Fri. May 24th, 2024

Biden faces new Democratic divisions after Israel shift

By 37ci3 May9,2024



WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden significantly changed his policy This week, the Israeli government threatened to withhold US weapons if it went ahead with a full-scale occupation of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, while pledging “ironclad” support for the Jewish state. a speech denouncing the rise of anti-Semitism.

But Biden’s nuanced stance has created distinct divides within his Democratic Party. The president now faces fresh criticism from some lawmakers and voters in battleground states where his stance on Israel poses the greatest political risk to his reelection efforts.

“It’s like he’s supporting the wrong side,” Democrat David Jacobowitz of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, told NBC News. Jacobowitz won’t say whether he will vote for Biden in November.

Nasir Raza, an undecided voter from Scottsdale, Arizona, who voted for Biden in 2020, said the president’s reversal on Israel “may be too late for a lot of people I know,” but added, “For me, I’m still going to vote for Joe Biden .”

In the seven months since the start of the war in Gaza, Biden’s staunch support for Israel has alienated him from some key supporters, including young voters and Arab Americans, earning him praise from others who appreciated his pro-Israel stance. This week’s change in his position coincides with a turning point in the war. Negotiations for a Gaza ceasefire in exchange for the release of some hostages still held by Hamas are fragile at best, and Israel He is about to enter Rafah Despite Biden’s repeated protests.

Whether his handling of the conflict will sway voters in November remains an open question. A major concern for Biden’s re-election efforts is staying home with voters who oppose his approach. potential tipping of the scales For former President Donald Trump in key battleground states like Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

This week, Biden made clear his position on Israel, saying on Tuesday that the United States would be unwavering in its commitment to “the security of the Jewish people, the security of Israel,” and a day later vowing to maintain usable weapons. A military operation was conducted in Rafah. The president, in an interview with CNN, specifically pointed to the large bombs, some of which were 2,000 pounds. Recently he also admitted stopped the new shipment he admitted that those bombs had been sent to Israel and that for the first time since the war, US weapons had killed innocent Palestinians.

“These bombs killed civilians in Gaza,” Biden said Wednesday.

For Arizona Young Democrats President Ricardo Serna, who is undecided in the 2024 election, Biden’s change this week isn’t enough.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Serna said. “But if we don’t want Donald Trump re-elected in November, there has to be a more permanent solution to this.” And I’m afraid that if that doesn’t happen, we’re going to see another Donald Trump presidency.”

On Thursday, Trump said he “wouldn’t do what Biden did” and asked why Jewish voters supported Biden. “If you’re Jewish and you vote for him, shame on you,” Trump said in an interview with North Carolina’s Spectrum News 1.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stopped short of criticizing Biden’s position. “The argument that we are somehow distancing ourselves from Israel or that we don’t want to help them defeat Hamas is not consistent with the facts,” Kirby told reporters Thursday.

The reactions of two of Biden’s allies reflect the views of Democrats on the war in Israel and Gaza. trying to unite his party ahead of the November elections.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a progressive Biden surrogate who disagrees with the resolution of the conflict, praised the danger of not giving arms to Israel. “I think this move by the president will be welcomed by many progressives who argue for a course correction,” Khanna said.

Still on the battlefield, Sen. John Fetterman, a vocal pro-Israel Democrat from Pennsylvania, criticized Biden for indicating that Israel would freeze arms if it launched a major invasion of Rafah.

“Difficult to disagree with and deeply disappointing,” Fetterman said of the president’s policies.

In a further twist on how Biden’s changed position has shaken views of him from within his own party, one of the staunchest critics of his handling of the conflict in Gaza, D-Wash. turning point in this war.”

“I applaud the president for heeding this call to freeze arms supplies to protect innocent Palestinian lives and ensure that no more civilians die in Gaza,” Jayapal said Thursday.

Jill Zipin, chairman and co-founder of the Jewish Political Action Committee in Pennsylvania, which endorses Biden’s Democratic Jewish Broadcasting, said she agrees with his “targeted approach” to Israel.

“I believe that the Biden administration and the Democratic Party are deeply committed to Israel’s security and that what they are doing here is in Israel’s best interest,” Zipin said.

While many progressive Democrats and young voters have criticized Biden’s Israel policy since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack — some vowing to stay out of the November election — others say it won’t sway their votes.

Alex Toren, a 20-year-old student from Grand Rapids, Michigan, said he disagrees with Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza and hopes his decision last week to freeze arms shipments to Israel is a permanent change. (The White House said no final decision has been made on whether to send the weapons.)

“But the truth is, Trump would be worse,” Toren said. “I don’t think there’s anything that could happen between now and November that would make me vote for president or go to the polls in November.”

David Jacobson, a Democrat from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, said Biden’s shift on Israel this week was a political calculation.

“I thought it was a serious and terrible mistake for Biden to cut off military aid to Israel,” Jacobson said. “It appears that Biden is likely reacting to political pressure from the left wing of the Democratic Party with the upcoming election, and it is unfortunate that he needs to openly compromise Israel’s security in order to feel more secure about being elected.” .”

Still, Jacobson said he plans to vote for Biden in November.



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