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Apr 3, 2024, 1:49pm EDT
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Biden has fraught meeting with Muslim leaders after several snubbed iftar invite

Insights from CNN, NPR, and The Christian Science Monitor

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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a protest as part of the "People's White House Ceasefire Now Iftar" outside the White House on April 2, 2024.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
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Several Muslim American leaders rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s invitation to break their Ramadan fast at an iftar dinner Tuesday in protest of his support of Israel’s war in Gaza.

“It’s inappropriate to do such a celebration while there’s a famine going on in Gaza,” a Muslim advocacy leader told the Associated Press.

The White House then reframed the event as a policy-focused meeting to appease invitees, but failed to convince some advocates.

Ultimately, Biden met with a small group of Muslim leaders on Tuesday, in a fraught interaction reflecting the president’s growing unpopularity with the community over his Israel policy.

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The meeting was marked by frustration and a walkout

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Sources:  
CNN, The Wall Street Journal

Biden had a fraught meeting with Muslim leaders, which lasted for more than an hour. A Palestinian American doctor walked out before it was over, in what CNN described as “perhaps the most intimate moment of protest the president has faced to date.” Before he left, Dr. Thaer Ahmad, who traveled to Gaza earlier this year, urged Biden to stop Israel from its planned offensive of Rafah, and expressed his disappointment that he was the only Palestinian at the meeting.

While one Muslim attendee felt the meeting presented a “rare opportunity to confront the president directly,” others were frustrated about the lack of actionable goals. One guest told CNN “it really felt like a PR move, to be able to say we met with the Muslim community.”

The protest vote movement against Biden gains momentum

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Source:  
NPR

The “uncommitted” vote movement, in which Democratic voters refuse to back Biden over his support of Israel’s war, is growing. In Connecticut and Rhode Island’s Tuesday primaries, more than 11% of Democrats voted “uncommitted.” And in Wisconsin, the movement exceeded expectations, with more than more than 8% voting “uninstructed.”

"[Biden] needs to be paying attention and calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire, as soon as possible,” Listen to Wisconsin spokesperson Heba Mohammad said after Tuesday’s results. The state’s Democratic Party chair argued that the message voters want to send Biden is that they still want to support him in November, but “just don’t want this heartbreaking tragedy to continue.”

Some Israelis see Biden’s shift on Gaza as self-serving political move

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Source:  
The Christian Science Monitor

After his initial full-throated support of Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, Biden has tempered his stance in the face of international condemnation of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, as well as domestic resentment from the Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim American communities. And Israelis have noticed. “The U.S. is the best friend of Israel, but — we now see Biden is trying to do cheap politics on our backs,” one Jerusalem resident told The Christian Science Monitor. Others echoed her sentiment that Biden is shifting his attitude toward Israel to win re-election in November.

“I feel the pro-human side of Biden is still with Israel,” a jeweler in Jerusalem told the publication, “but we know there are lots of Arabs in America, and so for the politics he has to pay attention to them and take care of himself.”

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