Biden Under Fire for Gaza Response as Pro-Palestinian Support Grows
President Biden’s recent visit to Tel Aviv has drawn criticism from progressives, Muslims, and Arab-Americans over his response to the Gaza crisis. While in Israel, Biden expressed unwavering support for the country and its fight against Hamas militants. However, back in the U.S., many argue that his sympathy for the Palestinian lives lost and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is too little, too late.
James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and a member of the Democratic National Committee, stated that although he will still vote for Biden, he cannot ask his community to support the president at this point. This sentiment is echoed by others who feel that Biden’s response has not adequately addressed the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Biden did acknowledge the loss of Palestinian lives during his visit and announced $100 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, critics argue that his references to Palestinians in prior speeches mainly distinguished between civilians and Hamas, failing to condemn any of Israel’s tactics. They point to the devastating effects of Israeli airstrikes and shelling on civilian infrastructure, including apartment complexes and a UN school serving as a shelter.
Progressive Democrats have been particularly vocal in their criticism, urging the administration to do more and calling for a ceasefire. These calls are not without support, as recent polls show a generational divide, with millennials and Democrats expressing more sympathy toward Palestinians.
Aware of the shifting sentiments, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has called for safe places for civilians and access to essential supplies in Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also traveled to the region to discuss the humanitarian crisis.
Vice President Kamala Harris faced frustration from college students during a visit to Northern Arizona University, where some criticized the administration’s handling of the conflict as inhumane toward Palestinians. Harris emphasized the need to differentiate between Palestinian civilians and Hamas, expressing her deep concern for the violence in the region.
The recent hate crime in the U.S., where a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was fatally stabbed, further fueled concerns over rising anti-Muslim violence. The White House has condemned Islamophobia and reaffirmed its commitment to combating hate in all forms, but some feel that more substantive action is needed.
As the situation in Gaza continues to escalate, President Biden faces mounting pressure from within his own party and from young voters to take a stronger stance in support of the Palestinian people. The balance between maintaining support for Israel and addressing the humanitarian crisis remains a challenge for the Biden administration.