Democratic War Critic Urges Message to Biden

Rashida Tlaib calls on constituents to vote 'uncommitted' in Michigan primary over Gaza offensive
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2024 10:50 AM CST
Democratic War Critic Urges Message to Biden
Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib is joined at left by Rep. Nydia Velazquez as she speaks at an event to call for a cease-fire in Gaza at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 14.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A Democratic critic of Israel's offensive in Gaza, and the Biden administration's role in it, wants constituents to send a signal in her state's presidential primary. In a video posted by the Listen to Michigan campaign, Rep. Rashida Tlaib urges Dearborn primary voters to punch "uncommitted" on Feb. 27 instead of choosing President Biden. She says members of the campaign feel ignored by the government, the Hill reports. "If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted," Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress, says in the video. "We want to stand up for every single life killed in Gaza," she adds.

At Listen to Michigan's launch earlier this month, organizers said they didn't consider withholding a vote for Biden equal to supporting Donald Trump. "It's essentially the Biden administration that is handing the White House over, because we've been abandoned by Biden," said Layla Elabed, the group's campaign manager and Tlaib's sister. She said there would have to be "a policy around a permanent cease-fire and a re-evaluation of military funding to Israel" before her allies would even talk to the Biden team about supporting the president's reelection, per NBC News. "This is beyond an election," Elabed said. "This is humanitarian politics that I feel largely the Democratic Party has abandoned."

Administration officials went to Dearborn to meet privately with Muslim and Arab American activists and local leaders, per NBC. "The meeting was very tense at different times," said Abbas Alawieh, a participant who said two attendees had relatives in Gaza. "There was crying at different times, there was yelling at certain times." White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, per the Wall Street Journal, "We're going to listen and hear what leaders of that community have to say." (More Rashida Tlaib stories.)

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