Arab and Muslim Americans’ best election strategy is obvious

Arab and Muslim Americans’ best election strategy is obvious

Arab and Muslim Americans’ best election strategy is obvious
People raise flags during a rally held by American Muslims calling for a cease fire in Gaza, in Washington. (Reuters)
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Arab and Muslim Americans face a critical moment on Nov. 5. If Joe Biden wins the US presidential election, they lose. Donald Trump might not be a great alternative, but he may be their only choice.
Pro-Israel political action committees pour millions of dollars into the campaign funds of both Republican and Democratic candidates and officials — a system where money means more than ethics.
Israel’s lobbying is unrivaled in its ability to influence and inform Congress, while efforts by the Arab world and the Arab American community do not even come close to having the same impact. There are no comparable pro-Arab PACs, so the pro-Israel lobby has the political football field all to itself.
Another major factor is that most Israelis understand American culture and society far better than most Arabs or Muslims. As a consequence, they better understand the nuances of American politics, fueling Israel’s political successes.
For Arab and Muslim Americans, this creates a quagmire in the country’s two-party system that is difficult to navigate. When it comes to America’s Middle East policies, especially on Palestine, there is no substantive difference between Republicans and Democrats, or even most major third-party candidates.
That is ironic considering that Arabs and Muslims share many of the same conservative values as the Republican Party, although they often lean toward Democratic candidates who embrace issues of freedom, justice, and compromise between Israel and Palestine.
As a consequence of all of this, all three leading candidates for president — Biden, Trump and third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — support Israel’s interests over those of the Arab and Muslim worlds, making voting in November a difficult choice.
But if you set aside the political rhetoric of each candidate and instead look at the consequences of victory for each of them, you can see a clear and effective political path emerge for Arabs and Muslims. They have no choice but to support Trump, despite his past policies (whether exaggerated or not) and the virulently extremist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric of his Republican Party’s leadership.
We have all heard the extremist rhetoric of some GOP politicians, like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley or Reps. Max Miller and Brian Mast. Haley’s hatred toward Arabs and Muslims was reflected in her decision last month to write the words “finish them” on an American-made artillery shell before it was used by Israel on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Do not forget. The people in Gaza are not just Palestinian. They are Arabs too.
Meanwhile, Miller called for turning Gaza “into a parking lot” and Mast compared “Palestinian civilians” to “Nazi civilians” in a speech following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. All have received major funding from the pro-Israel lobby.
But the bigger problem is that Arab and Muslim voters cannot afford to reverse course on the “#AbandonBiden” movement, which has proven effective in nearly every Democratic presidential primary. 

If Biden wins, it means that the Arab and Muslim American communities will have proven to be politically ineffective.

Ray Hanania

After eight months of funding and supporting Israel’s carnage in Gaza, which has taken more than 36,000 lives and probably far more, Biden’s sudden call for Tel Aviv to embrace a ceasefire rings hollow. His support for Israel has come at the cost of 36,000 lives.
For Arab and Muslim Americans, Biden must lose. If he wins, it means these communities will have proven to be politically ineffective. He could then continue to ignore their concerns.
If Trump wins, we know the Republican Party will be fraught with disarray. More importantly, the competition between the two parties will remain intense. Arab and Muslim voters will have even greater value to both sides in that case.
The Arab and Muslim vote will have more political value in a Democratic loss than in a Democratic win. In a Democratic win, they will be taken for granted. In a Republican win, they will have an opportunity to strengthen their voice beyond the handful of “progressives” who champion Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim rights, while also strengthening their position with the Democrats who succeed Biden.
Morally, Biden is worse for Arabs and Muslims than Trump. Four years of Trump’s antagonism does not even come close to eight months of Biden supporting Israel's brutal carnage.
Do Arab lives matter? If they do, then Arabs and Muslims must vote based on strategic reasoning and planning, not on gut-wrenching emotion.
There was some hope that Kennedy, as a political outsider, might pursue an alternative agenda to balance out the interests of Israel and Palestine. However, restricted by limited funding, opposition from the mainstream news media, and the rejection of his own family, Kennedy has apparently decided he cannot risk isolating himself from the pro-Israel community, which can do far more harm to him than the ineffective pro-Arab American community.
Arab and Muslim voters have one goal in the presidential election on Nov. 5. That is to prove that they cannot be taken for granted, as President Biden and his party have done. They must prove their value by showing Democrats the consequences of the party shunning their needs, as Biden has done during Israel’s war on Gaza.
It is better to elect Trump, an inconsistent politician and convicted felon who they may be able to reason with, than to allow Biden and the Democrats to realize that they do not need to listen to the concerns of the country’s Arab and Muslim communities.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at
X: @RayHanania

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