President Joe Biden is visiting Michigan on Thursday to sit down with members of the United Auto Workers union, a little over a week after the union endorsed his bid for reelection.
Biden, however, will not be meeting with Arab American leaders in Dearborn.
The Biden Administration has expressed unwavering support of Israel and that country’s efforts to root out Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is responsible for killing more than 1,200 Israelis in the Oct. 7 attacks. Since then, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has killed over 26,000 Palestinians and injured 64,000 more.
Biden’s reluctance to call for a ceasefire — and his insistence in continuing to send weapons to Israel — has drawn a sharp rebuke from Arab Americans. It’s a gambit that could prove disastrous to his chances for reelection.
Already facing dwindling support from young, Black and Hispanic voters, Biden’s favorability among Arab Americans and Muslims is nearly non-existent.
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud says a ceasefire is something most Americans support.
“Over 60% of Americans support a ceasefire,” Hammoud said. “Over 80% of Democrats support a ceasefire, frankly, a majority of Republicans also support a ceasefire.”
Hammoud’s disappointment extends far beyond the President and does not bode well for down-ballot Democrats.
“I believe that no innocent man, woman or child should be killed,” Hammoud said. “And yet we have many elected officials in this state and across the country who think that that statement has a qualifier — that actually there is justification for the killing of innocent men, women and children.”
Wednesday night at Fordson High School in Dearborn, over 100 people showed up for a rally to support Palestinians and a message of boycotting Biden.
Palestinian American activist and comedian Amer Zahr rallied the crowd with a call and response.
“They think that in a few months from now, we are going to forget. Are we’re going to forget?” asked Zahr.
The crowd yelled an unequivocal “NO!”
“Trump is an absolute threat to American democracy.” – Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud
Hammoud understands that likely GOP candidate Donald Trump will not be kind to the Arab American community.
“Trump is an absolute threat to American democracy,” Hammoud said.
In 2020, Biden beat Donald Trump by just 155,000 votes in Michigan with overwhelming support of the state’s 300,000 Arab Americans.
At the rally, Mariam Charara with the Arab American Civil Rights League said the U.S. government should do the right thing.
“Ceasefire. And bring our American citizens home and also create a pathway for us to bring our families our brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens home,” Charara said.
But is it too late for Joe Biden? For Hammoud, it’s never too late to do the right thing.
“Demand a ceasefire to hold (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu accountable and stop sending military aid,” Hammoud says. “Report after report has come out that without the support of the United States, Israel would have to stop its siege and bombardment and (bringing) further death and destruction upon the Palestinian people.”
Biden is expected to issue an executive order targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been attacking Palestinians in the occupied territory, the Associated Press on Friday. Biden has spoken out against retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers and pledged that those responsible for the violence will be held accountable.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.