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FRIENDLY FIRE

Schiff, Goldman critique Biden over omission of Hamas from White House sexual violence fact sheet

The Democratic lawmakers wrote: ‘The Administration and Congress must never lose sight of Hamas’ sexual violence against Israel or give Hamas special dispensation in seeking accountability for its actions'

Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) (Pool Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Dan Goldman (D-NY) wrote to President Joe Biden on Wednesday to express their “deepest concern” about the administration’s omission of Hamas’ attacks on Israelis from a recently released fact sheet on sexual violence.

The fact sheet was released in connection with an event Vice President Kamala Harris hosted on sexual violence, which focused heavily on the Hamas attack on Israel. But the fact sheet, which outlined actions the administration has taken to respond to patterns of sexual violence elsewhere in the world, made no mention of Hamas or its attack on Israel.

“Clearly missing from this list of victims are the women who experienced sexual violence on October 7, 2023, as a result of the brutal attack by Hamas against Israel,” the two Jewish Democrats wrote, highlighting the evidence of brutal sexual violence on Oct. 7 and against hostages in Gaza.

“Given the evidence of these horrific incidents, the brutal and vicious sexual violence committed by Hamas must not be omitted from the White House’s Fact Sheet,” the letter continues. “The Administration and Congress must never lose sight of Hamas’ sexual violence against Israel or give Hamas special dispensation in seeking accountability for its actions.”

The lawmakers requested that the administration immediately update the fact sheet to reflect Hamas’ actions as well as impose sanctions on members of Hamas connected to this sexual violence, as the administration has done for perpetrators elsewhere in the world.

The letter also praised Harris for addressing the Hamas atrocities in her remarks at the event, offering specific details about the crimes committed and meeting with a former hostage who survived sexual assault while she was held in Gaza.

Shelley Greenspan, the White House’s Jewish liaison, had previously said criticism of the fact sheet was “misleading,” describing it as “a summary of the work we’ve done on conflict-related sexual violence around the world over the past 3 years, including the first ever Presidential Memorandum and dedicated sanctions on CRSV.”

She said both Biden and Harris have spoken out on sexual violence by Hamas, and highlighted Harris’ speech and meeting with a former hostage.

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