With the election less than a year away, President Joe Biden’s progressive coalition is showing signs of fraying.
“Internal State Dept. memo blasts Biden, U.S. policy on Israel-Hamas war,” reported Hans Nichols for Axios on Monday.
“An internal State Department dissent memo accuses President Biden of ‘spreading misinformation’ on the Israel-Hamas war and alleges that Israel is coming ‘war crimes’ in Gaza, according to a copy of the memo obtained by Axios,” revealed Nichols.
“The scathing five-page memo — organized by a junior diplomat who has suggested on social media that Biden’s support of Israel has made him ‘complicit in genocide’ in Gaza — offers a rare look at the raw divisions within the Biden administration over the Israel-Hamas war,” Nichols wrote.
The exclusive Axios scoop confirmed the rumors swirling around Capitol Hill in recent weeks that all is not well within the Democratic Party. On the subject of the Israel/Hamas war, a sharp divide has opened between the majority of Democrats who are neutral, moderate, or supportive of Israel and a smaller but vocal cohort of progressives who favor Hamas.
Many progressives continue to defend Hamas despite the heinous October 7 terrorist attack it perpetrated on Israel — even as over 200 people remain hostages — including children, Americans, and an undoubtedly traumatized 3-year-old American toddler whose parents were murdered by the same Hamas insurgents who then kidnapped him.
The continued progressive support of Hamas in the United States has left many Jewish progressives feeling disheartened and disenchanted with the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, the pro-Palestine crowd continues to clamor, ever more loudly, for a cease-fire concession from Israel. They also are starting to advocate, more vociferously still, for a major shift in the diplomatic relationship between Israel and the United States.
“Young Progressives Are Disgusted With Biden Over Israel,” wrote reporter Noah Lanard for the progressive news outlet, Mother Jones, this week. “The president’s response, said a Democratic strategist, ‘absolutely could cost Biden the election.’”
“Since October 7, there has been a divide,” began Lanard ominously. “Polls have found that Democratic voters are about equally sympathetic to Palestinians and Israelis, do not approve of Israel’s response to the attack by Hamas, and favor sending humanitarian aid to Gaza by far larger margins than sending weapons to Israel.”
“But these have not been the priorities of the representatives they elected,” he complained.
“President Joe Biden and most Democrats in Congress continue to take the pro-Israel line that the party has for decades,” he went on. “Biden has rejected calls for a ceasefire while adhering to a longstanding personal policy of largely refraining from public criticism of Israel.”
“Their positions are particularly at odds with the younger voters whom Democrats will need to win next year,” mused Lanard. “Many progressives appear more disgusted with a Democratic president than they have been in decades.”
While the Democratic Party goes in circles over Israel, voters from the Republican Party traditionally back Israel by an overwhelmingly wide margin, as they continue to do. Preferring this news to more thorny discussions over the poor Republican Party showing last Tuesday in several important elections, or a looming government shutdown, conservative media outlets have been enjoying a field day.
“Hundreds of Federal Officials Sign Letter Objecting to Biden’s Support for Israel, Demanding Cease-Fire,” reported Ari Blaff this week for conservative media outlet, the National Review.
“More than 400 staffers and political appointees across 40 government agencies sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday objecting to his administration’s support for Israel and demanding that he push for an immediate cease-fire between the embattled Jewish state and Hamas,” began Blaff.
“We call on President Biden to urgently demand a cease-fire, and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity, and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” demanded the letter’s signatories.
Last week, over 500 former staffers, volunteers, and organizers for the Biden for President campaign wrote a similar letter.
“More than 500 Biden campaign alumni want a Gaza ceasefire,” reported Jonathan Guyer for Vox on November 9, 2023. “What a letter from Biden’s field staff and organizers says about how Democrats see the Israel-Hamas war.”
While President Joe Biden has thus far been relatively steadfast in his support for Israel, steadily worsening poll numbers may weaken his resolve as time goes on.
“Biden’s initial confidence on Israel gives way to the complexities and casualties of a brutal war,” concluded Zeke Miller yesterday for the Associated Press.
“Within the Democratic Party, there are also clear signs of discord,” he wrote. “Nearly half of Democrats disapprove of how President Joe Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research — showing a deep divide within his party over the war.”
As the war drags on, Israel’s support is likely to diminish. Already, the dreadfulness of the October 7 attack is fading from mention — especially in these letters criticizing Israel’s response to the attack, but not the terrorist attack itself.
In the coming months, President Biden will have to work hard to win progressives to his side.
Can he stay the course?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)