State Dept. Official Resigns, Says White House Inciting Attacks on US Troops

by | Apr 30, 2024

State Dept. Official Resigns, Says White House Inciting Attacks on US Troops

by | Apr 30, 2024

hala rharrit

The State Department’s former Arabic language spokeswoman says she resigned from her post after official talking points became too provocative. Hala Rharrit said White House policy was potentially provoking attacks on US troops, and explained she refused to do Arabic interviews starting in October because she did not want to “be the reason why someone hates America more.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Rharrit said the talking points produced by the Biden administration “were provocative” and “oftentimes completely ignored Palestinians. Early on, it was very, very heavy on ‘Israel has a right to defend itself.’ Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself, but there was no mention of the plight of the Palestinians,” she stated. “I, in good conscience, could not go on Arab television with those talking points. All that that would have done is have caused someone to want to throw their shoe at the TV, want to burn an American flag or, worse, throw a rocket at our troops.”

Rharrit elaborated further In an interview with NPR that she dissented from the policy because it hurt America, not her personal interests. “From the get-go, I refused to do, as a spokesperson in the region, I refused to do interviews on Gaza,” she continued. “Not because I personally disagreed with the policy, but because I documented how this policy was undermining US interests in the Arab world.”

Since October 7, there have been hundreds of attacks on US troops deployed to the Middle East. One attack resulted in the deaths of three US soldiers in Jordan near the border with Syria. 

“How we were being called out for a double standard and how people across the region saw through our talking points and no longer believed us for lack of credibility. I was documenting how I was causing a backlash,” the former official explained. 

She added that the American government’s hypocrisy had become too blatant to ignore. “The double standards that we were having, we could no longer talk about human rights when we were in allowing and enabling the mass killing of civilians.” Rharrit continued, “We could no longer talk about press freedom when we remain silent on the killing of over 100 journalists in Gaza. Everything that we had stood for was no longer relevant.”

She is the third State Department employee to resign over President Biden’s unconditional support for Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed at least 34,000. Other State Department officials have sent several dissent memos to Secretary of State Antony Blinken voicing their opposition to Washington’s support for Tel Aviv. 

Rharrit told the Post that more employees would speak out but “people feared retribution” for this dissent. The 18-year veteran at the State Department said an atmosphere of distrust has emerged and stifled communications, claiming she faced additional scrutiny as an Arab American. 

Rharrit explained there was unprecedented “fear and discomfort” among diplomats. “People are scared to talk to each other. People don’t know how other people feel. So they try to assess, you know, how are you feeling? People are scared to mention Gaza at work. They just want to pretend it’s not happening,” she said.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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