by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former aides to Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2020 bid for the White House have reportedly been collecting signatures and circulating a letter calling for her to “seek an immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas.
“We must mourn the tragic loss of Israeli life targeted by Hamas,” a draft letter obtained by Politico reportedly said. “However, we must firmly and unequivocally reject the Israeli government’s exploitation of these deaths to stage a retaliatory and genocidal campaign against civilians.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has been unequivocal in its support for Israel and its right to defend itself from the terrorist attacks. The president even reportedly scrapped early versions of his first speech on the matter that attempted to both-sides the issue.
But the Biden administration’s wholehearted commitment to Israel hasn’t stopped the Democratic Party from continuing to splinter on the issue of Israel and Gaza. Earlier this year, prior to the war in Israel, Democratic sympathies had officially shifted from Israelis to Palestinians, per Gallup. The poll showed 49% of Democrats indicating they are more sympathetic toward Palestinians, while 38% said the Israelis, the lowest amount in the data, which shows trends since 2001.
The nearly half of Democrats who feel more sympathetic to Palestinians is conversely a high for the data set, with just 16% saying the same in 2001.
Several progressive members of Congress have bucked the Biden administration during the crisis, calling for a ceasefire, expressing skepticism about Israel, and calling for increased sympathy toward residents of Gaza. On Sunday, Chairwoman the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) warned Biden’s steadfast Israel support could hurt him with Democratic voters in 2024.
“He is, I think, you know, going to be challenged to explain an issue of this moral significance to people,” she said. “The American people are actually quite far away from where the president and even Congress, the majority of Congress, has been on Israel and Gaza.”