And Biden has taken a tougher tone on Israel. He has issued warnings about its conduct in the war and pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state after the war. On Thursday, ahead of his Michigan trip, he ordered sanctions on four Israeli settlers accused of violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.
“The war in Gaza has been very divisive for our party,” said Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic pollster, “particularly the younger end of our party, for Arab American Democrats.”
Biden’s balancing act
Underscoring Biden’s difficult balancing act, some Michigan politicians say that the president has actually energized voters on this issue in heavily Jewish areas.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the support for Biden in that Bloomfield corridor and throughout Oakland County actually grows as a result of his support for the eradication of Hamas, and for the unconditional release of hostages,” said State Senator Jeremy Moss, the chamber’s only Jewish senator, referring to areas around Detroit. “Joe Biden has struck a chord here.”
The campaign is ramping up its organizing efforts in the state, boosted by leaders like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a campaign co-chair, and other key endorsements, including from the powerful U.A.W. union. And senior administration officials are expected to travel to Michigan this month to talk to community leaders in the state about “a range of issues that are important to them and their families, including the conflict in Israel and Gaza,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday.