ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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US Muslim leaders say they’re pulling backing for Biden in 2024 race over Gaza stance

Angered by his support for Israel in war against Hamas, figures from crucial swing states that sided with Democrats in 2020 rally behind slogan of ‘Abandon Biden, ceasefire now’

In this image taken from video, Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledge to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden on December 2, 2023, at a conference in Dearborn, Michigan, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. (#AbandonBiden via AP)
In this image taken from video, Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledge to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden on December 2, 2023, at a conference in Dearborn, Michigan, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. (#AbandonBiden via AP)

Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledged to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden on Saturday at a conference in suburban Detroit, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

Leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania gathered behind a lectern that read “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States.

Israel has vowed to topple Hamas after declaring war following the group’s October 7 attack, in which Palestinian terrorists stormed across the border from Gaza and slaughtered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 hostages.

Hamas says the Israeli military campaign has killed more than 15,000 people, mostly civilians. These numbers have not been independently verified and are believed to include Palestinian civilians killed by errant rockets launched by terror groups as well as Palestinian terrorists killed by Israel.

Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire has damaged his relationship with the American Muslim community beyond repair, according to Minneapolis-based Jaylani Hussein, who helped organize the conference.

File: A pro-Palestinian demonstration amid the Israel-Hamas war, in Dearborn, Michigan, on October 14, 2023. (JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP)

“Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars,” Hussein said. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”

Hussein, who is Muslim, told The Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden. I even had one incident where a religious leader asked me, ‘How do I get my 2020 ballot so I can destroy it?”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates previously said the Biden administration has pushed for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, adding that “fighting against the poison of antisemitism and standing up for Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself have always been core values for President Biden.”

Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were critical components of the “blue wall” of states that Biden returned to the Democratic column, helping him win the White House in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans identify as Muslim, or 1.1 percent of the country’s population, and the demographic tends to lean Democratic, according to the Pew Research Center.

But leaders said Saturday that the community’s support for Biden has vanished as Israel’s military campaign against Hamas continues.

“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” Hussein said at the conference.

The Muslim community leaders’ condemnation of Biden does not indicate support for former US president Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the Republican primary, Hussein clarified.

“We don’t have two options. We have many options. And we’re going to exercise that,” he said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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