The “Ditch Biden” campaign wants to punish the president for supporting Israel, but is torn on Donald Trump

Rabiul Chowdhury, 28, has been talking to voters for months about why they should punish President Joe Biden for his support for Israel in its war against Hamas, which has killed over 36 thousand Palestinians. Then, last week, a former Biden voter found himself at the opening of former President Donald Trump’s first campaign office in Philadelphia.

Chowdhury, an engineer by day, co-chairs the “Abandon Biden” movement in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and co-chairs the group’s candidate selection committee.

“This guy Biden has done nothing for us despite all this unaligned momentum,” Chowdhury said. “He doesn’t care. So we might as well try to see what we can secure under the next administration. … I see that people are more optimistic [Trump] compared to Biden.”

Ahead of the Abandon state primary, Biden encouraged voters to signal their opposition to Biden by voting uncommitted or writing in their vote.

The work done by the group and other activists has paid off for them in the Philadelphia region; over 40,000 people took part in the non-aligned film “Justice for Palestine. A lasting ceasefire now.” protest vote in New Jersey last week, and high sign-up numbers signaled the movement’s success in Pennsylvania, though details are unclear because the state does not have a non-aligned option on the ballot.

Across the country, tens of thousands of voters cast uncommitted protest votes against Biden, and some states gained enough support to provide uncommitted delegates. Over 100,000 people voted uncommitted in the Democratic primary in Michigan, a swing state with a significant Muslim voting bloc where “Abandon Biden” was first announced in December.

” READ MORE: These Muslim Activists in Pennsylvania Want to ‘Ditch Biden’ in the Gaza Strip

Now the movement is at a crossroads as its leaders decide what their goal is for November beyond making Biden a one-term president. According to Hudhayfah Ahmad, national spokesman for Abandon Biden, the group is considering whether to endorse a third-party candidate but is leaning toward endorsing no one.

“The message will be: conscious voting, not compromise,” he said.

Although Chowdhury believes some Muslim activists are warming up to the idea of ​​supporting Trump, the national movement has drawn a clear line separating itself from the former president.

“We will never, ever enjoy Trump’s support,” Ahmad said. “We have red lines. We will stick to our red lines. This is one of them.

Khalid Turaani, 58, co-founder of Abandon Biden and co-chair of the Michigan chapter, was also shocked by the idea of ​​endorsing Trump. Instead, Turaani believes that the campaign should either encourage people to vote simply at the very end of the term, or support Jill Stein or Cornel West.

“We have seen what Trump has done and how dangerous he is not only to the Palestinians but actually to America,” Turaani said. “We will not support him. “It would be very convenient for us… but in principle we will not do it because we do not believe that Trump will be a better candidate.”

How do the views of the Abandon Biden movement compare to those of the electorate?

New York Times/Siena College Poll conducted April 28-May 9 found that 50% of registered voters in six swing states said they trusted Trump to better handle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and 35% said the same about Biden.

But that poll also found that 41% of respondents were more sympathetic to Israel compared to 22% for the Palestinians. And while just 2% of registered voters in these states listed the Middle East/Israel/Palestinians as the most important issue in deciding their vote in November, about 13% of voters who said they voted for Biden last time but did not plan to do so again, he said that the most important issue for their decision was his foreign policy or the war in Gaza, The New York Times. reported.

But views on Biden’s handling of the war may soon change. May 31stthe president announced a ceasefire plan to end the war, which was presented to the UN Security Council approved on Monday.

Earlier this year, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Quentin Fulks, when asked about the protests, said that the president “approaches the situation in the Middle East not through the prism of politics, but as the commander-in-chief of this country whose priority is American security and global security.”

But from Chowdhury’s perspective, several recent moments that have surfaced online weigh in Trump’s favor for Muslim Americans.

In one video, which has 158,000 likes on Instagram, Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov – a famous Muslim Russian and UFC fighter – was seen a short conversation with Trump and a handshake. According to the user who posted the video, the UFC champion told Trump that he knew the former president would end the war. Another movie which showed Trump hugging his supporters and chanting “Genocide Joe” at the rally, signaled to Chowdhury that the former president did not approve of the death toll in Palestine.

” READ MORE: Some young voters in Pa. they can’t bring themselves to vote for Biden this year because of the war in Gaza

Chowdhury too believes Muslim voters could find common ground with Trump’s “America first” philosophy, but admits there are many issues he would like to press Trump on.

“It would be a disservice to us not to go to him and talk to him about what he has to offer,” Chowdhury said.

Trump’s challenges to Muslim voters

Trump would have two undeniable obstacles to gaining support from activists in this movement. The former president had shown hostility towards foreign Muslims for years and was an outspoken supporter of Israel.

While in his 2015 presidential campaignTrump called for a “complete and complete end to Muslims entering the United States” and implemented it as president travel ban from Muslim-majority countries.

“We have not forgotten 2016 and all the rhetoric that led up to 2016,” Ahmad said, speaking of the anti-Trump group.

Following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 last year Trump has promised to expand this measure and Gaza refugee bar if he is re-elected.

Trump has become critical of Israel in recent months, making such comments in March and April Israel should end the war AND stop killing people. He also criticized the country’s public relations strategy related to the war.

But it was tough love, as in Wednesday’s interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump made clear he believed Israel “had to win.”

“Israel must finish this job,” Trump said. “They need to finish this fast, finish it strong and get back to life.”

In Interview with April Time magazineTrump promised to ‘protect Israel’ and he just last month he told Jewish donors behind closed doors that he supports Israel’s right to continue the “war on terror” and that he will deport pro-Palestinian student protesters, according to the Washington Post. asset he also criticized Biden for not supporting Israel enough, even though the current president sent billions in aid to an ally in the Middle East.

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