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Biden’s Support for Israel’s War May Cost Him Reelection

ColumnFebruary 08, 2024
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By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continues, as Palestinians trapped there share videos of their own annihilation in real time. The estimated death toll in Gaza since Israel’s military assault began on October 7th has exceeded 28,000, including 11,500 children, with an additional 8,000 people missing and presumed dead, buried beneath the rubble. Another 67,000, at least, have been injured. Despite the International Court of Justice’s January 26th provisional orders to Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza, Israel’s assault has intensified.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s diplomatic efforts seeking a pause in hostilities in exchange for a complete release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza was rebuffed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pledging “total victory” over Hamas in Gaza. Netanyahu is facing increasing pressure from the families of the hostages and their allies, many of whom want such a deal.

“I am very afraid that if you continue on this path, to dismantle Hamas, there will be no more hostages to release,” Adina Moshe, 72, said this week, addressing Netanyahu through a news conference with other former hostages.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the political consequences of President Joe Biden’s unreserved support for Israel’s assault on Gaza are emerging.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in a roundtable discussion on Gaza in Washington, DC. Among those invited was Dr. Tariq Haddad, a cardiologist and member of the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights. He grew up in Gaza.

Haddad decided at the last minute not to attend. Instead, he sent Blinken a heart-wrenching, 12-page letter. It opened,

“After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided that I cannot in good conscience meet with you today, knowing this administration’s policies have been responsible for the death of over 80 of my family members including dozens of children, the suffering of hundreds of my remaining family, the famine my family is currently subjected to and the destruction of all my family’s homes.”

By the time Tariq Haddad appeared on the Democracy Now! news hour, several days later, his family’s death toll had climbed.

“I’ve had about a hundred family members at this point who have been killed, including physicians, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, dozens and dozens of children, multiple small babies,” Haddad said, choking up several times.

“On October 25th, 10 members of my family, all three generations of one side of my family, were all killed. My cousin Jamal El-Farra, his son, who is a physician, Dr. Tawfiq El-Farra, his wife who was pregnant, two of their beautiful daughters, Reem and Hala, Jamal’s brother Esam, wife Semad, and their daughters, Rusul, Tuqa and Nadian, all, multiple generations all killed in one Israeli missile strike. Tuqa, one of the younger women in the family, her wedding date was the day she was killed.”

Space does not allow for Tariq Haddad’s full account of family killed in Gaza since October 7th. His letter was illustrated with photos of many of those killed, while they were still living: smiling, celebrating marriages, births, and academic achievements, all despite Israel’s brutal siege imposed on Gaza in 2006.

Haddad is not alone in his anguish. The critical electoral swing state of Michigan is home to one of the largest Arab American populations in the United States. Many of them are lifelong Democratic voters who are now saying they can’t support Joe Biden in the upcoming election. Biden’s campaign advisors are getting worried.

In late January, Abdullah Hammoud, the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan and the first Muslim elected to that office, refused to meet with Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez.

“People feel betrayed,” Mayor Hammoud said on Democracy Now! “We were promised in 2020 a president who was going to bring back decency to the White House, who led with humanity. And what we’ve seen since October 7th is anything but. We have seen an alignment with Benjamin Netanyahu and the most right-wing government in Israel’s history. We cannot, for the life of us, understand why.”

Hammoud is leading a movement to pressure Biden to demand an immediate ceasefire. “Michigan voters are sending Biden a clear message in the February 27 Democratic primary that he can count us out,” the movement’s website, ListenToMichigan.com, states. “We are filling out the UNCOMMITTED bubble because we strongly reject Biden’s funding war and genocide in Gaza…Biden must earn our vote through a dramatic change in policy.” Over thirty elected Democratic officials signed the announcement.

On Thursday, the White House dispatched a delegation, lead by US Agency for International Development head Samantha Power, to meet members of Michigan’s Arab American and Muslim communities.

If Biden wants to stop hemorrhaging electoral support, all he needs to do is stop the hemorrhaging of actual Palestinian blood in Gaza, stop arming Israel, and demand an immediate ceasefire.

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StoryFeb 28, 2024“Uncommitted”: Over 100,000 Cast Protest Vote Against Biden’s Gaza Policy in Michigan Primary
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