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The Gaza Cease-Fire Movement Faces A Big Test

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Arab Americans in Michigan are showing discontent with President Joe Biden’s support for the Israeli invasion of Gaza, potentially impacting his support in the upcoming election.

A campaign called Listen to Michigan aims to garner “uncommitted” votes in the Democratic primary to protest Biden’s Israel-Palestine policy.

“We protested. We demonstrated. We wrote to our representatives. We’ve called our representatives. We posted on our social media about this issue in order to hopefully get a permanent cease-fire. We haven’t had that yet,” Listen to Michigan campaign manager Layla Elabed said. “And so now we’re going to the ballot box to tell Biden his core constituency — as 80% of Democrats support a permanent cease-fire — that he needs to listen to us, that he needs to pay attention to us.”

The initiative seeks to push Biden towards a permanent cease-fire and cutting off U.S. funding for Israel’s war operations.

Despite Biden’s efforts to engage with Arab and Muslim American leaders, concerns remain about his stance on the conflict.

“We’d like for Joe Biden to take a look at these numbers and know that Gaza and the Palestinian people, and this genocide that he funded is going to be reason that he loses in November,” said Hussein Dabajeh, a senior aide to Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun.

“He has failed to differentiate his Israel-Palestine policy from [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s genocidal agenda,” strategist Abbas Alawieh said of Biden.

The Biden administration’s veto of a U.N. resolution for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza has drawn criticism for not applying concrete pressure on Israel.

The campaign highlighted the need for policy changes rather than just outreach efforts.

“The president, the White House, the campaign — everybody, from what I’ve seen — is taking a very compassionate viewpoint toward those advocating for an ‘uncommitted’ vote,” Democratic strategist Jill Alpert said.

“They’re not waiting for the results of the primary to engage with what is a very important and diverse community,” state Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow said.

“We emphasized that beyond communication, there needs to be a change in policies,” Michigan state Rep. Abraham Aiyash said.

“They’re really organizing and looking toward the general election,” Alpert said.

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