Progressive Democrat Representative Primila Jayapal of Washington said that President Joe Biden will lose votes from Arabs and Muslims in 2024 because of his full support of Israel in the middle of its conflict with Hamas terrorists.
She warned the president to be “careful” when it comes to supporting Israel’s right to defend itself but not taking a similar stance when it comes to Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
In the meantime, Arab-Americans in Michigan had expressed they widely share the view President Biden is taking the wrong approach with Israel — however, it’s unclear who they would vote for in 2024 if they don’t vote for Biden.
This month, Democratic Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota launched a longshot presidential primary bid. Still, even if the entire Muslim and Arab voting block rallied around him, he would not be able to defeat Biden in the primary.
A recent NBC poll shows six in 10 Democrats want Biden to face a 2024 challenger, but it is unclear if Phillips will give the president a run for his money in the primary election.
In the meantime, all GOP candidates are strongly pro-Israel, as evidenced by all top contenders speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday.
“I have been one of President Biden’s biggest supporters,” said Jayapal to NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker Sunday.
“I am certainly concerned about his approach [to Israel],” she added.
Hamas attacked Israel earlier in the month in a multi-front offensive that led to the biggest single-day massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust. Yet, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed in the conflict.
“He is, I think, going to be challenged to explain an issue of this moral significance to people,” said Jayapal of the contentious issue of the Palestinian-Israel conflict.
“The American people are actually quite far away from where the President and even Congress — the majority of Congress — has been on Israel and Gaza,” she said. “They support the right for Israel to defend itself, to exist. But they do not support a war crime in exchange for another war crime. And I think the President needs to be careful about that.”
U.S. consensus is in support of Israel
Although there have been widespread protests in support of the Palestinian people, in general, the U.S. consensus was the U.S. remains in support of Israel.
The GOP has denounced calls for ceasefires and claimed this is a way of telling Israel not to defend itself.
In the meantime, the Republicans also point out that Hamas terrorists are using innocent Palestinian people as human shields, resulting in significant losses of Palestinian lives in the three-week conflict.
Jayapal made clear Phillips isn’t the alternative Arab and Muslim voters should turn to in 2024 and claimed he has nearly an identical stance on issues as President Biden.
“Everyone’s got the right to run. But, I’m sorry, I have no idea what he is running on that is different from what President Biden is running on,” said Jayapal of Phillips’ bid. “He took the same bold stances that President Biden has taken in this country on domestic issues.”
During the interview, Jayapal was careful to say she was proud of the president’s “domestic” agenda as the president’s party has turned on him after a series of blunders on foreign issues — including and beginning with the chaotic and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021.
“I have been one of President Biden’s biggest supporters. I have been proud to be a partner as he has been courageous and strong on the domestic front,” said Jayapal Sunday.
Arab Americans have expressed outrage over Biden’s support of Israel.
President Joe Biden visited the Jewish state in the wake of Hamas’ attacks and told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the visit the U.S. “will continue to have Israel’s back.”
A report by the New York Times notes that Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian voters in Michigan are likely to abandon President Biden in 2024, which could contribute to him losing the state. Nada Al-Hanooti, a Michigan-based Palestinian-American organizer, said there are 200,000 registered Muslim voters in Michigan, a state won by Biden by less than 155,000 votes in 2020.
Muslim voters represented a significant voter turn-out for Biden in Michigan, with 145,000 casting their ballot for him.
“In 2020, the Muslim community was instrumental in turning out the vote for Joe Biden,” said Al-Hanooti. “We did a lot of get-out-the-vote efforts.”
Representative Jayapal is a progressive legislator and ally of Biden. Sunday, she said the president “needs to be just as courageous on this issue [of Israel] so that we keep the unity within our country for the support of the incredible things that he has done.”