Arab American community heads in Michigan encourage voting for “uncommitted” as a signal to Biden.

Michigan community leaders are urging voters to choose “uncommitted” in the state’s primary elections as a way to send a message to President Biden about their dissatisfaction with U.S. support for Israel in the ongoing conflict with Gaza. The movement, known as “Vote Uncommitted,” is gaining traction among Arab and Muslim Americans in Michigan, who feel that Biden’s stance on the conflict does not align with their values and beliefs.

According to organizers, the main focus of the movement is to address Biden’s position on the Israel-Hamas war, which they believe does not reflect the wishes of the over 150,000 Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan who helped elect him into office. In the state’s primary elections, voters have the option to select a candidate or “uncommitted,” which indicates that they are voting for a particular political party but are not committed to any specific candidate. If enough “uncommitted” votes are cast, the party may send delegates to the national nominating convention who are not pledged to a particular candidate.

Michigan is a crucial swing state, with a large Arab and Muslim American population. In the 2020 election, Biden won the state by a narrow margin, but in 2016, it was won by Donald Trump. The organizers of the Vote Uncommitted movement believe that if they can convince a significant number of voters to choose “uncommitted,” it may prompt Biden to reconsider his support for Israel in the conflict with Hamas.

The Israeli military’s actions in Gaza, including cutting off or restricting the flow of supplies and aid to civilians, have resulted in the deaths of over 25,000 people, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. The Vote Uncommitted movement in Michigan is similar to a campaign in New Hampshire, where voters were encouraged to write in “ceasefire” on their ballots in last month’s primary. However, the population and demographics of New Hampshire differ significantly from Michigan.

In an attempt to address the concerns of the Arab American community in Michigan, Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez-Rodriguez, was sent to meet with community leaders. However, they refused to meet with her, stating that the lives of Palestinians should not be reduced to a mere political calculation. Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud expressed his disappointment with Biden’s approach to the conflict, stating that it is not just an electoral issue but a matter of human suffering.  

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