Biden Apologized To Muslim Leaders As White House Staffers Continue to Doubt His Future

By Robert Cunningham, updated on November 27, 2023

After expressing doubts about the reported death toll in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war, President Biden faced backlash from his staff and Muslim leaders.

President Biden has privately apologized to Muslim leaders for his skepticism over the reported death toll in Gaza, as concerns rise among his staff about his stance on the conflict.

This move comes on the heels of widespread criticism from several Muslim staffers within the administration regarding Biden's robust support for Israel during the conflict. These concerns were not limited to the reported death toll but also encompassed the broader narrative and messaging from the White House.

President Questions Gaza's Reported Casualties

In the thick of the war, Biden had expressed doubt about the reported death toll of 6,000 Palestinians, which included 2,700 children. His skepticism was primarily based on the fact that these figures came from the Health Ministry in Gaza, an entity under the control of Hamas, an organization known for inflating casualty figures.

Complicating matters further, it is a known strategy of Hamas fighters to position themselves within civilian areas, thereby using the local population as a shield against Israeli attacks. This has invariably led to an increase in civilian casualties during such conflicts, further muddying the waters around the casualty reports.

Despite these complexities, Biden's stance sparked a wave of dissent within his administration. This became particularly evident when a group of nearly two dozen staffers, many of them Muslim, voiced their objections regarding the President's pro-Israel stance during the conflict.

White House Attempts to Balance Outreach

In an effort to address these concerns, top White House officials granted a meeting to 20 of these staffers. However, despite discussions around the civilian deaths in Gaza, future messaging, and the desired outcome, the officials stuck to their talking points, leading to a sense of disillusionment among the participating staffers.

The discontent among the staff was especially pronounced among younger, more diverse members, who tended to view the conflict through a different lens compared to their veteran counterparts.

"I don’t have any optimism at this point that anything is changing in terms of the policy," one staffer said. This disheartening sentiment was echoed by many young Muslim staffers, who reportedly considered leaving the administration under pressure from friends and family.

Shift in Messaging Observed

Amid these internal challenges, the White House tried to strike a delicate balance in its outreach to both Jewish and Muslim communities to avoid alienating any section of the voters. This led to a noticeable shift in the administration's messaging in recent days.

Notably, Biden has adopted a more direct tone on Israel, emphasizing the need to minimize civilian deaths and ensure the provision of aid to Gaza. This shift represents a departure from the unequivocal support the President initially displayed for Israel following the onset of the Hamas-led terrorist attacks in October.

As noted by Ivo Daalder, chief executive of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, this shift is not only due to Biden's inclination but also because of the political costs associated with the administration's stance on Israel:

"I think the administration has realized from quite early on that it was in a bind. And it was in a bind not only because of Biden’s own predilection, which is real and strong and important...”

Conclusion

  • President Biden apologized to Muslim leaders for doubting the reported Gaza death toll during the Israel-Hamas war.
  • Several Biden administration staffers, many Muslim, expressed concern over Biden's pro-Israel stance.
  • A group of 20 staffers met with top White House officials but saw no policy change.
  • Young Muslim staffers contemplated resigning due to mounting pressure.
  • The White House attempted to balance its outreach to Jewish and Muslim voters.
  • A shift towards more balanced war messaging has been observed.
  • Biden has begun emphasizing Israel's responsibility to minimize Gaza civilian deaths.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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