Anti-Israel protests may cost Biden election, supporters, journalists warn

As anti-Israel demonstrations continue across the U.S., some are questioning how this might effect President Biden's re-election chances.

Apr 24, 2024 - 07:25
Anti-Israel protests may cost Biden election, supporters, journalists warn

As anti-Israel protesters continue to demonstrate across college campuses and rage at the White House's stance on the war in Gaza, more journalists, reports and even supporters are saying the conflict could fatally damage President Biden's re-election hopes.

"Well, I think Trump is really bad, and that abortion rights, tax policy, climate change, and the American public's health care are very important issues so I am annoyed that pro-Palestinian protestors are doing a lot to sandbag Biden's re-election," Bloomberg columnist and Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias wrote Tuesday on X, responding to a list of demands presented by far-left, anti-Israel student groups.  

In addition to taking over elite college campuses like Columbia and Yale, and shouting down Biden and other prominent Democrats, anti-Israel protesters have blocked traffic, including on the Golden Gate Bridge in California, which was shut down for hours because of a protest last week.

Biden condemned antisemitism this week while also criticizing people "who don't understand what is going on with the Palestinians," but nothing appears to be assuaging the far-left flank who are enraged over continued financial aid to Israel.


Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport, who is staunchly pro-Israel but also a huge critic of former President Trump, posted a video to social media on Monday and argued far-left student protesters were going to hand the election to Trump.

"You know what's going to be great?" Rapaport sarcastically remarked. "When d--- stained Donald Trump gets elected — and I ain't saying I'm voting for him — but when he does win, and he's going to win, the screaming and yelling that you [expletives] on college campuses are doing now, the screaming that you are doing at Jews about, ‘Free Palestine,’ the screaming you are doing at Zionists, is nothing compared to the screaming you are going to be doing come November, when d--- stained Donald Trump wins [the] presidency because of you. Because of you."


The New York Times made a comparison to the famously chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention in a recent article about the rabid protests this year against Israel. In response to the unpopular Vietnam War and the shocking assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King that year, the convention in Chicago was marred by rioting and violence.

The Times reported that pro-Palestinian activists are preparing to be at the Democrats' 2024 convention this summer, also in Chicago.

"Back then, many voters watching the nightly news got the impression that the party could not control its own delegates, never mind a country that was wrestling with an unpopular war," the outlet reported. 


"We’ve got a big antiwar movement, lots of tumult, a convention in Chicago. What could go wrong?" former Obama adviser David Axelrod told the Times. Axelrod has been a prominent voice on the left that supports Biden for president but warned he has serious weaknesses heading into the general election.

Rev. Mark Thompson, along with Columbia student Maryam Alwan, who was suspended from the university, joined MSNBC's Joy Reid on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing student demonstrations. Thompson also made a comparison to the anti-war protesters at the Chicago Democratic National Convention in 1968. 

"Honestly, it looks like we are headed back there. What happened in 1968, Democratic convention in Chicago, people protesting the Vietnam War. Here we are again, protesting a war and what the well-paid consultant class doesn’t seem to be able to get over to the White House is that he is very much looking like LBJ [President Lyndon B. Johnson] at this moment," Thompson said.

Due to his unpopularity and a splintered Democratic Party, Johnson pulled out of the running for the 1968 nomination despite being the incumbent president and eligible for another term.

"If the White House isn't careful, they're going to hand this election over to the Bibi of America, which is Donald Trump," Thompson continued, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 


"President Biden is running to protect democracy and believes in Americans' constitutional right to make their voices heard while Donald Trump promises to be a dictator on day one, says he'll ignore parts of the constitution, and threatens protestors at his rallies with violence. This November, the American people will choose democracy and freedom over chaos and division like they did four years ago," the Biden campaign's Seth Schuster told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

The campaign also pointed to a comment from the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, John Della Volpe, who recently told the Washington Post that there was a "disconnect in our minds around what we’re seeing on TV at these college campuses versus what young people feel and think about the conflict and the war and the humanitarian crisis." 

Volpe noted his survey of voters under the age of 30 found that they rank issues such as inflation and abortion higher than the Israel-Hamas war. 

After the House of Representatives passed a $95 billion aid bill on Saturday, which includes $60.8 billion of aid for Ukraine and $26 million in aid for Israel and relief for Gaza, Muslim American voters are even more agitated with the president. 

When Biden signs the package as he's pledged, "that heartless decision could mark the point of no return for what remains of the White House’s relationship with the American Muslim community and other Americans opposed to the genocide in Gaza," Council on American-Islamic Relations' government affairs director Robert McCaw told NBC News.

Osama Abu Irshaid, the executive director for Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, told the outlet he isn't planning to vote for Biden or Trump. He said it was up to Biden to earn their votes back.

"We don't think it's on us. It's on Biden," Abu Irshaid told NBC. "If our votes and the votes of people who support the Palestinian human rights are so important, then Biden should be listening."

Biden sailed to the Democratic nomination in the primary, but potential fault lines emerged with the significant emergence of "uncommitted" voters voicing their protest against his Israel policies in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A young voter, who reluctantly voted for the president in 2020, recently told the New York Times on a podcast that she wouldn't support him this time around, and said she would rather Trump win, as she doesn't see a huge difference between the two candidates.

"Biden has shown that he’s not necessarily a better president than Trump, in my opinion," the young voter said. "And so the reason I’m saying, you know, no to Biden is because I would rather Trump win and then us probably experience very similar impacts, negative impacts that we had from the Biden administration than let his administration know that in any way I approve of what he’s done or of what he’s going to do."