Will you win or lose the US elections in November in Michigan… that is, in Gaza? Joe Biden's recent moves in the Middle East have a double meaning, foreign policy and the election campaign. The international crisis has not been this present in the domestic debate in the United States for some time. It happens all too often that Biden's campaign rallies are interrupted, disrupted, and contested by pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Among the harshest slogans against him were “Annihilate Joe” and “How many children did you kill today?“The president is the target of those who accuse him of supporting Israel – support that has in fact been consistent between both parties in all US administrations from the 1970s onward. Now, the Israeli army’s counter-offensive in the Gaza Strip has been going on for more than three months, and the massacre of innocents committed by Hamas in October 7 has become a distant memory even among some sectors of public opinion sympathetic to Israel, not to mention everyone who from the beginning considered the massacre of civilians, the rape of women, and the kidnapping of the elderly and children “legitimate.” Now it seems that only the number of civilian deaths among Palestinians is being counted; Undoubtedly, this is also scary. Although Biden criticizes Benjamin Netanyahu, he is paying a heavy price for his diplomatic and military support for Israel: he is losing valuable consensus in the world, even among allies; He risks losing elections at home
Working-class Arab Americans in the Midwest
A look at Michigan shows why his path to re-election to the White House passes through Gaza. I've already written aboutAnd the bleeding of youth consensusWho, by embracing the Palestinian cause, may abandon Biden's party and perhaps vote for Donald Trump. More specific and precise risk concerns Arab American voters. This is where Michigan is critical. This industrial state in the Midwest is home to The largest concentration of immigrants from Arab countries. Many of them are second or third generation, or in any case have held American citizenship for some time and vote. Particular emphasis is placed on the city of Detroit, where Arab Americans are well represented in the auto industry working class. The United Auto Workers union has given its endorsement to Biden in the November election. But the vote announced by union leaders risks falling on deaf ears among workers of Arab origin. In this circle, Biden is losing support in large quantities, due to the war in Gaza. A recent opinion poll showed that the percentage of Arab Americans who intend to vote for him has decreased: the percentage was 59% before the war, but now the percentage has reached 17%. Forty percentage points is an unprecedented collapse. Michigan is one of those states “in the balance” where a November challenge for the White House could continue: in 2020 Biden won it by just 154,000 votes out of a total of 5.5 million cast. The mass defection of Arab Americans may be fatal for him this time.
US sanctions against Israeli settlers: the many reasons
The story of Arab immigrants in Michigan is important for understanding one of Washington's latest moves: sanctions against some Israeli settlers accused of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. There were already sanctions in December, in the form of an entry ban into the United States, again to punish some Israeli settlers who committed aggression in the occupied territories. The latest round of sanctions is considered more stringent because it includes financial penaltiesand prohibiting economic transactions with the United States. The number of settlers affected this time is small: only four. But the White House and State Department declare this to be the case It could be just the beginning. They want to send a A deterrent signal against the most aggressive wing affiliated with the settlement movement, which, after October 7, launched violent reprisals against the Palestinian population in the West Bank. The latest US sanctions hope to send a A message in many directions: To the Netanyahu government, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region, so that it is clear that America does not tolerate violations against the Palestinian population; For Arab Americans in Michigan or elsewhere. The internal dimension of this crisis does not stop with Arab American voters. It is important that the White House wanted to add this clarification: The sanctions approved against settlers do not target American citizens residing in Israel. This is a humble reference to a reality that is as embarrassing as it is known. Among the settlers who illegally occupy lands in the West Bank and defend their settlements with weapons, there is a good representation of Israeli-Americans, who hold dual citizenship and hold two passports. The element of American Jews returning to Israel has contributed for years to strengthening the illegal settlement movement in the West BankIt does this with the help of weapons (while Russian Jews immigrating to Israel continue to increase the ranks of the ultra-Orthodox). Biden does not want to target Israelis who are also American citizens, at least for now; But he is well aware of this reality and intends to send a message to them as well.
The “Biden Doctrine” to calm the Middle East
The time trial race to resolve the Gaza tragedy before the November elections requires the success of what the commentator said Thomas Friedman in the New York Times Outlines Biden's Middle East doctrine. Friedman is considered one of the most authoritative analysts on this issue, so I will summarize his thoughts. Here's how he defines the different components of the Biden Doctrine. first one Strong military response To the multiple attacks carried out by Iran and its assassins in the region (I doubt that this can be limited to last night's raids). Second, an “unprecedented” diplomatic initiative to immediately encourage the formation of a single state Palestinian state. This must include American recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state that governs the West Bank and Gaza, and has credible security institutions, but without the ability to threaten Israel. The third pillar of this Biden Doctrine is launch A strategic alliance (military and otherwise) between America and the Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaAs a reward for bilateral diplomatic recognition between the latter and Israel. It is clear that the third point depends on the second: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman has expressed his intention to resume the path towards normalizing relations with Israel, but the establishment of a Palestinian state is an indispensable condition.
Alternative scenario: Netanyahu-Trump axis
The big obstacle standing in the way of the Biden Doctrine is Benjamin Netanyahu. He should be forced to take extremely harsh measures against illegal settlement settlements in the West Bank. The establishment of a functioning and credible Palestinian state is not compatible with the presence of specific settlements. Netanyahu does not show any indication that he is open to this type of concessions. Betting on his political demise is tempting. But we must note that regardless of Netanyahu As a result of the October 7 massacre, Israeli public opinion has become more hostile to the idea of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu, in turn, can bet that it will not be him, but Biden, who will disappear from the scene. What will change in November if Trump wins? The former president and (almost certain) Republican Party nominee continues to say at rallies that America “They must stop tying Israel's handsTrump's relationship with Netanyahu was excellent, a notable difference compared to two Democratic presidents (Obama and Biden). However, Trump boasts of the Abraham Accords as part of his foreign policy, which in 2020 allowed the establishment of diplomatic and economic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. Trump II may want to continue in this vein until the desired prize is won, which is complete dissolution between Saudi Arabia and Israel. also Trump should embrace some parts of the Biden doctrine (as defined by Friedman), for example the US-Saudi Defense Treaty. To ratify an international treaty, two-thirds of the votes of the Senate in Washington are required: a goal that seems unrealistic in the current climate of relations between Democrats and Republicans. The left objects to the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia; The isolationist right does not want to tie its hands with new treaties that force America to fight to defend an ally. We are at the starting point: In 2024, the relationship between the Middle East tragedy and American domestic politics will be remarkable.
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