President Biden’s Efforts to Address Party Backlash on Israel’s Hamas Response

President Joe Biden has long had a favorable view of Israel, owing to the shelter it provided for a persecuted Jewish minority in his youth. This perspective has stayed with him over his 36 years in the Senate and his ascension to the presidency, and was heavily influenced by what Golda Meir, the former Israeli Prime Minister, told him 50 years ago: “We have nowhere else to go.” However, a faction of Biden’s party sees Israel through an entirely different lens, viewing it as a powerful military force run by far-right leaders who have restricted Palestinians’ freedoms.

This divide in perception has led to a foreign policy dilemma that is straining Biden’s political alliance and placing him in the uncomfortable position of having to rein in a nation that he has long admired. As Israel’s most vital ally, Biden now faces the challenge of supporting them against Hamas while also preventing civilian casualties and avoiding alienating Arab and Muslim Americans.

While Biden has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties, some in his own party feel that he has not exerted enough pressure on Israel to do so. Critics have called for conditioning the $14 billion aid package requested by the White House to Israel, but it’s not clear if this approach would garner enough support in Congress to be effective.

A similar generational schism appears to be at play in the wider American public as well. Younger progressive Democrats are aligning with Arab Americans in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which Biden has not endorsed. This dissent is evident in the lack of approval for his handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from those between 18 and 34 years old, as seen in a recent Quinnipiac poll. This divide underscores the challenges that Biden faces in bridging gaps within his own party and the broader American populace.


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