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Civil Rights Group Calls for Indefinite Weapon Ban to Israel

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), one of the United States’ most prominent civil rights organizations, has publicly called for President Joe Biden to indefinitely halt weapon transfers to Israel. This move signals growing dissatisfaction with the administration’s unwavering support for Israel amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

NAACP’s Stand Against Injustice

In a powerful statement released on Thursday, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson emphasized the organization’s duty to speak out against injustice and hold elected officials accountable. “The Middle East conflict will only be resolved when the US government and international community take action, including limiting access to weapons used against civilians,” Johnson stated. He urged President Biden to “draw the red line and indefinitely end the shipment of weapons and artillery to the state of Israel and other states that supply weapons to Hamas,” the governing Palestinian group in Gaza.

Growing Discontent Among Key Voter Groups

The NAACP’s statement comes at a time when public opinion polls indicate Biden’s support waning among young voters and people of color, groups critical for his re-election bid. Facing a potential rematch against former President Donald Trump in November, Biden has encountered mounting pressure to condition US aid to Israel, especially as the Gaza conflict has led to significant casualties and destruction.

Historical Context and Broader Implications

Hatem Abudayyeh, chair of the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), remarked that the NAACP’s position is a natural progression given the historical ties between Black and Palestinian liberation movements. “It’s time for Biden to heed these calls from the majority of the people in the US, and turn off the tap of money, weapons, and political support to the criminal apartheid state of Israel,” Abudayyeh told Al Jazeera.

Palestinian American comedian and activist Amer Zahr also highlighted the significance of the NAACP’s stance, noting that it reflects a deepening solidarity between Black Americans and Palestinians. “The NAACP has long avoided weighing in. Today, it speaks of Palestine not only in humanitarian terms but also in political terms, calling for liberation. That’s historic,” Zahr emphasized.

Domestic and International Reactions

The NAACP has typically maintained strong ties with top Democratic politicians. President Biden recently addressed the group’s annual dinner, expressing his longstanding commitment to civil rights. However, the current conflict has tested these relationships. Last week, Biden announced a ceasefire proposal intended to bring an “enduring” resolution to the Gaza conflict, yet conflicting statements from Israeli leaders have cast doubt on the feasibility of such a deal.

In a joint statement, the US and 16 other nations urged both Israeli and Hamas leaders to make necessary compromises to achieve peace. “It is time for the war to end and this deal is the necessary starting point,” they asserted.

Electoral Ramifications

Prolonged conflict in Gaza could have serious electoral consequences for Biden. Recent polls show dwindling support among Arab Americans and Black voters, both crucial demographics in key swing states. A survey by GenForward at the University of Chicago revealed that only 33 percent of Black voters aged 18 to 40 would vote for Biden if the election were held today, with 23 percent favoring Trump.

The NAACP warned that continued violence in Gaza could exacerbate domestic tensions, potentially leading to increased racism, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia in the US. Despite international calls for a ceasefire, Israel has continued its military operations in Gaza, defying orders from the UN’s top court to halt its assault on Rafah.

Looking Ahead

As the situation in Gaza remains dire, the NAACP’s call for an arms embargo against Israel underscores a growing movement within the US to reassess its foreign policy and support for Israel. Whether this will lead to a shift in the Biden administration’s approach remains to be seen, but the pressure from key civil rights organizations and shifting public opinion could play a pivotal role in shaping future US policy in the Middle East.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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