After facing immense pressure from members of his own party, President Joe Biden is now being warned by staff members on his reelection campaign that his handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas is causing volunteers to quit "in droves."
The warning came in the form of an anonymous letter published on Medium on Wednesday. In the letter, the group of Biden's campaign staffers demanded that the president call for a ceasefire in Gaza, citing concerns that not shifting his policy on the issue could hurt his chances of winning the 2024 election.
The letter begins by acknowledging that members of the campaign are "devastated" by Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7, which killed about 1,200 people and resulted in roughly 240 hostages, including Americans. However, they also express their concern about the subsequent response from Israel, which has seen the killing of nearly 22,000 Palestinians over the past several weeks, according to Gaza health officials cited by the Associated Press.
The letter cites a study by The New York Times, which found that a majority of Democratic voters (64 percent) believe that Israel should "stop its military campaign in order to protect against civilian casualties, even if Hamas has not been fully eliminated." The survey, which was conducted in mid-December, also found that 72 percent of voters under the age of 30 disapproved of Biden's handling of the conflict.
The campaign staffers that they have seen volunteers quitting "in droves" and "people who have voted blue for decades" feeling uncertain about doing so again because of the ongoing conflict. They also express their belief that simply being an alternative to former President Donald Trump is not enough to win the 2024 election and that a shift in policy is necessary to win back key voting blocs, such as young Democrats.
The letter ends with a call to action, urging the president to call for a ceasefire immediately. They remind Biden of his own words, that "silence in the face of human rights violations is complicity," and say that their decision to speak out is in line with this belief. They implore the president to take action and not let any more lives be lost due to political inaction.
The letter from the campaign staffers comes on the same day that Tariq Habash, a U.S. Department of Education policy adviser appointed by the Biden administration, resigned in protest of the president's handling of the conflict. Habash told the Associated Press that he had "done everything imaginable" to register his objection to administration leaders within the systems in place.
Habash is the second known Biden official to resign in protest. In October, Josh Paul, former director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, also resigned over the president's decision to accelerate arms transfers to Israel.
The backlash against Biden's policies regarding Israel is not limited to his own administration. Former staffers of ex-President Barack Obama, White House interns and staffers, and appointees of the Biden administration have also criticized the president's handling of the conflict.
According to the progressive group Working Families Party, 64 members of Congress—all Democrats—have called for a ceasefire or cessation of Israel's military actions in Gaza. Despite this pushback, a study conducted exclusively for Newsweek by Redfield and Wilton Strategies in mid-December found that support for the president's response to the Israel-Hamas conflict had increased among young voters by 5 percentage points compared to a similar study conducted in October.