January 15, 2024
Dear President Biden,
The undersigned members of civil society, spanning a range of states and nations, include professionals, scholars, artists, students, and activists from a range of fields and disciplines.
All of us are engaged, among our central concern, in the assessment of, or action relating to, the climate crisis – a matter that you have properly and repeatedly deemed to be among the greatest existential risks confronting humanity.
But, Mr. President, we write today regarding a different existential crisis. It is the one in Gaza that now threatens to envelop the region. Specifically, we urge you to leave behind the US blank-check support for the Netanyahu government’s bombardment, immiseration, and attempted forcible eviction of the surviving population in Gaza.
We do so despite our understanding of your initial revulsion concerning the Hamas attack of October 7, 2023, including its reported murder of many hundreds of civilians and its taking of hostages.
Nevertheless, that hideous set of assaults – whether they found support, or not, among some segments of Palestinian society – provides no basis in law or fundamental justice for Israel’s subsequent relentless attack and suffocation of the Gazan civilian population. Put another way, “the unconscionable and depraved” action of Hamas “does not and cannot justify [the] unleashing of a humanitarian nightmare on millions of civilians.”
And neither, in our view, can it justify America’s complicity in that imposition, including your provision to the IDF of virtually unfettered access to US-made munitions.
Consider the basic requirements for water, food, medicine, refuge and housing, and for the prospect of a stable peace. It is well past time to press for a ceasefire and direct resources to assist the dislocated and impacted population.
International cooperation, consideration of the fundamental interests of humanity, and respect for the rule of law must undergird any reasonable resolution of this and other conflicts, including that in Ukraine, as well as the environmental and climate crises. Our first object here is to urge you to bring to a halt the indiscriminate bombing that you understand is calculated to kill numerous additional innocent persons, but we also urge you to bring your considerable influence to bear to end other inhumane tactics that now vastly amplify the suffering.
With the greatest respect, we urge you to forge a different path, even where or, perhaps, especially when some of your present advisers cannot see their way to it.
General Counsel & Executive Director
Climate Protection & Restoration Initiative