Monitoring the monitors: Biden, American media, and the influence of Arab-American political power in the context of the Israeli offensive in Gaza

Arab- and Muslim-Americans, along with about 60 percent of all Americans, have been pushing for US President Joe Biden to intervene and push for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza conflict. However, their calls have largely been ignored by the White House.

In response, Arab- and Muslim-Americans have decided to use their political influence in key swing states in the upcoming presidential election. A meeting was held in Dearborn, Michigan with community leaders from nine potential swing states, where they declared they would not vote for Biden unless he changes his policies regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza and listens to the concerns of minority communities.

The movement gained support in Michigan and other states with large Arab-American populations, but also faced criticism from Biden supporters who feared it could impact the election outcome.

In February, offensive articles in mainstream media further mobilized the community, leading to increased engagement in electoral politics. Arab- and Muslim-Americans joined forces with other marginalized groups in demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a reevaluation of US aid to Israel.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud emphasized the importance of trust and respect between officials and citizens, stressing the personal impact of foreign policy decisions on residents. Despite meetings with Biden’s staff, the community has not seen tangible actions to address their concerns.

As a result, community leaders, including US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, launched the “Listen to Michigan” campaign, urging voters to show their concerns by registering as “uncommitted” in the primary. With significant Arab-American populations in key swing states, the community has a unique opportunity to influence policy decisions.

The coalition for change includes labor unions, progressive groups, and churches, all calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and a reevaluation of US policies towards Israel. This shift represents a new level of engagement and political leverage for Arab- and Muslim-Americans in shaping national policies.

The upcoming Michigan primary will serve as a litmus test for the impact of grassroots movements in influencing government decisions. The growing momentum among minority communities signals a shift towards active citizenship and a demand for policy changes that reflect the values and concerns of all Americans.

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