President Biden is facing a tough blowback from the Arab population in the crucial swing state of Michigan, specifically in the city of Dearborn. Arab leaders in Dearborn have made it clear that they are not interested in meeting with Biden due to his failure in pursuing a cease-fire in Gaza. This decision comes as a significant setback for Biden’s attempts to appease progressives who are displeased with his Israel policy.
One local leader, Assad Turfe, expressed the sentiment that Biden is simply “not welcome” in the Arab American and Muslim community until he brings a conclusive end to the war in Gaza. This stance reflects the overall consensus that, without a cease-fire, Biden has lost the support of this influential community.
“Biden is complicit in a catastrophe that's happening thousands of miles away.”
Arab-Americans say President Biden is not welcome in Michigan for failing to call Gaza ceasefire.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) February 1, 2024
Biden’s rejection of calls for a cease-fire and his refusal to take decisive action against Hamas have deeply angered progressives. The high number of Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas since their October 7 assault has resonated particularly with voters of Arab ancestry. In response, the Biden campaign is clumsily attempting a charm offensive to win back their support.
One common complaint among Michigan’s roughly 300,000 Arab Christians and Muslims is the perception that Biden is taking their votes for granted. The decision to send his campaign manager, Julie Chavez, instead of a White House official to meet local leaders was seen as tone-deaf and insensitive. In fact, Arab-Americans in Dearborn were deeply offended by the prospect of meeting with the campaign team, referring to them as the “campaign team of a murderer.”
Last week, Biden took an unprecedented step by imposing sanctions on Israeli settlers accused of violence against Palestinians during his campaign visit to Michigan. However, these attempts to mollify the left have not quelled the mounting backlash. Biden continues to face protests during his campaign trail, with demonstrators expressing their disapproval of his Israel policy.
In a recent encounter with hecklers, Biden attempted to assure them that he is “quietly” working to get Israel “out” of Gaza. However, these empty promises, coupled with reports of Biden privately cursing Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have further eroded confidence in Biden’s ability to handle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is important to note that Netanyahu has firmly rejected Biden’s proposed “two-state solution,” which suggests an independent Palestine coexisting alongside Israel. This rejection demonstrates the challenges Biden faces in finding a mutually agreeable resolution to the conflict, especially when his own party is divided on the matter.
Overall, Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has resulted in a significant blow to his standing within the Arab American and Muslim community in Dearborn, Michigan. With the community feeling taken for granted and disappointed by his lack of decisive action, Biden’s attempts to placate progressives have only served to alienate a crucial voting bloc. As the 2022 midterms loom, Biden must reassess his approach to regain the trust and support of this influential community.