Rolling Out

Facing threat of losing votes, President Joe Biden calls for Gaza ceasefire

President’s actions match up with months of American protesting
President Joe Biden at the White House's 2022 Black History Month event. (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

“Enough,” said President Joe Biden on May 31.

The United States President called for a ceasefire in Gaza with the violent ongoing war between Israel and Palestine.

Biden is calling for a full and complete ceasefire, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, a release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

“Palestinians would return to their homes, and neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the North,” said Biden.

Biden also said America’s resources would shift from assistance for the Israelis to continue to attack the Palestinians to aid for the war victims “every single day.”

Biden’s announcement and proposal come after months of American protests against the United States’ support of Israel in its attacks against Palestine. Essentially the Israel-Palestine conflict that has existed for generations reached a resurgence when Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. Israel, with more resources, responded in a brutal way to Palestinians ending up in multiple deaths of thousands of babies, mothers, and fathers. Israel has been a long-time leading recipient of American foreign aid, giving over $300 billion to the Jewish state.

Protests and boycotts of Israel’s supporters then began in America, highlighted by boycotts of Starbucks, AMC, and showing Beyoncé’s Renaissance film and McDonald’s. Rapper Macklemore released a freestyle showing his support for Palestine and rapped he didn’t know who he was voting for in November’s general election, but it wasn’t going to be Biden because of his support for Israel.

Some college campus protests were peaceful, like at Morehouse College’s graduation. After members of the student body voiced their dissatisfaction with bringing in Biden as this year’s commencement speaker, the majority of the spring 2024 graduates simply did not stand for Biden during the ceremony, when most of the other attendees did. At least one student turned his back to Biden during the President’s speech and one faculty member also turned their back and threw up the Black power fist. The school’s valedictorian challenged the United States to demand a ceasefire during his speech, and Biden applauded.

Other campus protests got ugly, highlighted by a Black woman getting called a monkey by White male frat students at Ole Miss. Although some Mississippi politicians publicly applauded the students’ behavior at the protest, the fraternity came out with an official statement showing the students involved in the viral video were removed from the organization.

Now, five months away from the 2024 election and days after former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict and the Biden-Harris administration forgiving more student loans, it appears Biden is making his last push to keep the supporters that made him President in 2020 happy enough to do it again this fall.

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