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Blinken Dodges on Firing Employees Who Walk out over Israel Support: ‘Their Decision’ If They Can’t Keep Working

via CNBC
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that while individuals have the right to express their objections to government policies, they also have a responsibility to do their jobs.

He emphasized the importance of people feeling comfortable to raise concerns and criticisms within the State Department, mentioning the existence of a dissent channel for this purpose.

Blinken acknowledged the need for employees to ultimately fulfill their job responsibilities, but also recognized their right to express dissent and make their own decisions if they cannot continue to work due to objections to administration policies.

“There is clearly a divide around the country and around the world about how the Israelis are going about this and about the U.S.’s support for it, including inside the White House itself, with members of government literally walking off the job. I want to read you something that Speaker Johnson tweeted out in the past 24 hours. He says, ‘Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired.’ What do you think of that?” CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin asked.

“Look, we’ve had, I can just speak for the State Department, we’ve had a number of people in the department, since October, raise questions, raise concerns, raise criticisms of policies, policies that Israel is pursuing, policies we’re pursuing,” Blinken said.

“And the kind of place that I want to have, the institution I want to have, is a place where people feel comfortable doing that. We have something called the dissent channel that allows anyone in the department to raise a concern. We’ve had a number of those. I read every single one.”

“But walking off the job, fireable?” Sorkin pressed.

“From my perspective, I want to make sure that people feel that they can say what they believe, express themselves –” Blinken said.

“But then do they ultimately have to get behind the position of the State Department?” Sorkin jumped in.

“They ultimately have to be on the job and do their jobs. But the main thing is this: People feel the need to speak up and speak out. That’s a cherished part of our democracy. It’s a cherished part of my view of patriotism,” Blinken said.

“But, people also need to be on the job and do the job. Look, we see this across many administrations. If there are policies that an administration is pursuing that individuals object to in a way that they can’t continue to work, well, that’s their decision, that’s their choice. They have to make that decision.”

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