Jewish American Biden Appointee Is Latest To Resign In Protest Of Gaza Policy

A high-level Biden appointee announced her resignation from the Interior Department on Wednesday in protest of the administration’s Gaza policy — joining the growing listof government officialsspeaking out against the continued U.S. support for Israel’s military offensive that over the past seven months has devastated the Palestinian enclave.

In her resignation letter, Lily Greenberg Call, the special assistant to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s chief of staff, Rachael Taylor, called President Joe Biden out by name and criticized his administration’s lack of condemnation.

“I joined the Biden Administration because I believe in fighting for a better America, for a future where Americans can thrive: one with economic prosperity, a healthy planet and equal rights for all people. I have dedicated my career to candidates who I believed would further this vision,” Call wrote in her resignation letter to Haaland. 

“However, I can no longer, in good conscience, continue to represent this administration amidst President Biden’s disastrous, continued support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza.”

Call has served as a special assistant to Taylor since February 2023. She was appointed to her position after working as a field organizer for Vice President Kamala Harris’ primary campaign in 2019 and then for Biden’s campaign in 2020.

Biden delivers remarks during an event to promote American investments and jobs in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 14, 2024. Call, a high-level Biden appointee, resigned from the Interior Department on Wednesday in protest of the Biden administration’s Gaza policy.

The Biden administration has been facing both external and internal pushback over its nearly unconditional support for Israel’s current military campaign, which began after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and took roughly 250 hostages, about 100 of whom are believed to still be alive in captivity.

Call appears to be the first Jewish American appointee of the Biden administration to resign in protest of U.S. policy on Gaza, stressing that she was raised in Jewish communities in the U.S., Israel and occupied Palestine.

“People in my community lost loved ones during Hamas’ attack on October 7th, beloveds killed, displaced and taken as hostages. I am terrified by rising antisemitism around the world,” Call wrote. “And yet I am certain that the answer to this is not to collectively punish millions of innocent Palestinians through displacement, famine and ethnic cleansing.”

“What I have learned from Jewish tradition is that every life is precious,” she continued. “That we are obligated to stand up for those facing violence and oppression, and to question authority in the face of injustice.”

Israeli Defense Forces' armored units launch an attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza as troops continue their aerial and ground attacks on May 15, 2024.
Israeli Defense Forces' armored units launch an attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza as troops continue their aerial and ground attacks on May 15, 2024. Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images

Since Oct. 7, Israeli forces have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza — including about 15,000 children — wounded nearly double that number, displaced most of the population, destroyed important infrastructure like hospitals, universities and mosques, targeted aid workers,journalists and doctors, and caused the spread of starvation, thirst and disease by continuing to block access to life-saving aid.

Throughout this offensive, the U.S. has provided nearly unconditional diplomatic and military support to Israel, publicly voicing concern over Palestinian safety while continuing to approve weapons sales and block accountability from international bodies.

“The United States has used nearly no leverage throughout the last eight months to hold Israel accountable; quite the opposite, we have enabled and legitimized Israel’s actions with vetoes of UN resolutions designed to hold Israel accountable,” Call wrote. “President Biden has the blood of innocent people on his hands.”

Call told HuffPost that her resignation submission is in progress, so Haaland has not yet responded to her decision.

President Biden has the blood of innocent people on his hands.Lily Greenberg Call, special assistant to the Interior Department's chief of staff, in a resignation letter on May 15, 2024

Call’s resignation falls on the anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe the destruction of their land and displacement of hundreds of thousands of their people to create the country of Israel in 1948. Palestinians and their allies say that the Nakba never ended, pointing to the decades of oppression they continue to face from Israel.

The departure comes just days after a U.S. Army officer made public his resignation from the military and the Defense Intelligence Agency over the government’s continued support for Israel’s bombardment. Maj. Harrison Mann, a Jewish American whose position was not appointed by the Biden administration, reflected on his own role in the U.S. military’s support for Israel’s destruction of Gaza and how he had delayed submitting his resignation out of hope that the administration’s position would change.

Last week, the Biden administration faced severe criticism for its highly anticipated report to Congress, saying it’s “reasonable” to assess that Israel is violating international law by killing civilians and blocking aid into Gaza, but that Israel can continue receiving U.S. military support. On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that the Biden administration plans to send more than $1 billion in additional arms and ammunition to Israel, at a time when soldiers are increasing attacks on Palestinians across the strip while continuing to block humanitarian assistance.

“The United States has long enabled Israeli war crimes and the status quo of apartheid and occupation. That status quo does not keep Israelis safe, nor Jews around the world. It certainly does not protect Palestinians, who have the right to freedom, safety, self-determination and dignity, just as much as Jewish people do, and every person does,” Call wrote. “Any system that requires the subjugation of one group over another is not only unjust, but unsafe.”

“Jewish safety cannot — and will not — come at the expense of Palestinian freedom. Making Jews the face of the American war machine makes us less safe,” she continued. “What seems like a lack of awareness in the Administration leadership of how critical this issue is to the American public is devastating to both communities, and politically disastrous.”