White House staffers use self-immolation of US airman to demand ceasefire in Gaza

The group did not call for the return of the 134 hostages including at least six Americans that remain captives of Hamas.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

Anti-Israel Biden administration staffers issued a statement on Monday mourning the death of Aaron Bushnell, the US Air Force member and anarchist socialist, who on Sunday lit himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy to protest the Israel-Hamas war. 

In the statement, the staffers wrote, “Self-immolation as an act of protest is widely recognized as the most extreme form of protest possible - to publicly end a person's own life in the most violent and severe way is a stark warning for our nation now to U.S. citizens have self-immolated over US-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza in less than three months.” 

They did not call for the return of the 134 hostages, including at least six Americans that remain captives of Hamas, and instead called “for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the ongoing starvation death and collective punishment of millions of Palestinians.” 

The group stated that “President Biden our commander-in-chief continues to ignore staff dissent over the mass suffering caused by our leaders’ complicity. President Biden has the unique power to mitigate the harms being done not through useless back-channel conversations but through established processes of international law and strong diplomacy. He can choose to change our current trajectory of unnecessary destruction. He can choose to condition our support to strong adherence to international humanitarian law and condemn the Israeli government’s violations which have reduced Gaza to rubble.” 

The group of staffers did not condemn Hamas, but condemned Biden for failing “Gaza by vetoing the ceasefire resolution for a third time.” They also criticized Biden for sanctioning Palestine during the conflict.  

The group then memorialized the socialist activists as a person who "was always trying to think about how we can actually achieve liberation for all with a smile on his face may sacrifice be a haunting reminder for those who refuse to change course.” 

Several staffers along with political appointees have been critical of Biden’s handling of the conflict and previously held a vigil in front of the White House to demand the president support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.” 

The three-dozen people wore sunglasses and masks to conceal their identities. 

Bushnell, 25, spent much of his time in San Antonio, Texas, "living his anarchist principles in action." 

On his Twitch streaming page, which displayed an anarchist symbol with a Palestinian flag, he posted a video of the self-immolation. His act in support of Palestinian autonomy was posted under the username LillyAnarKitty, a handle similar to other names such as Anarkitty that have similar symbols related to anarchist activism. 

An anarchist activism page reported that his username was consistent with a "universal signifier for anarchism." 

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