Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

US President Joe Biden encountered heightened tensions during his visit to Michigan as Arab-American discontent over his pro-Israel stance on the Gaza conflict grows.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, accusing him of supporting a “genocide” in Gaza, gathered near his meeting with the United Auto Workers union. With the Israeli military’s ongoing offensive in response to Hamas attacks, Biden faces frequent protests, demanding a ceasefire.

Biden’s Michigan visit commenced with interactions at a restaurant popular with African Americans, a demographic crucial for his reelection bid. However, the President risks losing support from Michigan’s sizable Muslim and Arab-American communities, potentially impacting the narrow margins that decided the state in the 2020 election.

The tension was underscored by Biden’s campaign manager’s recent snub in Dearborn, home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans. In an attempt to thwart protests, the White House kept Biden’s destination undisclosed until the last moment. Notably, Biden did not meet with representatives of the Arab-American community during his visit, though senior administration officials are set to engage with them soon.

Criticism stems from Biden’s request for additional military aid to Israel and his administration’s rejection of UN Security Council calls for a ceasefire. Critics accuse the Democratic Party of betraying its traditionally aligned Muslim and Middle Eastern heritage voters by prioritizing Israel’s interests, particularly amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Addressing tensions in the West Bank, Biden announced sanctions against four Israeli settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians. He emphasized the “intolerable levels” of extremist settler violence, forced displacement, and property destruction. Despite these measures, calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza persist, with Dearborn organizations and Mayor Abdullah Hammoud condemning the ongoing conflict as a live-streamed genocide backed by the US government.

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