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Arab Americans to Democrats: You Can’t Ignore Us Anymore

I’m a proud Arab American Democrat, but the Michigan vote reflects the betrayal many of us have felt—and our demand that Biden change his policy.

A march in support of Palestinians in Dearborn, Michigan
Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images
A march in support of Palestinians in Dearborn, Michigan

Tuesday’s primary election in Michigan revealed two significant developments. First, it demonstrated the strength and impact of the Arab American vote. The Arab American community has proven to be a significant voting bloc that cannot be overlooked.

Secondly, the results served as a clear message to the old guard of the Democratic Party, urging it to awaken from complacency and address the needs and desires of the people. The outcome signals that voters are seeking representatives who genuinely listen to their voices and work toward solutions that benefit the people. The 100,000-plus “uncommitted” votes send a clear message to the Biden administration to reassess its approach in the Middle East and ensure that it aligns with the wishes and aspirations of the people it aims to serve.

As a member of the Arab American community in Philadelphia, my commitment and loyalty to the Democratic Party have been unwavering throughout the years. Our community has believed in the party’s values of justice and equality, so it is with a heavy heart that I express our deep disappointment with the party’s leadership.

I believe in the tenets of justice, equality, and human rights that the party espouses, which are enshrined in the party’s platform and policies. Our party has a long history of championing these values, not just domestically but also on the global stage.

Yet, despite these important human rights, the party has a disconnect when it comes to the cause of Palestine. It supports a cease-fire in Ukraine but opposes it when innocent Palestinians have been dying every day for almost five months. This double standard is a deviation from the party’s principles.

The issue that demands our attention is the unconditional support for Israel extended by President Biden and its implications for the people of Gaza. The Democratic Party’s abandonment of its Arab American constituency and blind support for the Israeli government have left us shocked and disillusioned. We have always viewed American foreign policy as being pro-Israel, but we never imagined the extent of the blind and unconditional support that the United States is giving Israel now, resulting in the horrific devastation of the civilian population in Gaza.

The betrayal felt by many of us in the face of Biden’s complicity in the loss of innocent Palestinian lives is profound. How can we continue to support leaders who ignore the devastation caused by our weapons and our protection? The Biden administration insists that Israel is still acting in self-defense even though the world’s court, the International Court of Justice, has rejected the argument that an occupying country has the right to self-defense.

Our president has crossed a red line by making us, as U.S. citizens, complicit in the killing of civilians. This cannot go unanswered. We firmly believe that Biden has until November to show us that our lives matter and that the United States, under Democratic leadership, will stand with the rule of law.

While some may argue that the previous administration was worse, particularly regarding the recognition and annexation of Jerusalem as part of Israel, we must grapple with the fact that Biden has approved the killing of over 30,000 civilians. The loss of innocent lives is a tragedy that cannot be ignored, and it is essential that we hold our leaders accountable for their actions. The argument that defeating Biden would result in a worse outcome is flawed and dismisses our agency and power to demand accountability from our elected officials.

As Arab Americans, we are deeply concerned about the lack of consistency in our moral approach to world conflicts—our hypocrisy in trying to unify the world against the Russian occupation of Ukraine while simultaneously supporting and facilitating the occupation of Palestine. This hypocrisy and inconsistency is self-destructive and undermines our country’s integrity.

We demand a consistent and just approach to American foreign policy. It is time for the Democratic Party to acknowledge the voices and concerns of Arab Americans and take immediate action to rectify its flawed decisions of unconditional support for an occupying force. Our commitment and loyalty to the party have been based on the belief that it stands for justice and equality, and we implore the party to live up to these values.

Biden must take steps to correct his flawed decisions and demonstrate a genuine commitment to justice and equality. While we understand that he cannot bring back the innocent children who were killed, he has the power to make significant changes in American foreign policy that prioritize human rights and the well-being of all individuals involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As Arab Americans in Philadelphia, we express our disappointment and concern over the Democratic Party’s abandonment of our community and blind support for the Israeli government. We call for consistency and justice in American foreign policy and urge Biden to show us that our lives matter and that the USA, under Democratic leadership, will stand with the rule of law. It is time to address the flaws in our approach and strive for a more just and peaceful world.

On a personal level, I have dedicated myself and some members of my family along with our Jewish Philadelphia friends to stand outside various churches in our city of brotherly love with a simple sign calling on fellow Christian worshippers to pray for peace in Gaza.

Our response to the current crisis is not about partisan politics but about upholding the values of justice, peace, and human rights. We demand accountability, action, and a commitment to a more just and equitable future for all. It is time for the Democratic Party and our leaders to listen to our voices, acknowledge our concerns, and take meaningful steps toward a more just and peaceful resolution in the region.