Will Gaza-related protests shake up national politics?
Israel’s war against Hamas inspired a weekend of international protests. In London, more than 300,000 people marched on Saturday, calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. In the United States, pro-Palestine marchers gathered near President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware, chanting “Biden, Biden you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.”
Meanwhile, in Paris on Sunday, a 100,000-person march against antisemitism saw Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally, take part, while Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing France Unbowed refused to attend because he felt it was a "rendezvous for unconditional supporters of the massacre [of Gazans]."
Will divisions over Israel’s war have electoral implications? In Britain, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is favored to win the next election, but his refusal to call for a cease-fire has provoked a rebellion within his party. One shadow minister recently remarked that Labour was “hemorrhaging Muslim votes massively – enough to lose seats if there was an election tomorrow.”
In the US,Biden’s handling of the Gaza crisis has split Democrats, with nearly half disapproving of his approach. Meanwhile, support for the president among Arab and Muslims has plummeted – one recent poll showed support for him dropping from 59% to just 17% among Arab Americans – potentially putting him in electoral jeopardy in key swing states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania which are home to sizable Arab and Muslim populations.
We’ll be watching to see whether politicians on the left are punished for their pro-Israel stances in upcoming elections and whether this will lead to a longer-term realignment.