U.S. President Joe Biden faces dwindling support among Arab Americans amid escalating tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a recent TIME report. After the severest attack in Israel’s history, Biden’s steadfast support for the country has been met with disillusionment from many, especially Palestinian and Arab Americans, unhappy with his handling of Gaza’s situation.
A national poll reveals a significant drop in Arab American backing for Biden: Only 17% intend to support him in the 2024 elections, compared to the 59% who voted for him in 2020. James Zogby, the Arab American Institute’s founder, called this decline “the most dramatic shift over the shortest period of time” he’s ever seen.
Furthermore, Democratic Party affiliation among Arab Americans has dropped to 23%—a historic low since tracking began in 1996—while those identifying as Independents surged to 31%. With Michigan’s large Arab American population, this trend might spell concern for Democrats in the upcoming elections, given the narrow margin by which Biden won the state in 2020.
Though over half of Arab Americans voted for Biden in 2020, many did so seeing him as a preferable choice to former President Trump, perceived as harboring xenophobic and Islamophobic sentiments. However, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unfolds, Arab Americans express reservations about whether Biden is indeed the better alternative.
Amer Zahr, president of New Generation for Palestine, noted the similarity in policies between the two presidents. Maysoon Zayid, a Palestinian-American comedian, emphasized her strong sentiment against President Biden, referencing the recent conflict’s casualties.
Zogby further highlighted that the political shift spans various demographics within the Arab American community, united by their concerns over Biden’s stance on Israel. Though the White House has tried to bridge the gap through meetings with Arab and Muslim American leaders, results have been lackluster.
The Arab American Institute’s survey shows that 68% favor an immediate ceasefire, contrasting with Biden’s proposed “humanitarian pause.” The community seeks earnest efforts toward a lasting peace agreement and stronger action against rising Islamophobia and anti-Arab discrimination.
The complications surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process make its resolution within a year challenging. The waning “anyone but Trump” sentiment, which influenced some Arab American voters in 2020, suggests that the Israeli-Palestinian issue might play a crucial role in swing states during the 2024 elections.