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Biden faces growing pressure to back Gaza cease-fire

President Biden is facing growing pressure to back a cease-fire in Gaza, with fresh criticism mounting after the United States vetoed another United Nations resolution calling for Israel to implement one.

The uptick in criticism from progressives and Democrats overall for his response to the war is a real danger to the president, whose pro-Israel stance could result in him losing votes in 2024 in critical states like Michigan, where grassroots organizations are calling on voters to “Abandon Biden.”

With the Democratic primary in Michigan less than a week away, the voices calling for Biden to back a permanent end to the fighting in Gaza are growing louder, indicating the president so far has a no-win political path on the situation.

“Months of protests and activism in cities across the country continue to be ignored, and this latest veto shows exactly why it’s imperative for voters to send a message to the Biden administration at the ballot box,” said Our Revolution Executive Director Joseph Geevarghese.

Our Revolution, a progressive political organizing group founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is reaching out to Michiganders to encourage them to pick an “uncommitted” option that will appear on their primary ballots Tuesday.

“With just a few days until the Michigan primary vote, Biden’s blockade of the cease-fire resolution will only intensify the outrage and galvanize pro-peace voices to vote ‘uncommitted’ to make their voices heard,” Geevarghese said.

Biden’s performance in the Tuesday primary in the Detroit-area town of Dearborn, Mich., where Arab Americans make up the majority of the population, will be telling of how deep the sense of betrayal is felt among the community.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud (D) said this week that Arab Americans who voted for Biden in 2020 are now being ignored.

“My greatest fear is that Mr. Biden will not be remembered as the president who saved American democracy in 2020 but rather as the president who sacrificed it for Benjamin Netanyahu in 2024,” he wrote in an opinion piece, referring to the Israeli prime minister.

Biden and his administration at the start of the war offered unrelenting support of Israel following an Oct. 7 massacre committed by Hamas that killed some 1,200 Israelis and took hundreds more hostage. 

But as the Palestinian death toll grew into the thousands, and then tens of thousands, following a military bombardment by Israel of Gaza that continues today, Arab Americans have felt that the White House’s subsequent urging of Israel to take into account civilian lives and let more humanitarian aid through falls exceedingly short.

As a result, there’s a growing movement among progressive groups and Arab American grassroots organizations in Michigan looking to send a message to Biden. Some groups say they will never support Biden — even against his likely GOP rival former President Trump, who famously called for a Muslim ban during the 2016 race — while others say there’s a chance the president has time to earn their vote back.

After Michigan, other states with large Arab and Muslim American populations will head to the ballot box for the primary. Minnesota votes on Super Tuesday, Illinois votes on March 19, and Pennsylvania has their primary on April 23.

The “Abandon Biden” organization has already launched its movement in the Keystone State this week, adding another critical swing state to the list of places where Biden could see Democrats withhold their vote for him. The movement has been based in Dearborn and Chicago and has a presence in Minnesota as well.

In 2020, Biden won 64 percent of the Muslim vote nationally, and Trump won 35 percent, according to exit polling by The Associated Press. Some strategists are warning that abandoning Biden could lead to another Trump presidency, which some argue would be worse on the community. 

“Whatever anyone feels about the relative merits of the cease-fire resolution or the U.S. response to the Gaza war, it’s crucial that Michigan voters ultimately recognize that the vote in November will not be a referendum on Joe Biden, it will be a choice,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at Third Way.

He added that Democrats are hopeful voters in crucial swing states like Michigan see the choices and the stakes come November.

“That choice will offer a good and decent man with whom they may strongly disagree on a policy issue pitted against a malign and evil authoritarian offering things like Christian nationalism and Muslim bans,” Kessler said.

Meanwhile, the vote at the U.N. has deepened the sense of betrayal some are feeling, and offers a warning that it could cost Biden crucial votes.

The U.S. was the only permanent member of the Security Council to use its veto power to kill the resolution, which was proposed by Algeria. The U.K., another permanent member, abstained.

“These kinds of developments only hurt Biden’s chances by pushing away the young voters and voters of color who may be disappointed enough to sit home in November,” said Geevarghese. “The president must change course on Gaza and realign with the values of the Democratic base in order to shore up the coalition that won him the White House in 2020 and which is needed to defeat Trump in November.”

As a result of the U.N. vote, the “Abandon Biden” campaign in a statement called the U.S. “an active participant in the aggression against the Palestinian people” and argued that the “Biden administration turns a deaf ear” to protesters in the U.S. 

“This is not just a failure of diplomacy; it’s a moral collapse. The U.S. administration’s blatant disregard for Palestinian lives and its stubborn refusal to push for a ceasefire reveal a chilling indifference to the concept of justice,” the group said.

The Biden administration introduced a different resolution at the U.N., an alternative text that calls for a temporary cease-fire and the release of more than 100 Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Hammoud, the Dearborn mayor, said in his opinion piece that he told White House officials who traveled to Michigan earlier this month that the “only way to ensure the safe return of all hostages and prisoners is through an immediate cease-fire.”  

The Biden administration has been involved in months of negotiations for a temporary pause in fighting of about six weeks between Israel and Hamas to release the remaining hostages taken during the deadly attacks on Oct. 7, but so far no deal has come to fruition between Israel and Hamas. 

The issue has also put Biden face-to-face with pro-cease-fire and pro-Palestine protesters following him around the U.S., interrupting his remarks and drowning out some of his campaign speeches.

During one fundraiser on a recent West Coast swing, a protest at a nearby park included a sign that read: “No voters for mass murderer.”

Source: The Hill

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