Arab American Fury Toward Biden

On Monday, at a hip Arab coffee shop in Dearborn, Mich., Nihad Awad, a co-founder and the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, told me that as a Palestinian American Muslim who voted for Joe Biden in 2020, he feels “betrayed bitterly” over the administration’s position on the war in Gaza.

So he was in the Detroit area this week to support the campaign to get voters to choose “uncommitted” in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday. But as our conversation progressed, it became clear to me that his objective is not simply to send President Biden a message about the war and make him shift his policy, as is the aim of many I spoke with in Michigan in the past few days. Awad wants more.

He doesn’t only want Biden to be politically corrected; he wants him politically crushed.

Of the president, Awad says, “I don’t think he can continue to lead our country.” When I asked if there is anything Biden can do to change his mind, Awad said, “He can retire.”

Earlier, I had put the same question to Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, who said that for most Muslims, anything short of Biden “resurrecting 29,000 dead Palestinians like Jesus” would mean that they will never vote for him again.

Of course, working to defeat Biden also means aiding the return of Donald Trump, but Awad and Walid seem to have made their peace with that.

Awad said he doesn’t like Trump and doesn’t welcome a second Trump term, but he’s prepared to accept that outcome for the sake of punishing Biden. “I’m going to live under Trump, because I survived under Trump, because he’s my enemy,” he says. “I cannot live under someone who pretends to be my friend.”

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