justification for it,” he said last week at a staff reunion. “And what is also true is that the occupation, and what’s happening to Palestinians, is unbearable.”
“You have to admit that all of us are complicit to some degree,” he added.
It is clear that Obama’s former staffers still view him as their “moral compass.”
“We need your allyship, no longer as the politician but as a moral compass we look to, to advocate for a ceasefire and for humanity to prevail,” the letter stated. “We cannot be bystanders to a historic collapse of empathy.”
“The Obama alumni letter joins a rising tide of voices opposing the United States’s unconditional support for Israel,” The Intercept reports. “Over a dozen former Sen. John Fetterman campaign staffers, 411 current congressional staffers, 400-plus current Biden administration employees, 500-plus former Biden campaign alumni, and 260 former Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign staffers issued statements demanding support for a ceasefire (and more have since signed on).”
“We only live once on this earth,” Obama’s former staffers reminded him. “And what we do with that time and space is what we are accountable for.”
“It is our legacy and our duty to generations that follow. And while history does not move in a straight line, we have the choice on where we stand,” they stated. “No matter the risks, we choose to be on the right side of history—for justice and humanity. This is a key moment in history. Please, stand by us.”
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