More than two months have passed since Israel started its current genocidal assault of Gaza, which is sponsored heavily by U.S. weapons and aid. But although the genocide has killed over 17,000 Palestinians so far, President Joe Biden has staunchly refused to call for a ceasefire — potentially risking his own presidency in doing so, a prominent pro-Palestinian activist argues in a new op-ed.
U.S.-based Jewish anti-Zionist organization IfNotNow national political director Eva Borgwardt writes in Teen Vogue this week that the divide between Biden and the massive, growing movement of Americans against Israel’s genocide in Gaza and occupation of Palestine is reaching critical mass. While Democratic voters and young people are increasingly turning against Israel’s violence, Biden has instead been seeking to increase the U.S.’s already sizable military support of Israel in recent weeks.
“In my own capacity as the national spokesperson of IfNotNow, a movement of American Jews organizing for equal rights between Palestinians and Israelis, I have seen distrust and disappointment in President Biden reach an all-time breaking point,” Borgwardt wrote.
“Young Jews have come up to me at marches and actions, sent me messages and made heartbreaking calls, asking me how they can be expected to vote, in good conscience, for a president who sends missiles to kill civilians in their names — and who, by doing so, seems willing to risk dragging the entire region into war with Israelis and Palestinians at the center,” she continued. “They feel betrayed, and I don’t blame them.”
Refusing to call for a ceasefire comes at Biden’s own peril, Borgwardt goes on to argue. She notes that a recent NBC poll found that Biden’s approval rating has fallen to all-time lows, with an overwhelming 70 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 saying they disagree with how he is handling the Gaza crisis.
By continuing to offer uncritical support of Israel, Biden is exercising a “callous dismissal of his own base,” Borgwardt wrote. His decisions on Gaza are his alone, and his decision to cozy up to the genocidal right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu regime is made knowing that polls show this decision is extremely unpopular among his supposed base.
“Even if Biden and his advisors remain unmoved by the cries of Palestinian children, the political risk of suppressing young voters ought to seriously influence their calculus,” Borgwardt wrote. Later, she writes, “Biden needs young people to turn out if he’s going to beat Trump in 2024. He can open his eyes to these demands, or he can risk their vote, and with it, our nation’s future. The choice is his — and he ought to choose wisely.”
The op-ed comes as a rebuttal to liberals who have been scolding left-wing voters who say they will not vote for Biden in 2024 due to his support of the genocide. Following a years-long tradition, centrist figures are already saying that it will be the fault of the left if Donald Trump prevails in next year’s election — a patently anti-democratic sentiment.
However, as Borgwardt, others on the left and many Arab Americans argue, if Biden were to call for a ceasefire, he would not only be standing on the side of morality, but also the side of the many voters in his base. Though liberal figures make arguments that Biden is the “lesser evil,” many advocates have said that they don’t see funding a genocide as lacking “evil” at all.
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