Israel's genocidal war on Gaza has sparked widespread strong protests on American college campuses. Many Jewish Americans have also joined marches in major cities across the United States against the US policy of blind support for the Israeli government. Polls indicate that young Americans are increasingly turning against the Biden administration. This will likely hurt President Joseph R. Biden's chances of re-election in the upcoming presidential elections in 2024. It is important to remember that the US college campuses led the opposition to the Vietnam war in the 1960s and marched against South African Apartheid in the 1980s. Young Americans have repeatedly proved to be America's conscience.
|Pro-Palestine Protest at UCLA. Source: Daily Bruin|
Israel has completely cut off water, food, electricity, fuel and communications in Gaza. It is bombing its 2 million trapped residents around the clock since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israelis by Hamas. On the ground in Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promised "Mighty Vengeance" is in fact a genocidal war on Gaza. Thousands of Palestinian civilians, mainly innocent children and women, have been killed by Israel's bombing. The Israeli military has destroyed hospitals, churches, mosques, apartment blocks and schools. Large parts of Gaza have been turned to rubble by the Israeli air strikes. Multiple generations of families have been completely wiped out. Craig Mokhiber, a UN human rights official, has called it “textbook genocide” and accused the UN of again “failing” to act, referring to previous genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Myanmar. Israeli government ministers' statements calling Gazans "human animals" and their intentions of "flattening Gaza" lend support to Mokhiber's conclusions. He has resigned from his UN post in protest. At a recent senate hearing, Pakistan-born US Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) presented Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with statistics and a personal story of loss when questioning him about Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza. Van Hollen said:
"Last night, my wife and I learned that someone we know well lost two family members and four of their children killed in bombing in Gaza. So, they are not yet included in the most recent death toll reported by the United Nations yesterday, which says the number of dead has risen to over 8,300 people, 70% of them women and children, including 3,457 children. These are UN figures. According to UN figures, that is about six times more children killed in three weeks in Gaza than the number of children killed in Ukraine during the entire war there.And if you scale the deaths of those Palestinian children to the United States population, it’s comparable to more than 230,000 American children killed. The executive director of UNICEF, Catherine Russell, said at the current rate, more than 420 children are being killed and injured in the Gaza each day, a number, she said, which should shake us to our core. I agree".
The Original Sin:
Speaking at the UN General Assembly debate on the Gaza ceasefire resolution, the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram provided the historical context for what is happening now. He said Israel’s occupation and killing of Palestinians “is the original sin” and not what happened on Oct 7. “We all know who started this. It is 50 years of Israeli occupation and the killing of Palestinians with impunity,” he added. The resolution passed with 145 countries voting in favor and 14 against, including the United States and Israel.
College Campus Protests:
There have been massive protests on US college campuses against mass killings of civilians by indiscriminate Israeli bombings in Gaza. Vast majority of the victims of Israel's attacks are women and children who make up over two-thirds of the Gaza population. These protests have drawn the ire of Israel supporters who are alleging antisemitism to try to stop these protests. Some wealthy pro-Israel Jewish donors are threatening college administrators, while others are rescinding job offers made to students who have participated in anti-Israel rallies. In the media, several journalists have been fired for expressing pro-Palestine views.
Israel Apartheid and BDS:
According to Amnesty International, Israel's practices in Israel and the occupied territories amount to Apartheid, which is prohibited in international law. Prior to the latest protests, dozens of US college campuses voted for and passed BDS (Boycott-Divest-Suspend) resolutions against Israel with overwhelming majority. These were designed to send a message to the Jewish state to abandon its Apartheid policies aimed at the Palestinians.
Jewish Americans Call For Ceasefire:
Many Jewish Americans have marched in support of a ceasefire in Gaza that has been proposed to stop the slaughter of Palestinian civilians and allow aid agencies to deliver desperately needed help to relieve the immense suffering of the civilian population. Overwhelming majority of countries voted for this ceasefire at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 145 countries voted in favor of this resolution and 14 against, including the United States and Israel.
US Opinion Polls:
Polls show that the majority of young Americans oppose the Biden administration policy of unconditional support for Israel. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 51% of voters under 35 say they disapprove of the United States’ sending weapons and military support to Israel—a much higher figure than the 28% of Americans who oppose such a policy. Only 21% of voters under 35 say they approve of Biden’s Israel policy; 42% of voters across all age brackets approve.
A CBS News poll conducted last week found that 59% of respondents under 30 oppose sending weapons and supplies to Israel. An even more resounding 64% of those between age 30 and 44—a bracket more likely to vote that carries the whole millennial generation and part of Gen X—said the U.S. should not.
|US Pew Poll Conducted in 2022. Source: Pew Research|
Some strong voices critical of Israel have recently emerged in the US Congress, particularly among the progressive Democrats. A Pew survey conducted last year found that only 44% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have a favorable view of Israel. Conservative and moderate Democrats (50%) are more favorable toward Israel than liberal Democrats (36%). But the party establishment, led by the Biden administration, remains totally committed to supporting the Jewish state unconditionally. This split could cost Democrats enough votes for them to lose the White House and both houses of Congress in 2024.
American Muslim Vote:
Recent Reuters/Zogby poll shows that only 17% of Arab-Americans expressed support for President Biden, a huge drop from the 59% support he received in 2020. American Muslim vote is particularly important in swing states where Biden won by a small margin in 2020. For example, Biden won Michigan by about 154,000 votes, and there are estimated 242,000 Muslims in the state. And he won Minnesota by about 233,000, where there are an estimated 115,00 Muslims, according to an NBC report.
The White House has unveiled a strategy to combat Islamophobia, an attempt to woo Muslim voters. "We look forward to continuing our work with community leaders, advocates, members of Congress, and more to develop the strategy – which will be a joint effort led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council – and counter the scourge of Islamophobia and hate in all its forms," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
US polls indicate that Israel's genocidal actions in Occupied Palestine are costing the Jewish state the support of many young Americans, and causing a major split in the Democratic Party. These events do not augur well for Israel in the long run. It is time for the Israeli public to ponder if it is wise to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of continued occupation and destruction of Palestine.
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