The positions of the Biden administration on the current Israeli war on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip since October 7 were not only disappointing, but rather shocking and provocative to the extreme of oppression and resentment among Arab and Muslim Americans in Michigan and nationwide. They felt that President Biden and most elected officials, including U.S. Senator Gary Peters among other elected officials in Michigan, delivered a stab in the back for a community that played a pivotal role in enabling them to win the presidency and the U.S. senate seats in the last several years. That is in addition to their contribution to the victory of many Michigan Democrats in the 2022 elections.
The unprecedented support by the Democrats for Israel in recent weeks have shown that Democratic officials have failed to recognize and appreciate the support of the Arab and Muslim communities, which shifted most of their votes to the Democratic Party candidates in some decisive states, including Michigan. They also blatantly revealed the failure of President Biden to adhere to his promises to pursue a foreign policy “centered on “human rights” and “international law”, consequently, his reluctance to make any efforts to impose a “ceasefire” that protects defenseless civilians in the Gaza Strip and the rest of the Palestinian areas from air and missile strikes that claimed so far thousands of innocent lives, half of them children.
Biden, who won by narrow margins over his Republican rival, Donald Trump, in the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, thanks to Arab American voters in the 2020 elections, quickly returned to square one in his political and legislative career as a self-declared “Zionist.”
Biden, who won by narrow margins over his Republican rival, Donald Trump, in the states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, thanks to Arab American voters in the 2020 elections, quickly returned to square one in his political and legislative career as a self-declared “Zionist.” His obvious and blatant bias towards the Israel and his declaration of unlimited support for the its retaliatory operations that pursue a scorched earth policy targeting all Palestinians, in a way that amounts to genocide of the 2.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Biden, who just in July described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government as “the most extreme ever since the government of former Prime Minister Golda Meir” against the backdrop of the changes in the law related to judicial amendments in the Israeli Knesset, quickly swallowed his tongue and rushed to Tel Aviv just four days after the renewal of the armed conflict in the occupied territories. He set a precedent as the first American president to visit Israel during the war and attend its war cabinet, chaired by Netanyahu himself, and pledge our country’s total and unlimited support in Israeli’s war on the besieged Strip for the last two decades.
Before that, Biden had ordered the deployment of the U.S. aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald Ford, the largest and most advanced attack aircraft carrier in the world, to the shores of Israel. He also sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who stated at arrival his total and unequivocal support of Israel by emphasizing his urgent presence in Tel Aviv as a “Jew” in the first place. He later joined the Israeli war cabinet with Biden, sitting next to the Israeli defense minister, who described Palestinians earlier as “human animals.” If this means anything, what could it be other than the involvement of our president and secretary of state in an all-out war on the Palestinians?
In July Biden described Netanyahu’s right-wing government as “the most extreme ever since the government of former PM Golda Meir” against the backdrop of the changes in the law related to judicial amendments in the Israeli Knesset. But he quickly swallowed his tongue and rushed to Tel Aviv just four days after the renewal of the armed conflict in the occupied territories, setting a precedent as the first American president to visit Israel during the war and attend its war cabinet, chaired by Netanyahu himself, and pledge our country’s total and unlimited support in Israeli’s war on the besieged Strip for the last two decades.
The terrible massacre that terrified millions of people around the world did not move the conscience of our president, who immediately and without showing any evidence absolved the Israelis of the responsibility for bombing the Baptist Hospital in Gaza City and killing and wounding more than 500 people, most of whom were children and women, coldly pointing the finger of blame at “the other party” in reference to the Islamic Jihad Resistance. A claim that was refuted by many countries and media outlets, including the New York Times, which as the result of its investigations puts the blame for the bombing squarely at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.
After his return to the United States, Biden was quick to ask Congress to allocate immediately $14 billion to Israel and $60 billion to Ukraine, in exchange for allocating only $100 million to the humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in what appeared to be tantamount to throwing ashes in the eyes of all of us. This does nothing to alleviate the mounting anger of our community — among others — at the Biden administration for its despicable bias towards Israel, which has been expressed — over the past weeks — in massive demonstrations across the country demanding justice and peace for Palestinians.
Biden quickly asked Congress to allocate $14 billion to Israel (to continue its occupation of the Palestinians) and $60 billion to Ukraine (to fight its occupation by Russia) and only $100 million to the humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The rest of the Democratic officials at the local and federal levels were not better off, as they, in turn, rushed to express their solidarity with the occupier against the occupied and justify the war crimes and the genocide against the Palestinian civilians under the pretext of the right of Israel to defend itself, ignoring the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and the equal right to self-defense, not to mention their basic rights to life with dignity.
Here in Michigan, some elected officials, such as Senator Peters and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson — who received more than 70 percent of Arab and Muslim votes in their respective elections — and the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is vying to replace outgoing Senator Debbie Stabenow, were very quick to gather and express their sympathy and solidarity with the occupier during their sympathetic visit to a local Jewish synagogue just two days after the brutal Israeli war was launched on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. What is unforgivable and unforgettable is their engagement in a collective dancing over the remains of thousands of civilian Palestinian victims and their destroyed homes, and their indifference to the feelings of Arab and American Muslims who were primary contributors to their victories in the first place.
These elected officials and their irresponsible and offensive positions aroused the ire and dissatisfaction of the Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan and throughout the United States, and prompted Arab American activists and leaders to pledge not to vote for them or for Biden and Vice President Harris come November 2024.
In hotly contested Michigan, Arab Americans account for 5 percent of the vote. In the other battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, they are between 1.7 percent to 2 percent, said Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.
Biden won Michigan with 50.6 percent of the vote in 2020, compared to 47.8 percent for Trump, and Pennsylvania with 50.01 percent to Trump’s 48.84 percent, a difference of less than 81,000 votes.
Arab and Muslim Americans are unlikely to back Trump, but could sit out the election and not vote for Biden and other Democrats like Elissa Slotkin. That will cause them to lose in Michigan.
In the 2022 elections, the Arab and Muslim votes played a pivotal role in the re-election of Senator Peters, in addition to their contribution to the re-elections of the Governor Whitmer, Secretary of State Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, with a comfortable margin over their Republican opponents.
In Dearborn, the unofficial capital of Arab Americans in the United States, Biden received more than 70 percent of the votes of Arab Americans, who these days feel bitter and dissatisfied with the positions of the president and most of the Democratic officials. More than that, they feel that they have been betrayed and that their feelings and painful losses have been ignored, especially since many Arab Americans in the Detroit area, who are of Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi origins, have tasted the scourges of American foreign policy in the Middle East over the last few decades.
“We cannot ignore the deafening silence of those who we elected to represent and protect us,” Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud wrote on the “X” platform (formerly Twitter).
Since the renewal of the armed conflict in the occupied territories, the Arab and Muslim communities have called on the Biden administration, to no avail, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and to rescue the Palestinian Americans stranded in the Gaza Strip, just like the Americans who were hastily evacuated from Israel. But their concerns were shoved away and neglected. Today, they promise and vow not to vote for him in the 2024 presidential election as a protest stance that will not accept compromise or retreat under any circumstances.
“We cannot ignore the deafening silence of those who we elected to represent and protect us,” Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud wrote on the “X” platform (formerly Twitter). “Our family members stranded in Gaza were ignored, and our demands for a ceasefire were lost amid the beating of war drums.”
Let those who ignored our pain and danced on the dead bodies of the Palestinian civilians and their destroyed homes know that we will never forget in November what they have done in October. — Osama Siblani, publisher of The Arab American News
He referred to one of the Palestinian families in the stricken Strip — residents of Livonia who filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for its failure to evacuate them, despite the passage of more than 20 days since their siege in Gaza.
Likewise, the publisher of The Arab American News, Osama Siblani, announced in many protest events and media interviews that Arab American and Muslim voters will not give their votes to those who turned a deaf ear to their pain and danced on the remains of their victims during the war on the Gaza Strip.
“Let those who ignored our pain and danced on the dead bodies of the Palestinian civilians and their destroyed homes know that we will never forget in November what they have done in October, and tomorrow will be here very soon,” Siblani said.