President Biden is facing an electoral revolt among Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan who are outraged by his ongoing support for Israel, with top community leaders refusing to meet with Biden’s campaign manager this weekend.
Arab Americans living in Michigan have traditionally been reliable Democrats, with Biden carrying over 75% of the vote in the Arab-majority city of Dearborn in 2020. That voting block is now under threat, however, with some members of the community launching an “abandon Biden” campaign in protest of his handling of Israel’s retaliatory war in Gaza.
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud says the war in Gaza is issue “number one, two and three” for his voters, according to The Washington Post.
Hammoud was among a group of roughly a dozen leaders in Michigan’s Arab and Muslim communities to refuse a meeting with Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez when she visited the state this weekend. State Rep. Alabas Farhat said they will continue to refuse to meet with Biden until he calls on Israel to accept a cease-fire agreement, the Post reported.
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Arab and Muslim leaders in Michigan say they will not support President Biden until he calls on Israel to accept a cease-fire in Gaza. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
“When elected officials view the atrocities in Gaza only as an electoral problem, they reduce our indescribable pain into a political calculation,” Hammoud wrote on X about his decision to skip the meeting.
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Destruction from Israeli airstrikes is seen in Gaza City. (AP/Adel Hana)
Michigan is essentially a must-win state for Biden come Election Day in November. He carried the state by just over 150,000 votes against former President Trump in 2020. The Arab and Muslim communities in the state number roughly 300,000, meaning significant defections could swing the pendulum toward Republicans in November.
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Amer Zahr, a Michigan resident and former campaign surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rejected arguments that Arab voters were effectively supporting Trump, the leading GOP nominee, by rejecting Biden.
“We’re not going to respond to the lesser of two evils argument, we are going to reject that,” Zahr told the AFP. “We’re not going to be held responsible for the alternative.”
Many Arab residents in Michigan have rejected arguments that Arab voters were effectively supporting former President Trump, the leading GOP nominee, by rejecting President Biden. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
“We’re not supporting Joe Biden under any circumstances – or any politician frankly – that is not willing to simply call for a cease-fire,” he added.
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Biden is set to visit Michigan in person on Thursday ahead of the state’s Democratic primary in February.