Earlier this month, progressive Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid argued in a column for MSNBC that President Joe Biden was risking his re-election by alienating his Muslim and Arab-American supporters with his staunch support of Israel in its response to the October 7 Hamas attacks upset. As interested as I was in the argument, I was skeptical that the aggrieved populations cited were large enough — or truly determined enough to defect from the Democrats — to significantly jeopardize Biden’s 2024 chances.
But a new political reality is emerging that suggests Biden’s problem may be bigger than just disaffected Muslim and Arab Americans. Pollsters conducting a new NBC News poll link Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war to his lowest approval rating of his presidency. The poll found that 51% of Democrats and a majority of young voters (42%) believe Israel has gone too far in its military operations. The poll also found that 41% of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war and that 49% oppose providing military aid to Israel, which Biden has loudly promoted.
A growing share of Democrats believe that Israel’s response has been too extreme and that the Democratic Party has given too much support to that response.
“This poll is stunning, and it is stunning because of the impact that the Israel-Hamas war is having on Biden,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll with a Democratic pollster.
The results are consistent with a number of recent polls showing that, given Israel’s policy of collective punishment in Gaza, a growing share of Democrats believe that Israel’s response has been too extreme and that the Democratic Party supports that response too strongly. The party is splitting over one of the biggest foreign policy crises of the Biden presidency.
It is a significant development. For a long time, the Democrats’ playbook has been to offer mild criticism of Israel’s West Bank settlements but never challenge the norm, express unwavering diplomatic support for Israel, protect Israel from United Nations condemnation, and To give Israel an extraordinary amount of economic power and military aid. “Perhaps you alone are strong enough to defend yourself. But as long as America exists, it will never, ever have to. We will always be with you,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the October 7 attacks. But if Israel-Gaza remains a high-profile issue, then Biden has reason to believe the old playbook is a potential political liability before 2024.
There are a number of possible explanations for the rise in sympathy for the Palestinians during this round of hostilities. Israel has long used extreme force in military operations in Gaza, killing disproportionate numbers of civilians, but this time the intensity and scale of the operation is much greater – and the whole world is watching. Furthermore, the Away The world watching is also different. Today’s social media ecosystem allows first-hand and often graphic videos of injured and dead civilians in Gaza (alongside vast amounts of misleading misinformation) to spread outside of professional news gathering operations and influence perceptions of the conflict far more quickly and intensely than they do previous conflicts in the area. Furthermore, Israel’s high-profile use of collective punishment in Gaza is most likely accelerating an ongoing generational shift away from affinity for Israel in America.
It is becoming increasingly clear that progressive Democrats and young people are more willing to move away from supporting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians than previously thought. It is equally clear that there is no way Biden could have acted after October 7 without angering a key constituency. Had he broken from decades of traditional partnership with Israel as it prepared to attack, he would have come under fire from more centrist and older Democrats – and most likely would have been burned by the mainstream media and many pro-Democrats. Israeli interest groups.
As international allies like France have broken with Israel and a vibrant protest movement has erupted in the U.S. — and around the world — the Biden administration has expressed mild concerns about Israel’s apparent disregard for civilian life. But by and large, the Biden administration remains a fierce ally of Israel and is still trying to shield the country from controversy and sanctions, for example by refusing to answer whether it believes Israel is complying with international law.
Could Biden’s dealings with Israel play a major role in whether he is re-elected? We’re too far from Election Day to know. American voters rarely consider foreign policy a top issue, but there are exceptions — and this could be one of them.
But there is one much of variables. It is unclear how long the Israeli military operation will last, how it will be resolved, what significance it will have in the national consciousness in the months leading up to the election and what role, if any, Biden will play in a possible end to hostilities. It also depends on how protest movements evolve over time: whether they fade in the coming weeks and months or whether they maintain their momentum and make demands that Biden never responds to. (You can’t help it Consider the nuances of the chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention (At a recent protest outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.) And finally, it’s unclear whether a left disillusioned with Biden’s Israel policy would be inclined to drop out of an electoral process if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, while there is an aspiring autocrat on the ballot. What we do know is that the old conventional wisdom in Washington of ignoring the fate of the Palestinians appears to be a riskier proposition than in the past.
Source : www.msnbc.com