The World Central Kitchen Deaths in Gaza Will Have an Impact Like Nothing Else in Israel's Conflict

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A tragedy in Gaza has impacted Washington D.C. more than just about any other story that has come out of Gaza to date.

There are a lot of Democrats who have latched on to narratives put out by Hamas and its propagandists, and while media outlets like the Washington Post have pushed those narratives as news regardless of facts, they have not shifted public attention much on the subject of Israel versus Gaza.

But a recent Israeli strike in Gaza that killed seven aid workers who are part of the World Central Kitchen organization has the potential to reshape public opinion.

On April 1, WCK announced that an Israeli strike killed some of its workers.

World Central Kitchen is devastated to confirm seven members of our team have been killed in an IDF strike in Gaza.

The WCK team was traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle.

Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore.

The seven killed are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine.

President Joe Biden had released some very strongly worded statements as a result of the incident, and Democrats throughout Washington D.C. have likewise increased their rhetoric against Israel’s actions in Gaza. 

There are several voices on the right who are pointing out, rightfully so, that the Biden administration launched a drone strike that killed innocents in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country. Likewise, his former boss, Barack Obama, was notorious for also launching drone strikes that killed innocent civilians. As Israel has admitted about the WCK killings, these unfortunate things happen in war.

Israel has every right to defend itself against an enemy that has sworn to never stop until Israel is wiped out. Hamas should not be allowed to exist. It is evil, has committed atrocious acts, and has brought this destruction upon itself. Nothing will ever really change that.

But the World Central Kitchen ending up in the middle of this will change U.S. perspective on this in ways nothing else has yet.

The organization’s founder, Chef Jose Andres, is a hero in Washington D.C. (and across the world). He built a small business into a food empire and then turned around and used it to create a humanitarian organization that does better work for the poor and hungry than almost every other organization out there. They have worked in warzones, and have always understood the risks.

But Andres is one of the most respected non-politicians in Washington, particularly among Democrats, as POLITICO’s Playbook points out.

To explain why, you can start with a chef: World Central Kitchen founder JOSÉ ANDRÉS, who built a D.C. tapas parlor into not only a culinary empire but a global philanthropic operation that has made him ubiquitous in circles of Washington power.

He is, as Michael Schaffer writes this morning, “a thought leader, humanitarian icon, and secular saint for the nation’s capital.” NANCY PELOSI nominated him for the Nobel Prize. He recorded a podcast with Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN. Biden made him co-chair of his Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition and has volunteered alongside him, as have first lady JILL BIDEN, VP KAMALA HARRIS and second gentleman DOUG EMHOFF.

“His access and the respect he garners from people in the Democratic Party, he’s going to have their ear in a way that many other people will never get to have their ear. And I think that that is going to mean something,” a Democratic strategist told Playbook last night.

When you look at POLITCO’s front page, it’s filled with WCK stories. Both the Washington Post and New York Times have it prominently featured on their sites as well. These are the outlets Democrats pay attention to, and with Israel admitting the attack happened and that it was a mistake, and with Biden sounding more forceful here than ever before, it is going to have a larger impact on how Washington views the war in Gaza.

It won’t have much of an impact on the average American – those who don’t pay attention to every minute shift in American policy and follow every political statement – but the politicians and bureaucrats who are in charge of the day-to-day operations of government will be much more affected. 

On the right, the first instinct will be to attack WCK and Chef Andres. Andres has close ties to Democrats (see above) and while his political views aren’t extremely public, his organization has worked in Ukraine, he’s supported immigrants at the height of former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, and he’s called for a ceasefire in Gaza. But he isn’t a super politically active guy. To him, the mission is more important than politics. It’s what’s made his organization so effective, and it would be a mistake for conservatives to attack him over his organization’s call for peace and a ceasefire.

Do I agree with those calls? No. There was a ceasefire prior to October 7, 2023. Hamas violated it. They have since rejected several offers of a ceasefire. The fault for every tragedy that has happened in the wake of the October 7 attack is on Hamas, and it should be destroyed.

But Andres and WCK are right to be enraged, and the Democrats and the media will use their humanitarian passion to further claim that Israel is evil and should stop attacks in Gaza. And because of who is at the center of it, Democrats in Washington are now much more likely to listen. 

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