White House adds 10/7 reference to sexual violence fact sheet after criticism from Jewish Dems

The tweak comes more than a week after Vice President Kamala Harris hosted an event highlighting Hamas’ sexual violence

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Vice President Kamala Harris gives remarks on conflict-related sexual violence at an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 17, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Under pressure from Jewish lawmakers, the White House on Thursday updated a fact sheet about the Biden administration’s work countering conflict-related sexual violence to include detailed references to Hamas and Oct. 7 after the initial document failed to mention the Palestinian terror group, a source familiar with the White House’s process told Jewish Insider

“The fact sheet was updated today in order to make clear that the president and vice president have repeatedly condemned — and will continue condemning — Hamas’ heinous use of sexual violence on Oct. 7,” said the source.

Now, a reference to Oct. 7 appears in the first paragraph of the document and is referenced at length throughout. “Preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is a top priority for President [Joe] Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris. Since October 7, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and our entire Administration have consistently condemned Hamas’ horrific sexual violence,” the fact sheet begins. 

On Wednesday, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Dan Goldman (D-NY) wrote to Biden to express their “deepest concern” that Hamas was omitted from the fact sheet. “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,” Goldman and Schiff wrote.

On Thursday, the two lawmakers hailed the change. “We applaud the swift action by the President,” they said in a statement. “We’re grateful that the Biden Administration is taking such a strong and unequivocal stance to address the egregious sexual violence committed by Hamas on October 7th.” 

The document was released last week, hours before Harris hosted an event on conflict-related sexual violence in which she spoke about Hamas’ atrocities, met with a former hostage who survived sexual assault in Gaza and screened Sheryl Sandberg’s documentary about Hamas’ use of sexual violence on Oct. 7. 

After the fact sheet’s failure to mention Hamas raised eyebrows, White House Jewish liaison Shelley Greenspan called it “misleading” to point out the fact sheet’s exclusion of Israel. She said in posts on X that the fact sheet “was 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,” but that both Biden and Harris “have spoken out clearly against the sexual violence committed by Hamas on 10/7.”

A White House spokesperson declined to comment. 

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