I Could Not Stay Silent: Annelle Sheline Resigns from State Dept. over U.S. Gaza Policy

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A State Department official working on human rights issues in the Middle East resigned Wednesday in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Annelle Sheline, who worked as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, was not planning on publicly resigning, but her colleagues asked her to “please speak out” against the Biden administration’s unconditional support for Israel. “At the end of the day, many people inside [the State Department] know that this is a horrific policy, and can’t believe that the United States government is engaged in such actions that contravene American values so directly, but the leadership is not listening,” says Sheline. “I’m trying to speak on behalf of those many, many people who feel so betrayed by our government’s stance.” Sheline describes being moved by the words of Aaron Bushnell, the active-duty U.S. airman who set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in protest of the war on Gaza, who implored everyone to take a stand against genocide. “I have a young daughter, and I thought about, in the future, if she were to ask me, ‘What were you doing when this was happening? You were at the State Department.’ I want to be able to tell her that I didn’t stay silent.”

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