World News

Muslim Americans who soured on Biden see Israel aid package as further betrayal

WASHINGTON – “Outraged,” “point of no return” and “absolute disaster” are how some American Muslim organizers have described their reactions to an aid package for Israel that is being passed by Congress for for President Joe Biden to sign it into law.

Many Muslim Americans were already furious with the Biden administration over its handling of the war between Israel and Hamas, with activists organizing Democrats to vote “no-strings-attached” rather than support the president in the presidential primaries. some states this year.

For several activists and leaders of major American Muslim organizations, Biden’s support for $26 billion in aid to Israel reaffirms their view on the November election: They cannot support Biden for a second term.

Ahead of the House vote to pass the Israel aid package on Saturday, American Muslim organizations urged voters to contact members of Congress to demand they vote against the aid. It ultimately passed 366-58, with 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting against the aid and seven members absent.

If Biden signs an aid package for Israel, as he intends to do, “this heartless decision could mark the point of no return for what remains of the White House’s relationship with the American Muslim community and other Americans opposed to the genocide in Gaza,” the Council said. » on the director of government affairs for American-Islamic relations, Robert McCaw, in a press release.

“The administration is already at an all-time low in its relationship with the Muslim American community,” McCaw said.

For others, it’s too late.

The rift between the president and American Muslim voters is unlikely to be repaired “unless the president can undo what has been done over the last six months” in Gaza, said Osama Abu Irshaid, executive director of Americans for Justice in Palestine Action.

Abu Irshaid, who lives in Virginia, voted for Biden in 2020 but does not plan to vote for Biden or former President Donald Trump in November, he said.

More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, according to Gaza’s health ministry. About 1,200 people were killed in Israel during the October 7 Hamas attack, according to the Israeli government, and more than 240 people were taken hostage. More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza, but it is unclear how many are still alive.

The aid plan, which must now go to the Senate for likely passage next week, would mark a significant increase in American support for Israel, even though the United States has already sent weapons to the country since the start of its war against Hamas. Democratic lawmakers are also increasingly critical of military support for Israel. Earlier this month, more than three dozen members of Congress, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — signed a letter asking the White House to “reconsider your recent decision to authorize the transfer of a new arms package to Israel.”

Progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, was among the lawmakers who voted against Israeli aid on Friday. She said she and her colleagues were working to “make sure we don’t send more weapons” to Israel as part of the aid program.

“Just because we allow it doesn’t mean it has to be sent out immediately,” she said.

Biden praised the House’s passage in a statement after the vote, urging the Senate to “quickly send this package to my desk so I can sign it into law.”

“This package will provide essential support to Israel and Ukraine; provide desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, Sudan, Haiti and other places affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world; and strengthen the security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said. the president said in the statement.

In a close election, anger over Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas could be key in swing states the president narrowly won in 2020.

Biden flipped Michigan, which has a large Arab American population, winning the state by about 154,000 votes in 2020. In 2016, Trump won the state by about 11,000 votes. But in the 2024 presidential primary, more than 100,000 Michiganders voted for uncommitted candidates, many as an act of protest.

But the relatively small proportion of unpledged delegates — just 0.008% of Democratic delegates awarded so far — speaks to uncertainty about the movement’s impact on the November general election. While Biden has more than 3,000 delegates, only 26 have been designated “uncommitted.”

Biden also flipped Arizona in 2020 by a slim margin, beating Trump by just over 10,000 votes.

Ahmed Ewaisha, president of the Arizona Muslim Alliance, said he is “very excited” about Biden in 2020. He is now co-chair of the Drop Biden campaign in the swing state. Ewaisha said he was “definitely concerned” about Trump, adding that he would “never support Trump at all.”

He nevertheless said he wanted to vote against Biden as punishment for the president’s policies toward Israel and Gaza.

In a statement, a Biden campaign official said that “the President believes that raising his voice and participating in our democracy is fundamental to who we are as Americans.”

“He shares the goal of ending violence and establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” the official continued. “He works tirelessly towards this goal.”

Separately, a White House official highlighted the administration’s numerous meetings with state, local and interfaith leaders, as well as outreach efforts to Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities.

Biden administration officials also traveled to Michigan and Illinois to meet with leaders of the Arab American and Muslim community.

“White House officials have had more than 100 conversations with leaders at the local and state level regarding the conflict and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza,” the official said.

Ayah Ziyadeh, advocacy director for Americans for Justice in Palestine, said she voted for Biden in 2020 and tried to “convince everyone to vote for him.”

Today, her organization is working alongside other groups on a Muslim American Election Task Force, which she says will guide how she votes in November. The task force’s recommendations are expected in a month or two, she said.

In criticizing Biden’s response to the war, she said she did not know “that anything can change my perspective because I had to witness six months of genocide against my people.”

As the war progressed, Biden increasingly sharpened his rhetoric against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the tactics of the Israeli military.

After an Israeli airstrike killed aid workers in Gaza, Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” and argued that “Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians” and aid workers.

Similarly, Biden expressed support for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s public rebukes of Netanyahu.

The New York Democrat sharply criticized the Israeli prime minister and called for new elections in the country. Later, Biden said Schumer “gave a good speech and I think he expressed a serious concern shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

As several American Muslim organizations criticize Biden’s policies toward Israel, organizers are reflecting on the impact of their November votes on Trump’s chances of regaining the Oval Office.

Early in his 2016 campaign, Trump released a policy plan calling for a “total and complete halt to the entry of Muslims into the United States.” In October last year, he called for expanding travel bans in several Muslim-majority countries and barring potential refugees from Gaza from entering the United States.

However, several American Muslim organizers say it is up to Biden to reclaim their votes to avoid handing the election to the former president.

“We don’t think it’s up to us. It’s up to Biden,” Abu Irshaid said. “If our votes and those of people who support Palestinian human rights are so important, then Biden should listen.”

Activist Linda Sarsour echoed his sentiments, arguing that “trying to explain that Joe Biden is better right now during a genocide is not a talking point that lands within our communities.”

Sarsour is the executive director of the Muslim grassroots organization MPower Change and one of the organizers of the get-out-the-vote campaign to protest Biden. She said she voted for president in 2020.

“No community in this country knows that Donald Trump is worse than us,” she said, referring to the travel ban imposed on Muslim-majority countries.

Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, voted for Biden in 2020 “because I really care about our democracy. I saw what Trump was doing.”

He said he hasn’t yet decided how he will vote in November. His organization has not yet decided whether it will support the presidential election, adding that some believe “it’s not worth supporting anyone.”

“What concerns me is that you have a presidential candidate who can no longer participate in public events for fear of protests, who will not be able to galvanize his own party because he is fractured and doesn’t listen his own base in his own party,” Al-Marayati said.

Biden continues to hold public events, even though he has been confronted by anti-war protesters who have interrupted his speeches. At an event in March, he acknowledged that the pro-Palestinian protesters who interrupted his remarks “were right.”

“We need a lot more care in Gaza,” he said after protesters, who were demanding health care in Gaza, were escorted out.

News Source :
Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
Back to top button