Lazy eyes listen
Muslim-American voters have rejected US President Joe Biden’s latest electoral outreach efforts, indicating that his backing for Israel’s military effort in the Gaza Strip could jeopardise his reelection bid.
Several “swing states” with strong Muslim populations are at stake, having helped Biden win the 2020 presidential election. Even minor movements in Arab-American support in fiercely contested states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona have the potential to tilt the 2024 election against the Democratic incumbent, who is already facing a “abandon Biden” movement in Michigan.
Widespread voter anger was evidenced on Thursday, when Biden’s motorcade reportedly had to be re-routed during a campaign stop in Michigan because Arab-Americans held a demonstration to voice their anger over the heavy civilian casualties in Gaza. “Genocide Joe has got to go,” protestors chanted while waving Palestinian flags.
Back in Washington, many of the Palestinian-Americans invited to a meeting to discuss the Israel-Hamas war with Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to attend. “We do not know what more Secretary Blinken or President Biden need to hear or see to compel them to end their complicity in this genocide,” some of the invited guests said in a statement, explaining their decision to snub Blinken.
Pro-Palestinian activists have also camped outside Blinken’s home in recent days, calling for a shift in policy. Dr. Tariq Haddad, a Virginia physician who declined to attend Thursday’s meeting at the US State Department, informed Blinken in a letter that he couldn’t face him after the administration’s policies killed 80 of his family members in Gaza.
“The more I thought about this meeting, the more I could not emotionally bring myself to look you in the eyes, Secretary Blinken, knowing you and President Biden have knowingly contributed to the suffering and murder of so many of my family, the homelessness and dispossession of 2 million Gazans, and the famine that has befallen my remaining family members,” Haddad wrote in the letter.
According to local health authorities, over 27,000 Gazans have been murdered since the conflict began in October, and the UN reports that 570,000 people in the beleaguered Palestinian territory are famished. Hamas fighters sparked the conflict with surprise attacks on Israeli communities, murdering over 1,100 people and dragging hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.
The Biden administration has approved two emergency arms shipments to Israel without legislative authorization and has ignored pleas for a cease-fire. At the same time, Biden and Blinken asked Israeli officials to reduce civilian casualties and allow more humanitarian relief trucks into Gaza.
A Quinnipiac University survey conducted this week found that only 34% of US voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict.