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Biden faces backlash from party left against Israel

Protests against U.S. policy in Israel have spread from the Capitol and college campuses — Cornel West, the left-wing independent presidential candidate, appeared Wednesday at a rally at the University of California, Los Angeles — to ‘to high schools across the country. Students at several Northern Virginia high schools walked out of class this week as part of a “humanitarian walkout week.” The presidents of George Washington and Emory universities, among others, condemned the anti-Israel slogans chanted at rallies and projected on buildings.

Many liberal groups have adopted the Palestinian cause. This week in New York, a protest sign read: “Reproductive justice means justice for Palestine.” At another protest in Manhattan, hundreds of people marched under the banner of “Queers for Palestine Liberation.”

“I feel very betrayed by Biden,” said Angela Balya, 28, a protester in Manhattan who said she volunteered for the Biden campaign in 2020. “I will definitely not vote for him again.”

The Sunrise Movement, a coalition of young progressive climate activists who mobilized on behalf of Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign, is one such group that has called for a ceasefire. Some members of the organization are “raising questions” about whether they and other young people will mobilize for Mr. Biden again, said Michele Weindling, the group’s political director.

“If the Democratic Party and President Biden continue to send weapons and military support to Israel, they threaten to lose our generation, and that is a very dangerous choice to make before a critical election year,” Weindling said. .

U.S. support for Israel is unpopular with voters under 35, a poll shows, and students at dozens of universities walked out of class Wednesday afternoon as part of a nationwide mobilization effort. by the Students for Justice in Palestine group.

“President Biden has shown people that there is virtually no difference between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of mass atrocities against Gaza,” said Kaleem Hawa, who helped organize student protests with the Movement of Palestinian youth.

Few liberal organizations had as lively a debate on Israel as the AFL-CIO at its executive council meeting Monday night.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the postal union, has argued that Israel and the Palestinian territories should be merged into one state. He called on the AFL-CIO to demand a ceasefire, according to four people familiar with the content of the meeting.

No other union leaders present at the meeting expressed support for his position.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who is married to a rabbi, responded by asserting Israel’s right to defend itself, sources familiar with the meeting said. Ms. Weingarten said she supported the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. “This has been part of the Democratic platform for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Mr. Dimondstein, whose union represents more than 220,000 postal workers, said he “was not part of the Democratic Party” and, like Ms. Weingarten, refused to discuss the AFL-CIO’s appeal.

“I’m not answering your questions,” he said.

Some of the demands of left-wing protesters are far removed from mainstream American politics.

“Israel’s occupation and existence are not peaceful; “there is no ‘peacekeeping’ with a violent settler state,” reads an online document published by Democratic Socialists of America and widely shared this week among ceasefire organizers. fire.

At a protest in Manhattan on Wednesday, demonstrators chanted: “We don’t want two states, we want all of this.” »

Susan C. Beachy contributed to the research.


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