Muslim and Arab Americans feel betrayed by Biden. Can he win back their votes?

by | Nov 1, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — It was the moment President Joe Biden questioned the severity of the casualties in Gaza. That was the turning point, said columnist and author Wajahat Ali, when Muslim and Arab American voters soured on Biden.“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war,” Biden said in a White House news conference last week. Biden’s remarks cast doubt on the numbers provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas and, as of Sunday (Oct. 29), has reported over 8,000 fatalities, including the killing of over 3,000 children.
“I can tell you without a doubt, for many, they were like, ‘I’m done,’” said Ali.
In the days after the news conference, the Gaza Health Ministry released a list identifying nearly 7,000 people it said were killed in Israeli strikes, and Biden began to shift his message, inviting a handful of Muslim, Palestinian and Arab Americans to meet with him. But the damage was done.
“It further erases Palestinian lives even in death,” said Ali. “For many (Arab and Muslim Americans) who aren’t Palestinian, for them, if this administration can’t see what the rest of the world is seeing, the disproportionate violence, and if even in death, Palestinian lives don’t matter, then our lives don’t matter as well, to this administration.”
The feelings of betrayal and grief circulated on social media and on WhatsApp were reflected in recent polls that report a swift and decisive drop in support for Biden among Arab America …

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