Thousands March in U.S. Cities Demanding Ceasefire and Change in Policy Toward Israel
Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through U.S. cities on Saturday, sending a stern message to President Joe Biden regarding his administration’s support for Israel amid ongoing conflicts. According to CBC News, these protests come with a clear warning: Biden’s continued backing of Israeli military missions could jeopardize his prospects in the 2024 presidential election.
In Washington, near the White House, protesters brandished signs with messages such as “Genocide Joe” and “Israel married the devil and had Biden,” highlighting the gravity of their concerns. A day prior to the protests, Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American member of Congress, released a video accusing the Democratic Party’s leader of supporting what she termed genocide and ended her message with a somber reminder for the 2024 elections.
Although the demonstrators, a diverse group primarily composed of young, progressive Muslim-Americans, may not reflect the majority U.S. opinion—a Quinnipiac University poll this week indicated a slim majority supporting U.S. military aid to Israel—their warnings are not easily dismissed. The last U.S. election’s tight margins underscore the importance of every constituency’s vote.
Nihad Awad, executive director and co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations, took to the stage at a Washington rally, stressing the importance of votes and listing swing states with significant Muslim populations that could influence election outcomes. “Our message is no ceasefire, no votes,” Awad declared, echoing the urgency felt by many in the crowd.
The phrase “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” chanted by many, has stirred controversy, with some critics deeming it antisemitic. However, others defend it as a call for Palestinian rights. The Washington event was part of larger global pro-Palestinian demonstrations, including rallies in the United States and Canada.
Meanwhile, President Biden has mostly supported the Israeli government’s response to the October 7 attacks, deploying U.S. warships to the eastern Mediterranean and seeking substantial military aid for Israel, despite calls for a ceasefire. While the administration has been urged to minimize civilian casualties, it has also accepted them as inevitable due to the conflict’s nature.
Among the demonstrators was Summer Treece from Tennessee, who expressed profound disappointment with Biden’s actions. Tariq Nayfeh, a medical doctor and an attendee at the Washington rally, shared harrowing personal accounts of losses within the medical community in Gaza and criticized the U.S. for funding a campaign with such heavy civilian casualties.
American public opinion appears mixed, as some within the American Arab and younger demographics show declining approval for Biden. Still, national polls indicate a statistical tie in the race, with no significant shift since summer, according to Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University.