Tuesday’s March for Israel on the National Mall displayed something good about America—something the media have been trying too hard to hide. And that is the fact that Americans of all stripes and of both major parties know right from wrong. The rally was to support America’s great ally, Israel, and the over 200 hostages of various backgrounds still in Hamas’s grip. Nearly 300,000 people showed up and both parties sent their top-ranking members of Congress.
The relentless media campaign against Israel is making some headway, however. A Reuters/Ipsos poll today shows a plurality of respondents favor the U.S. being a “neutral mediator” in the conflict, whereas a month ago an even larger plurality said the U.S. should take Israel’s side. The Palestinian side, which in this case means Hamas, only gets 4 percent to Israel’s 32 percent, but both of those numbers are the result of a shift against Israel.
The media campaign against Israel has two related aims: to weaken support for Israel’s mission in Gaza and to exaggerate the drop in support for Israel. The former is straightforward. The latter got another boost this week from opponents of Biden’s support for Israel.
“More than 500 political appointees and staff members representing some 40 government agencies sent a letter to President Biden on Tuesday protesting his support of Israel in its war in Gaza,” reports the New York Times.
Well, sort of. It’s entirely possible that 500 appointees—a tiny, tiny minority in the federal workforce but a noisy one—sent a letter to Joe Biden. But “[t]he signatories of the letter submitted on Tuesday and [a similar] one circulating among USAID employees are anonymous.”
There are, of course, other means at their disposal. If they work for the State Department, they can do what plenty of their colleagues have already done under this president and his predecessors and use the Dissent Channel. The channel isn’t anonymous but it is private—in the past, dissenters have tried to FOIA their own cables to no avail—and the dissenters are protected from retribution. Plus, Foggy Bottom leadership is required to respond. It’s a good system with the power to force debate within the agency while protecting the careers of dissenters. In democracies, we are familiar with this process. Self-government asks us to discuss and debate and persuade our way forward as a polity.
That is not what the anonymous signers want. Nor do they want to take another path that others have taken. I wrote recently about Adam Ramer, who quit his job as political director for Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna when the latter refused to join a push to tie Israel’s hands in its mission to get the hostages back. “I cannot in good conscience continue in this role,” Ramer wrote to his boss upon deciding to join the activists and pressure Congress from the outside. “You are a man of conviction,” Khanna responded. “I respect that.”
Ramer and Khanna behaved as adults.
Which brings us back to the anonymous petitioners, who chose a different path. They want to have their jobs, they just don’t want to do them. So they’d prefer it if their boss would let them undermine him without losing dental coverage.
There is one purpose to signing an anonymous letter such as the ones that have become popular among those in positions of low rank but high self-importance: to make the news. And the point of that is to convey the idea that those participating in the March for Israel, proudly unmasked and unafraid and in possession of a moral compass that doesn’t excuse kidnapping and brutal murder, don’t actually represent America. Let’s hope they’re wrong.