June 20, 2024

Israel-Gaza policies shaping in the Presidential race

Photo from USA Today, Arab Americans calling on voters in Michigan to vote uncommitted.

As the presidential elections are approaching, the war overseas between Israel and Gaza is a high priority conversation for voters. 

President Joseph Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel throughout his long political career. His stance since Oct. 7, 2023 has remained largely the same. 

According to the White House, President Biden has said Israel has the right to defend itself in this war. Biden said, “Israel has the right to respond — indeed has a duty to respond.” 

As mentioned by NPR, “The primary on Tuesday [in Michigan] is also being watched as an early litmus test for how much Biden’s stance on Gaza could hurt his reelection bid—even though a lot could change before the general election in November.”

During the Democratic Primaries in Michigan, an uncommitted ticket won over 13% of the vote. Gaining around 100,000 votes, many Michigan residents take this stand as a rebuke of the president’s position on Gaza. 

According to Al Jazzerra, “Biden won Michigan, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, by only about 150,000 votes in 2020.”

Photo of Dearborn Michigan, a city that is the largest percentage of Arab Americans in the US, which sits at nearly 40%.

Due to the small margin, Biden won the swing state of Michigan. Losing 13% of the Democratic voters could be enough to hand the state electors to the opposition. 

Following the presidential primary results in the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest Arab population in the country, the uncommitted vote won 57% support while Biden received 40%, a nearly 17-point loss for Biden in the city’s primaries. 

Ohio has one of the highest populations for Arab-Americans based on percentages. Ohio’s early primary voting begins Feb. 19 2024, and goes until Mar. 17, 2024. Election day is Mar. 19, 2024. 

As stated on The Washington Post, “James Zogby, co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute, … conducted a poll in October that showed that support for Biden among Arab Americans had plummeted to 17%, down from 59% in 2020. Zogby’s poll also found that two-thirds of Arab Americans have a negative view of Biden’s response to the violence in Israel and Gaza.”

Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and Colorado offer an uncommitted or non-committed delegate option during the primaries, similarly to Michigan. 

As tensions continue, presidential candidates add to their commentary on this war.

Vice President Kamala Harris spent the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday on Mar. 3, 2024 in Selma, Alabama. 

There, she called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, stating “Hamas should agree to the six-week pause currently on the table and that Israel should increase the flow of aid into the besieged enclave amid a humanitarian crisis.”

Kamala Harris calling for a temporary ceasefire on March 3 in Selma Alabama for the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

This declaration came following the election in Michigan and the Al-Rashid humanitarian aid incident—also referred to as the flour massacre in Gaza. 

According to The New York Times, “Gazan authorities said that more than 100 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in a chaotic scene early Thursday morning in Gaza City, where a crowd gathered around a convoy of trucks carrying desperately needed aid and the Israeli military opened fire.”

Vice President Harris said in her speech, “People in Gaza are starving…the conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act.”

She added, “Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate cease-fire…This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in” 

The New York Times said, “The United Nations recently warned that famine is imminent for more than half a million of Gaza’s residents, and that one in six children under the age of 2 in northern Gaza is suffering from acute malnutrition. The Gazan health ministry said on Wednesday that at least six children in the territory had died from dehydration and malnutrition. 

“Humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza has dwindled as the United Nations and other relief agencies have struggled to deliver even small amounts of food and supplies amid Israeli entry restrictions, airstrikes and the ground invasion.”

Author

  • Sagel Gurreh

    Sagel is a second year Communications & Philosophy major. She is Class Senator & Committee Chair in Student Government, an Exec for the Muslim Student Association and Creative Writing Club, and an Alternative RA. In her free time, she loves to write.

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