Biden's Gaza Ceasefire Veto Defies American Public Opinion

Aaron Bushnell, an active serviceman in the United States Air Force, burned himself to death in front of the Israeli Embassy in protest against the US policy in Gaza. Before setting himself on fire in what he called an "extreme act of protest", he said he would "no longer be complicit in genocide". Polls show that the vast majority (63%) of Americans want an immediate end to the carnage being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.  

USAF Engineer Aaron Bushnell

Although Bushnell resorted to this extreme form of protest against the Biden Administration's policy of unqualified support for Israel, he was not alone in opposing it. American public opinion polls confirm that the vast majority of Americans, including Jewish Americans, want an immediate end to the Gaza carnage. 

Gaza Ceasefire Poll. Source: ISPU

Overall, 63% of Americans support a ceasefire in Gaza, according to a recent poll conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). In terms of religions, 71% of Catholics, 61% of Non-Affiliated,  60% of Protestants, 58% of White Evangelicals, 50% of Jews and 75% of Muslims support an immediate ceasefire, according to the poll. 

Jewish and Muslim Democrats, like Democrats in the general public, favor an end to the violence in Gaza. The majority of Republicans in the general public also favor a ceasefire. 

So why is President Biden defying the will of the American people on Gaza?  The simple answer is AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful lobby in Washington D.C. This Israel lobby has showered its friendly politicians with money from wealthy Jewish donors. It has also ensured the defeat of those politicians who dared to speak out against Israeli policies in the Middle East. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, put it on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

President Jimmy Carter who helped broker peace between Israel and Egypt knows the Israel lobby well. He told Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" many years ago: "I think it’s accurate to say that not a single member of Congress with whom I’m familiar would possibly speak out and call for Israel to withdraw to their legal boundaries or to publicize the plight of the Palestinians or even to call publicly and repeatedly for good faith peace talks.....  And I would say that if any member of Congress did speak out, as I’ve just described, they would probably not be back in the Congress the next term ". 

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  • Riaz Haq

    https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/kentucky-republican-beat...

    Massie said the results were a message for AIPAC, declaring on election day, “AIPAC, your smear campaign on this American has backfired.” He also said the result was a signal to his party’s leadership in Washington. “I don’t vote for wars, and I don’t vote for foreign aid,” Massie said. “That puts me apart from most of my colleagues in Washington, D.C., but hopefully my colleagues will see that you can get 75 percent of the vote back home if you just represent those things in the Republican Party.”

    Massie often breaks with his party leadership, especially when it comes to foreign policy. His willingness to do so has, especially in recent months, put him in the company of some of the House’s most progressive members. Last month, for instance, he joined 13 Democratic Representatives, including AIPAC targets such as Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri, in refusing to support an overly broad statement supporting Israel in its increasingly charged conflict with Iran—a statement that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decried as an example of the GOP’s “cynical effort to further inflame tensions, destroy a path to peace in the region, and further divide the American people.” Just last week, when the House voted to rebuke President Biden decision to withhold some military assistance from Israel, as part of an effort to discourage a deadly assault on the Gazan city of Rafah, Massie joined the majority of House Democrats in opposing the resolution.

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    Massie’s stances, for years, have drawn the scorn of AIPAC and neoconservative groups. They recognize that he upends the claim that opposition to pro-Israel policies comes from “the extreme left.” While polls show that liberal Democrats are more inclined than conservative Republicans to question blank-check support of Israel, there have always been libertarian-leaning Republicans, such as Massie and his longtime ally Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who object to military interventions, military aid packages, and a combative foreign policy.

    Were Massie to run for and win the Kentucky US Senate seat held by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who is widely expected to retire at the end of his current term, that could significantly expand the reach of the GOP’s anti-interventionist caucus. This clearly concerns AIPAC, which has ramped up its criticism of Massie in recent months, with an eye not just to the fact that he is seeking reelection this year but also to the prospect that he might run in 2026 for the McConnell seat. In fact, United Democracy Project spokesman Patrick Dorton tried to downplay claims that they were making a major play in Massie’s primary fight, saying in mid-May, “We ran ads last November on Massie. We are running ads now. And we can be expected to continue to shine a spotlight on Massie’s bad record on Israel.”

  • Riaz Haq

    https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/kentucky-republican-beat...

    The pre-primary ad blitz against Massie complained that “Republicans are trying to help Israel, but one Republican is standing in the way. Fifteen times in April, Massie was the only Republican voting with anti-Israel radicals.” Claiming that Massie’s votes are “helpful for Iran, harmful to Israel,” the ad finished by announcing, “Everyone who cares about the Holy Land needs to know, Tom Massie is hostile to Israel.”

    Massie, an MIT graduate who obtained 24 patents while heading a successful tech company, rejects that charge. Instead, the representative says he is maintaining a consistent stance regarding misguided foreign policy choices. But that hasn’t stopped Dorton from telling NBC News, “Massie has an atrocious anti-Israel record.… we want every single voter in Kentucky to know that he’s out of step with their views on Israel.”

    Massie’s big primary win suggests that the strategy isn’t working in Kentucky, and that it might also fail in primaries where Democrats are being targeted. Despite the attacks from AIPAC, said Massie, voters are prepared to choose representatives who object to getting mixed up in foreign conflicts “regardless of who is in the White House”—and, it seems, regardless of political party.

  • Riaz Haq

    https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/kentucky-republican-beat...

    The pre-primary ad blitz against Massie complained that “Republicans are trying to help Israel, but one Republican is standing in the way. Fifteen times in April, Massie was the only Republican voting with anti-Israel radicals.” Claiming that Massie’s votes are “helpful for Iran, harmful to Israel,” the ad finished by announcing, “Everyone who cares about the Holy Land needs to know, Tom Massie is hostile to Israel.”

    Massie, an MIT graduate who obtained 24 patents while heading a successful tech company, rejects that charge. Instead, the representative says he is maintaining a consistent stance regarding misguided foreign policy choices. But that hasn’t stopped Dorton from telling NBC News, “Massie has an atrocious anti-Israel record.… we want every single voter in Kentucky to know that he’s out of step with their views on Israel.”

    Massie’s big primary win suggests that the strategy isn’t working in Kentucky, and that it might also fail in primaries where Democrats are being targeted. Despite the attacks from AIPAC, said Massie, voters are prepared to choose representatives who object to getting mixed up in foreign conflicts “regardless of who is in the White House”—and, it seems, regardless of political party.