News & Commentary

Jewish Biden staffer resigns over Gaza on Nakba Day. Read her full letter.

"President Biden has the blood of innocent people on his hands"

Two days after the high-profile resignation of US Army Major Harrison Mann on Monday, Lily Greenburg Call—a Jewish Biden political appointee—has publicly resigned from her position at the Department of Interior.

“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,” wrote the (now-former) special assistant to the chief of staff.

While her resignation is getting significant coverage (including in theMSM“), few if any outlets are actually publishing Call’s entire letter, which is not only well-written, but also carefully sourced and footnoted.

Because of this, and because it speaks so well for itself, here it is in full. It’s addressed to US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and dated May 15, 2024:

Dear Secretary Haaland,

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. I worked for Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019, and then moved to Arizona to work for President Biden’s campaign in 2020. I was thrilled to join the Department of Interior because I was inspired by your principled track record of championing progressive causes, in addition to your role as an Indigenous woman leading a Department that historically harmed Indigenous communities, and the potential that it has for reparations, reconciliation, and healing.

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.i

I am an American Jew. My family escaped antisemitic persecution in Europe and found refuge in America. They changed their names at Ellis Island and worked as farmers, peddlers, and salespeople. My grandparents could not go to college. Two generations later, I have the honor of working as an appointee for the President of the United States. The weight of this position is not lost on me. This is the story of many people in my community: a story of survival, upward mobility, and fulfillment of the American Dream. And yet, I have asked myself many times over the last eight months: what is the point of having power if you will not use it to stop crimes against humanity?

My whole life has been spent in Jewish community in the US and Israel. I have spent time in Israel/Palestine, and I learned Hebrew and Arabic both formally in school and through connection in community. I have family and friends who are Israeli, Palestinian – and have loved ones who have served in the IDF. People in my community lost loved ones during Hamas’s attack on October 7thii; beloveds killed, displaced, and taken as hostages. I am terrified by rising antisemitism around the world.iii And yet I am certain that the answer to this is not to collectively punish millions of innocent Palestinians through displacement,iv faminev, and ethnic

Israel’s ongoing offensive against Palestinians does not keep Jewish people safe – in Israel nor in the United States. What I have learned from my Jewish tradition is that every life is precious. That we are obligated to stand up for those facing violence and oppression, and to question authority in the face of injustice.

As of writing this, Israel has killed over 35,000 people in Gaza, including 15,000 children.vii The Israeli military has bombed medical infrastructure,viii besieged a hospital,ix left mass graves behind,x destroyed every university in Gaza,xi targeted journalistsxii and aid workers,xiii and committed many, many inexcusable atrocities. These are all violations of international law,xiv none of which would be possible without American weapons,xv and none of which have been condemned by President Biden.

The President has the power to call for a lasting ceasefire, to stop sending weapons to Israel, and to condition aid. 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.xvi President Biden has the blood of innocent people on his hands.

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. 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. 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.xvii

Today, May 15th, is Nakba Day,xviii which recognizes the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948 and the displacement of the majority of the Palestinian people for the formation of today’s modern Israel. Nakba and Shoah, the Hebrew word for Holocaust, mean the same thing: catastrophe. I reject the premise that one people’s salvation must come at another’s destruction. I am committed to creating a world where this does not happen — and this cannot be done from within the Biden Administration.

My choice to leave is not a reflection of this office or the Department. I have felt supported by many individuals here, but I do not feel supported by the policies and actions of this Administration. I have the utmost respect for my colleagues at the Department who have given so much of themselves to doing the good work of preserving our public lands and strengthening Indian Country, and the many public servants across the federal government. I urge you all to take a stand for Palestinian lives. All of our futures depend on this.


Lily Greenberg Call

i “Summary of the Order of 26 January 2024.” International Court of Justice, January 26, 2024.
ii Federman, Josef, and Issam Adwan. “Hamas Surprise Attack out of Gaza Stuns Israel and Leaves Hundreds Dead in Fighting, Retaliation.” AP News, October 8, 2023.
iii “Czachor, Emily Mae. “U.S. Sees ‘Unprecedented,’ * Staggering’ Rise in Antisemitic and Anti-Muslim Incidents since Start of Israel-Hamas War, Groups Say.” CBS News, December 11, 2023.
iv Hardman. Nadia. “Most of Gaza’s Population Remains Displaced and in Harm’s Way.” Human Rights Watch, December 20, 2023.
v [Note: This one appears to be missing from Lily’s screenshot. We reached out to her about it, and will post it here if we hear back -Decensored News]
vi UN Expert Warns of New Instance of Mass Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians, Calls for Immediate Ceasefire. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, October 14, 2023.
vii Reuters. Gaza death toll: How many Palestinians has Israel’s campaign killed, May 14, 2024.
viii Nereim, Vivian, and Abu Bakr Bashir. “Israel’s Military Campaign Has Left Gaza’s Medical System near Collapse.” The New York Times, April 26, 2024.
ix Batrawy, Aya. “Survivors Recount Horrors of Israeli Siege on Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital.” NPR, April 2, 2024.
x “Mass Graves in Gaza Show Victims” Hands Were Tied, Says Un Rights Office.” United Nations, April 23, 2024.
xi Stack, Liam, and Bilal Shbair. “With Schools in Ruins, Education in Gaza Will Be Hobbled for Years.” The New York Times, May 6, 2024.
xii Al-Kassab, Fatima. “Gaza War Is Deadliest Conflict for Jouralists in Over 30 Years, Press Advocates Say.” NPR, December 3, 2023.
xiii WCK Team Members Killed in Gaza.” World Central Kitchen, April 2, 2024.
xiv Schifrin, Nick. “Israel Likely Violated International Humanitarian Law in Gaza War, U.S. Report Says.” PBS, May 10, 2024.
xv Hudson, John. “Biden Administration Approves More Weapons for Israel – The Washington Post.” Washington Post, March 29, 2024.
xvi Lederer, Edith M. “The US Vetoes an Arab-Backed UN Resolution Demanding an Immediate Humanitarian
Cease-Fire in Gaza.” P News, February 21, 2024.
xvii Cohn, Nate. “Trump Leads in S Key States, as Young and Nonwhite Voters Express Discontent with Biden.” The New York Times, May 13, 2024.
xviii Krauss. Joseph. “Palestinians Mark 76 Years of Dispossession as a Potentially Even Larger Catastrophe Unfolds in Gaza.” AP News, May 14, 2024.

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