Watch Nidhi Razdan — US needs to walk the talk on Gaza Video Credit: Gulf News

Last month, for the first time, the United States abstained from a vote on a resolution at the United Nations which called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The abstention allowed the resolution to go through, signalling how much the tide has turned against Israel in the last few months.

Until now, Washington had vetoed several votes at the UN which had called for a ceasefire. But more than anything else, the abstention exposes the Biden administration’s complete lack of moral clarity and courage in the Middle East as thousands have died in Gaza due to Israeli action.

There is no doubt that Israel suffered tremendously with close to 1200 people killed on Oct. 7 last year. But what has followed with the Israeli retaliation in Gaza is not just disproportionate but also reprehensible.

Over 32,000 people are dead in Gaza and the enclave is staring at a massive starvation crisis. A UN backed report has warned that famine is “imminent” in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July. Just days earlier, the European Union accused Israel of provoking famine and using starvation as a weapon of war. The growing anger against President Biden’s approach on Israel and Gaza is being reflected in America’s domestic political battles.

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A key demographic

Ahead of the elections in November, key battleground states like Michigan have made their disapproval clear. Michigan has more than 200,000 Muslim American voters who are a key demographic for the Democrats.

In the state’s Democratic primary in February, more than 100,000 voters chose “uncommitted” to send a message to the president. Polls show that more and more younger American voters do not approve of Biden’s foreign policy especially the Middle East. It would be an understatement to say that Biden’s relationship with progressives and Muslim Americans is very frayed at the moment.

This week, a prominent Palestinian American doctor abruptly walked out of a meeting with the US President at a White House Iftar in protest. Dr. Thaer Ahmad has travelled to Gaza and seen the devastation first hand. “I said it was disappointing I’m the only Palestinian here, and out of respect for my community, I’m going to leave,” Ahmad said he told the president.

CNN reported that many people declined the White House invitation altogether, frustrated with the administration’s Israel policy and the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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Words of support for Gaza

Following the meeting, a White House official issued a statement saying that “President Biden and Vice President Harris know this is a deeply painful moment for many in the Muslim and Arab communities and that Biden “made clear that he mourns the loss of every innocent life in this conflict” and expressed commitment “to continue working to secure an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free the hostages and significantly increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

It is also true that the subtle shift in the US position recently has angered Israel. Ultimately, however, the sincerity of any shift in the US position will be reflected in arms sales to Israel, something that goes beyond words and symbolism.

As I write this piece, ‘The New York Times’ is reporting that the Biden administration is pressing Congress to approve a plan to sell $18 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Israel.

According to the paper, the deal, which would be one of the largest US arms sales to Israel in years, would also include munitions, training and other support. This proves that any words of support for the people of Gaza are hollow. The world’s oldest democracy has no moral compass.