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Amid Israel-Gaza tensions, Blinken holds 'listening' meetings with Muslim and Jewish staffers

The meetings follow the departure of a State Department official who quit in protest over the administration's support for Israel's deadly airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gathers his notes after speaking during a press conference in Tel Aviv, on October 17, 2023, after an overnight meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. US President Joe Biden will pay a solidarity visit to Israel on October 18, 2023 following the Hamas attacks, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced October 17, 2023. US President Joe Biden will travel from Israel to Amman on October 18, 2023 for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, Egyptian Pr

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken held “listening sessions” with Muslim, Arab-American and Jewish staffers amid growing internal frustration over the department’s handling of the war in Israel and Gaza. 

The meetings came after a State Department official resigned in protest this week over continued US support for an Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip that the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 4,000 people.  

On Friday afternoon, Blinken met with a small group of State Department staffers who are members of two Arab-American and Muslim employee organizations. The top US diplomat also had a meeting arranged with a group of Jewish employees at the department.  

A source familiar with one of the meetings called it “an opportunity [for Blinken] to hear directly from the workforce since his trip to the region.”

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