U.S. government workers from almost two dozen departments intend to walk off the job on Tuesday to protest the Biden administration’s conduct of the Gaza conflict, according to a scoop by the Middle East-focused publication the Al-Monitor.
According to organizers of the dissent campaign who talked to Al-Monitor, hundreds of government workers will observe a “Day of Mourning” to commemorate the 100th day of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.
Feds United for Peace is organizing the mass government protest. After getting agreements from people at 22 federal departments, the organizers, who want to remain anonymous, say they anticipate “easily hundreds” of more to join their walkout.
These include the Executive Office of the President, the National Security Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, as well as US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Naval Research Laboratory, according to a list acquired by Al-Monitor.
Others likely to participate in the protest work include members of the Food and Drug Administration, the National Park Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The planned walkout underscores growing frustration among US officials over the Biden administration’s failure to call for an urgent cease-fire in Gaza.
According to one of the walkout organizers, the protest “grew out of a collective desire to do what we could to influence the Biden administration’s policy on this issue.”
“What you’re seeing with this effort is something very unusual, and that is for dissent to be manifested via a physical act,” they said.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) lashed out at the planned government walk-out.
Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired.
Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency… https://t.co/jcWa4bI3Db
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) January 14, 2024
“Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers,” he said. “They deserve to be fired. Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job.”
Internal differences within the government erupted into the open when the US started sending weapons and ammunition to Israel for use in its fight against Hamas, whose fighters murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 more on Oct. 7.
Several letters protesting the administration’s strategy have been sent via the State Department’s confidential “dissent channel,” which was created during the Vietnam War. President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign also sent an open letter warning that his Gaza policy might lose him votes.
Two US officials have openly resigned in protest, including one working in the State Department division that supervises weaponry deliveries. Josh Paul, the head of legislative and public relations for the Department of Defense’s Bureau of Political-Military relations, cited the administration’s “blind support for one side” as one of the reasons for his departure.
Instead of quitting, one of the walkout organizers said that they had “a moral obligation and a patriotic duty” to influence change from inside. They criticized the White House for bad policy choices including obstructing UN cease-fire resolutions and selling arms to Israel without going through Congress.