White House Staffers Told Biden to Drop Line About 'Hamas Beheading Babies.' He Ignored Them.

Chris Menahan
Nov. 28, 2023

White House staffers reportedly told Joe Biden to remove a line from his Oct 10 speech about Hamas "beheading" babies because the claims were "unverified" but he ignored them and told the American people he saw "confirmed pictures" of the fake atrocities instead.

From The Washington Post, "White House grapples with internal divisions on Israel-Gaza":
As Biden prepared a major Oct. 10 address, one that many Jewish groups would praise as one of the most pro-Israel speeches by a sitting American president, Vice President Harris suggested that he add a line denouncing Islamophobia, according to two White House officials familiar with the planning.

Harris cited the way Islamophobia had dogged the Muslim and Arab communities for years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Biden took the suggestion. But he rejected others, for instance dismissing the recommendation of some staffers that he cut a line about Hamas beheading babies because those reports were unverified.
Biden said specifically he saw and possessed "confirmed pictures" of Hamas "terrorists beheading children."

"The president based his comments about the alleged atrocities on the claims from Netanyahu's spokesman and media reports from Israel, according to the White House," The Washington Post reported a day after Biden put out the false claims.

Biden repeated the atrocity propaganda hoax just two weeks ago in another fanciful statement:

The Post is also now reporting Biden apologized privately for claiming the Gaza Health Ministry was lying about how many civilians Israel had killed:
Biden at times has seemed to wrestle with his own emotions regarding the war. On Oct. 25, he voiced skepticism about the Gaza death toll provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas. "I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed," he said.

The following day, Biden met with five prominent Muslim Americans, who protested what they saw as his insensitivity to the civilians who were dying. All spoke of people they knew who had been affected by the suffering in Gaza, including a woman who had lost 100 members of her family.

Biden appeared to be affected by their account. "I'm sorry. I'm disappointed in myself," he told the group, according to two people familiar with the meeting. "I will do better." The meeting, scheduled for 30 minutes, ended up lasting more than an hour, according to one White House official, and ended with Biden hugging one of the participants.
Biden's support for Israel is splitting the Democratic Party and may be killing his own re-election chances:
Many in the White House have been aware since the outset of the political peril that the conflict poses for Biden. Since Hamas launched its attack on Oct. 7, administration officials have held regular discussions with staffers, political appointees and outside groups to reassure them and to gauge their reaction.

On Oct. 7, many in the White House responded viscerally to the brutal nature of the atrocities. Zients emailed staffers expressing empathy with Jewish staffers and those with personal ties to Israel. Many Jewish staffers appreciated the note, but some Arab and Muslim officials felt it was tone-deaf to their concerns, given that Israeli officials were vowing to carry out a scorched-earth campaign in Gaza.

Muslim appointees in the administration began raising "alarm bells" about the email from Zients and what they believed was one-sided rhetoric by the administration, a senior administration official familiar with the efforts said. Shortly after Oct. 7, Zients directed staff to conduct a "robust" internal and external outreach strategy to Jewish, Muslim, Arab and Palestinian American communities. And Dunn, Biden's top political strategist, has led a daily meeting with about 30 White House staffers responsible for outreach to various communities, according to two senior administration officials.

Both Zients and Dunn have conducted regular meetings and listening sessions with staffers, including those who disagree with the president's response. After a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was fatally stabbed last month, Zients wrote in an Oct. 17 email: "I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult it has been for our Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim American colleagues -- in addition to our Jewish colleagues."

Two Jewish administration officials said there was widespread support internally for Biden's response and his efforts to address antisemitism. "Antisemitic language and tactics by the far left are making Jewish staffers nervous to speak out and say they are happy with how the response is going," one of the officials said.

But White House officials have also heard from myriad progressive groups and religious leaders, including some Jewish activists and Black church leaders, who have voiced their concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and urged the administration to call for a cease-fire.

One meeting between White House aides and about a dozen Palestinian Americans turned contentious when participants warned that Biden would lose Arab and Muslim voters over his handling of the war. An aide explained that Biden was not thinking about the issue in political terms and instead was trying to prevent World War III, according to one person familiar with the meeting.

One of the Palestinian Americans in the meeting said the participants left with more resolve to organize their communities not to vote for Biden in the 2024 election. The person said Arabs and Muslims would also not vote for former president Donald Trump, who has called for banning travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries, but could sit out the race.
Trump sabotaged much of his own presidency by doing Israel's bidding and now Biden is doing just the same.

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