Muslim voters disillusioned with President Biden’s position on Israel are facing the prospect of a difficult choice in 2024.
Voters The Hill spoke with said they feel betrayed, angry and disappointed with the way Biden has stood steadfastly with Israel despite its bombardment of Gaza.
Yet the Republican candidate facing Biden at this stage seems likely to be former President Trump, who famously issued a travel ban on predominantly Muslim nations in his first days in office. Trump, who is leading his GOP rivals in polls, has vowed to reinstate a travel ban if elected.
Biden has forcefully backed Israel’s right to defend itself, arguing it should do what it needs to do to defeat Hamas, which controls Gaza and is responsible for an Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
The president has urged Israel to take steps to limit civilian casualties and has sought to draw a line between innocent Palestinians and Hamas, but many Muslim voters are angered by how strongly he has sided with Israel.
“I think for this point, he’s sealed his fate. I have no interest. There’s nothing he can do to get my vote,” said one Muslim voter in New York City, who asked that their name be withheld given the sensitivity of the topic.
Ameerah Al-Zahrani, a Pittsburgh, Pa. voter who is Muslim, said she feels “extremely discouraged” about the 2024 election and is considering a vote for Cornel West, the Harvard professor and longtime critic of Israel who is challenging Biden from the left.
“I certainly will not be voting for [Biden], Kamala [Harris] or Trump. I know many fellow critical thinkers who are filled with humanity from our communities and allies, whether Palestinian, Arabs, Muslims or our anti-Zionist Jewish siblings, who will not vote for them either,” she said.
A voter in Dearborn, Mich., which boasts one of the largest Muslim American populations in the country, was torn over their possible 2024 decision.
“I’ve been concerned for some time about our choices in November next year. I am not a supporter of Donald Trump’s, never have been, never will be,” said the voter, who also asked that their name be withheld given the charged politics surrounding the war.
“I’m also pragmatic enough to know that every president deals with a decision like that, especially when we’re dealing with allies and international issues,” the voter said of Biden and his handling of the war. “I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to politics.”
The loss of even a small number of voters could be critical for Biden or Trump, assuming they are their party’s nominees in the presidential race that is a year away.
Biden won the 2020 race over Trump in a tight contest determined by slim margins in a handful of states.
In a memo released Thursday, Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez said her team feels “well-prepared to defeat whoever emerges from the extreme MAGA Republicans’ primary field,” but “this will be a very close general election.”