A columnist for New York Magazine blasted Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill for anonymously protesting their bosses’ stances on the Israel-Hamas War.
Jonathan Chait, a New York Magazine political columnist, criticized the staffers in a column Tuesday, calling out the paid employees who attended masked rallies with signs saying “Congress, your staff demands a cease-fire.” Rather than resign, the unhappy staffers have remained in their roles, even expressing concern that if they came out publicly it could hurt their careers.
Chait said the behavior of the staffers “reflects a misunderstanding of how elected representation is supposed to function.”
“If you work for an elected official, your role is to give your boss the best advice you can — which can include your personal opinion about how he or she should handle a difficult political issue,” Chait wrote. “If that elected official nonetheless holds positions you find so morally abhorrent you can’t tolerate them, traditionally your next move might be to quit and perhaps even denounce your former employer publicly.”
In the statement, the Hill staffers claimed “constituents are pleading for a cease-fire,” accusing their bosses on Capitol Hill of “not listening to the people they represent.”
“We demand our leaders speak up: Call for a cease-fire, a release of all hostages and an immediate de-escalation now,” the statement said.
Chait laid out two main points made by the Hill staffers: “First, they depict the conflict as a clear-cut moral test with one obvious solution: a cease-fire.”
“The morality of the issue is actually complex, not simple. Hamas is dedicated to ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population and has no intention of altering its goals or even accepting a cease-fire,” he wrote in response. “Israel’s counteroffensive is taking a horrific toll on innocent Palestinian life, but failing to respond to Hamas risks innocent Israeli life. Fighting against terrorist groups that use civilian death as a strategy is a hard problem without simple answers. Holding signs and flowers outside your boss’s office does not actually resolve the dilemma.”
Second, he explained that staffers insisted “that their position as staffers gives them a clearer sense of public opinion than their bosses possess.”
“Responsibility for assessing the morality and political efficacy of the U.S. posture toward Israel, or any other issue, lies with elected officials” he added. “Those officials are accountable to the public, not to their own staff. The beliefs of young, college-educated professionals on Israel, along with just about everything else, are well to the left of the median voter.”
Staffers “have no obligation to continue working for a member of Congress who they believe is either pro-genocide or too incompetent to accept their analysis of public opinion,” he added.
“That’s how the world works and how it’s supposed to work,” he concluded. “What’s upside-down is the assumption members of Congress should yield to their staffers’ issue preferences rather than vice versa.”
Four hundred government officials from 40 departments and agencies within President Biden’s administration have also signed a letter opposing the president’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, demanding a cease-fire.
The outspoken dissent by Democratic operatives to the response of elected officials represents a schism between progressive and leading party members in the Democratic Party as the Israel-Hamas War rages on. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected all calls for a cease-fire and spoke strongly in defense of Israel in public appearances and most recently an op-ed in the Atlantic.
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Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind and Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report.