President Joe Biden has found himself in a precarious position within his own Democratic Party due to his response to the recent Hamas-Israel conflict. While his initial show of support for Israel aligns with public opinion, divisions are emerging within the party that could complicate matters if the war continues.
Initial polls show that a majority of Americans sympathize with Israel following a devastating Hamas attack that claimed many lives, including Americans. President Biden’s strong support for Israel and his personal visit to the country have largely mirrored this sentiment. His commitment to standing with Israel has been praised by Democrat strategist Ann Lewis, who commends his moral leadership in a difficult moment.
However, Republican strategist Brian Seitchik highlights a growing divide within the Democratic Party, particularly among hard-left progressives who hold an anti-Israel stance. According to Seitchik, this faction is fairly new, as support for Israel used to be a bipartisan issue. The recent resignation of former State Department official Josh Paul in protest of President Biden’s response is reflective of the frustration within certain circles in Washington.
Progressive members of the Democratic Party, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Cori Bush, have openly criticized the administration’s response and called for an end to violence and aid to Israel. Tlaib, who is the only Palestinian American member of Congress, passionately expressed her dissent, accusing President Biden of ignoring the genocide happening in the region.
ANALYSIS: Biden Faces Party Rift Over Hamas-Israel Conflict
The president's strong support for Israel and his personal visit to the country have largely mirrored public sentiment.https://t.co/dJvRasW4Jt
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) October 23, 2023
While there is currently a unified front within the Democratic Party in support of President Biden’s stance on Israel, some believe that could change over time. Mark Mellman, a Democrat pollster and strategist, explains that foreign policy issues like this rarely dominate an election cycle, particularly when Americans are not directly involved in the conflict.
The White House has been unequivocal in its rejection of progressive lawmakers’ blaming of Israel for the Hamas attacks. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called those accusations wrong, repugnant, and disgraceful. Even Sen. John Fetterman, who usually aligns with progressive allies, broke ranks to support President Biden and rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire.
A recent CNN poll shows that a majority of Americans sympathize with the Israeli people and believe their military response was justifiable. However, support for Palestinians among Democratic voters has been steadily growing, which could pose a long-term problem for President Biden. Republican political strategist Ford O’Connell warns that if the conflict continues, the Biden administration’s handling of Iran and the growing anti-Israel sentiment within the Democratic Party could become significant political challenges.
In conclusion, while President Biden’s support for Israel in the face of the Hamas-Israel conflict initially reflects public sentiment, divisions within his own party could intensify if the war persists. The Democrats’ traditional support for Israel is being challenged by anti-Israel sentiment from hard-left progressives, which has the potential to alienate pro-Israel voters, especially in key swing states. President Biden will need to navigate these political challenges to maintain party unity and broader support from the electorate.