Friday, February 23, 2024

AIPAC Ally Urges Biden to Act on Gaza | TOME


Anti-war Michiganders are banding together in the crucial swing state to urge fellow voters to choose the “uncommitted” slot on their Democratic Party primary ballots next week, with the aim of getting President Joe Biden to shift his stance of unwavering support for Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza Strip.

Centrist Democratic pro-Israel group running ad campaign

Now, a centrist Democratic pro-Israel group is running an ad campaign in the state to persuade Michiganders to be vocal in their support of Biden — and tick the box next to his name on the primary ballot.

The ad campaign is the latest effort in the primaries mounted by Democratic Majority for Israel, which is closely aligned with the right-leaning American Israel Public Affairs Committee and fellow centrists of the Mainstream Democrats PAC.

“Voting uncommitted hurts Biden, which helps Donald Trump and his hateful agenda,” says the DMFI ad, which ran on YouTube.

DMFI’s attempt to bolster support for Biden’s campaign comes as the group and its allies are also spending millions of dollars to attack members of Biden’s party. The group’s political action committee, DMFI PAC, has also run ads attacking progressives in the 2024 primary races and spent millions against progressive candidates in recent years.

Pro-Israel push against critics

The moves are a Democrat-focused version of the wider pro-Israel push to unseat members of Congress who criticize Israel’s rights abuses against Palestinians, call for a ceasefire in the war on Gaza, and move to limit or restrict arms sales to Israel. The attacks have targeted progressives, particularly members of the Squad.

AIPAC, which shares donors and other connections to DMFI, plans to spend at least $100 million this cycle, making it one of the largest players in Democratic primaries. The group has also run an intensive effort to recruit challengers to run against several Squad members.

Michigan’s Democratic primaries

The DMFI ad comes just days before Michigan’s Democratic primaries, set to take place next Tuesday. DMFI, whose disclosures about the campaign have not yet been filed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how much it spent on the ads.

Organizers of the campaign to select “uncommitted” say they intend the protest vote as a vote of no confidence on Biden’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza — and a warning that having voters dissatisfied with his position could come back to bite the president in the general election.

“This is not an endorsement of Trump or a desire to see him return to power,” they wrote on their website. “We are sending the warning sign to President Biden and the Democratic Party now in February, before it’s too late in November.”

Michigan’s role in the election

The state boasts more than a quarter million Middle Eastern and North African residents, according to the latest census estimates, a community that includes many Palestinians and is in general more critical of blind support for Israel. Michigan’s 15 electoral votes are key to Biden’s reelection chances. In 2016, Trump won the state by 10,000 votes, while in 2020 Biden took the state by around 150,000 votes. Moreover, Michigan had the highest young voter turnout in the 2022 midterm election, a benchmark that could be undercut this year as young voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden’s handling of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Polls conducted since October 7 indicate a tight race in the state, with Trump winning in several tests. A poll conducted this week that had Biden trailing by 4 percentage points to Trump also showed 74 percent percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents in favor of a ceasefire accompanied by the release of hostages and provision of aid to Gaza.

Support for “vote uncommitted”

The “vote uncommitted” push has the backing of an array of state officials, including Mayor Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest per capita Muslim population in the country, and state House Majority Leader Rep. Abraham Aiyash, among numerous other state and local officials throughout Michigan. Former Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., who was previously targeted by DMFI and supports the uncommitted effort, emphasized the importance of changing course for Biden’s chances.

In conclusion, Michigan’s upcoming Democratic primaries are shaping up to be a battleground for voters seeking a change in Biden’s stance on Israel’s war on Gaza. The “vote uncommitted” movement is gaining momentum as anti-war Michiganders rally against blind support for Israel and urge voters to send a message to President Biden and the Democratic Party ahead of the general election. The outcome of these primaries could have significant implications for Biden’s reelection prospects and highlight the growing divide within the Democratic Party over foreign policy issues.

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