NAACP urges Biden to halt weapons to Israel and help end Gaza war


The NAACP in a new letter has called on President Joe Biden to stop sending weapons to Israel and use the United States’ influence to end the war in Gaza.

The letter from the civil rights organization comes days after Biden said on May 31 that Israel had proposed a new cease-fire plan and urged Hamas to accept it, saying, “It’s time for this war to end and for the day after to begin.” He said in the surprise announcement that he was outlining a truce proposal from Israel that had been passed along to Hamas.

“The most recent statement from the Biden administration is useful but does not go far enough,” NAACP officials said in a statement. “It is one thing to call for a ceasefire, it is another to take the measures necessary to work towards liberation for all. It is imperative that the violence that has claimed so many civilian lives, immediately stop.”

Biden-Harris campaign spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said in an e-mailed statement, “The President shares the goal for an end to the violence and a just, lasting peace in the Middle East, and he’s working tirelessly to that end.”

“The stakes of this election couldn’t be higher, and with our communities, our democracy, and our freedoms on the line, our campaign is putting in the work to earn — not ask for — every vote,” she said.

More than 36,500 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, since Israel launched its offensive after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks. Nearly 2 million Palestinians have been displaced, The Associated Press reported. About 1,200 people had been killed in Israel as of April, according to the AP. Israeli officials have said some 120 people remain held captive in Gaza, with at least a third believed to be dead.

Biden’s shrinking support among Black voters has increasingly come up as one factor in the national conversation about his support for Israel. Black communities played a key role in securing Biden’s 2020 win, with 92% of Black people supporting Biden over Donald Trump then. Now, nearly four years later, 77% of Black voters say they would vote for Biden. Although the Israel-Gaza war is becoming increasingly important to Black voters, economic concerns are the group’s top issue when determining how they’ll vote in the November election, according to NPR.

Earlier this year, more than 1,000 Black pastors from churches across the country, spurred by their young parishioners, signed an open letter calling on Biden to push for a cease-fire, The New York Times reported. They also called for Hamas to release all hostages and for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank. Like the NAACP, the pastors warned that Biden’s support for Israel could hinder him in the election.

Biden has been under increased pressure in recent months from politicians, college students, activists and others to secure a cease-fire and rescind financial support for the Israeli war effort.

In a poll by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in April, 68% of Black Americans said they wanted the U.S. to support a permanent cease-fire. The number of Black Americans who said they feel connected to the Palestinian plight increased from 32% in October to 45% in April. A previous poll found that although Americans overall tend to support Israel, a majority of Black Americans polled reject the idea of showing “unwavering support” for Israel and they sympathize with Gaza more than other racial groups polled.

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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