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Biden’s position on Israel upsets Arab and Muslim Americans, potentially impacting 2024 electoral support.

Arab and Muslim Americans Urge Biden to Do More to Prevent Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Arab and Muslim Americans Express Concern over Biden’s Response to Israel-Hamas War

Arab and Muslim Americans, along with their allies, are raising concerns about President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. They are urging him to take more decisive action to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, or risk losing their support in the next election.

A number of activists, academics, community members, and administration officials have criticized Biden for not advocating for a humanitarian ceasefire. They argue that Palestinians are being killed while fleeing Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

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The growing frustration within the Arab American community could have implications for Biden’s reelection bid. Arab Americans make up 5% of the vote in Michigan, a key battleground state. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, they represent between 1.7% to 2% of the vote. These states were crucial to Biden’s victory in 2020, and losing the support of Arab Americans could be detrimental to his chances in the 2024 election.

The Impact of Biden’s Response on Arab Americans

The Arab and Muslim American community, though unlikely to support former President Donald Trump, may choose to sit out the election and not vote for Biden. Laila El-Haddad, a Maryland-based author and social activist from Gaza, believes that Biden’s response could cost him Michigan.

While Arab Americans condemn the attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, they argue that the Israeli response has been disproportionate. Biden’s failure to condemn the bombardment has raised questions about his commitment to a “human rights centered” foreign policy.

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U.S. officials, along with the United Nations and Canada, have called for a pause in Israel’s attacks on Gaza to allow for the delivery of essential supplies to Palestinian civilians. However, Arab Americans are demanding more significant policy changes.

Arab Americans’ Demands for Change

Abdullah Hammoud, the first Arab American mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, has criticized Biden for not condemning Israeli threats to cut off water, electricity, and food to over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. Hammoud expressed his disappointment, stating that their voices have been ignored and their calls for a ceasefire drowned out by the sounds of war.

Linda Sarsour, a former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, has urged Muslim Americans to make their political donations contingent on a change in policies. Many Arab Americans are pressuring Biden to push Israel to temporarily halt its attacks on Gaza, which have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights group in the U.S., has accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian population. They argue that unless government officials intervene, they will be complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Gaza. Biden’s proposed $14 billion in new aid to Israel has also faced criticism.

Sa’ed Atshan, a Quaker Palestinian American and peace and conflict studies professor, believes that the rhetoric surrounding Biden’s aid to Israel is contradictory. He points out the stark contrast between the billions of dollars allocated for military purposes and the mere $100 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

Even President Barack Obama, Biden’s former boss, has weighed in on the issue. He called on the U.S. to continue leading the world in providing aid to the people of Gaza.

The White House Responds to Criticism

While Biden has appointed more Arab Americans and Muslims to political posts than any previous president, this diversity has not translated into policy changes. Some Arab American and Muslim appointees are hesitant to speak out due to fears of backlash and reprisals, as well as concerns for their family members in the region.

The White House has acknowledged the criticism and is actively engaging with community members. Biden’s chief of staff, Jeff Zients, and adviser Anita Dunn are meeting with staffers and community members, while cabinet secretaries are also being urged to do the same.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Palestinian and Arab American community leaders, along with Jewish American groups. The White House has hosted Palestinian American youth and is working to ensure aid reaches Gaza in a timely manner.

However, some individuals within the State Department have expressed their discontent. Josh Paul, the director of congressional and public affairs for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, resigned from his position in protest. He criticized the rushed delivery of lethal arms to Israel while the people of Gaza face obliteration.

The Biden administration is aware of the concerns raised and is actively addressing them. They have emphasized Biden’s commitment to confronting Islamophobia and hate in all its forms. Despite these efforts, Arab and Muslim Americans are calling for more significant action to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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