Several prominent American Muslim
organizations boycotted the annual White House
Eid celebration on Sunday, adding to the criticism leveled at the Biden administration
over its handling of the ongoing violence in Gaza and Israel
For weeks, President Joe Biden
has refused to echo the international community's call for a cease-fire in Gaza, where hundreds of people
, mostly Palestinians
, have died, and has remained silent on Israel's planned evictions of Palestinian families from an east Jerusalem
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
reiterated Monday that the US would not join calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas
militant group; instead, the Biden administration approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu
, infuriating Muslim groups and lawmakers.
Dissenting groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and American Muslims for Palestine
, took part in a counter-Eid event called “Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid Event,” and have since circulated petitions urging the White House to take action and organized protests across the country.
“A strong rebuke of the Biden administration’s callous response is required; we will not allow the White House to exploit our holy Eid celebrations for political gain at the expense of the Palestinian people,” said a statement from American Muslims for Palestine, a Palestinian advocacy organization that called for the boycott and circulated a 7,000-signature petition alongside dozens of other organizations.
According to a White House spokesperson, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden
spoke at the virtual Eid event, and Hady Amr, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian affairs, sent a video from the region.
“In keeping with our virtual Passover and Easter events, this event marked one of the most important holidays for the Muslim community. A significant number of major Muslim organizations participated and appreciated the event’s tone and acknowledgement that the Middle East
conflict has prevented many from celebrating in the region,” the spokesperson added.
Over the weekend, more than 100 Democratic Party
delegates sent their own letter to President Obama, calling Biden's Eid greetings "hollow" in light of the increasing violence in Gaza.
“As Muslim delegates, but also as human beings, we are disgusted by President Biden’s failure to demand an immediate ceasefire, and as Muslims, we are deeply disheartened to see that there is no actual culturally sensitive engagement with the Muslim community,” said Nadia Ahmad, a Democratic National Committee
member and co-founder of the Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition.
“We want to send a message that we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, but we also expect our government to uphold the values of the constitution and to treat all people equally,” she added.
During the holy month of Ramadan, which ended last week, Israeli security forces threw tear gas and fired rubber bullets at Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, an east Jerusalem neighborhood, putting their homes at risk of being given to Israeli settlers, sparking protests from Palestinians and left-wing Israelis.
Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), André Carson (D-Ind. ), and Rashida Tlaib
(D-Mich.) issued a statement last week condemning the attacks on worshippers on Capitol
“For decades, we have paid lip service to a Palestinian state, while land seizures, settlement expansion, and forced displacement continue, making a future home for Palestinians increasingly out of reach,” the statement read, adding, “It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives.”
The Israeli army launched a barrage of attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza over the past week, including the Muslim holiday of Eid, and destroyed a tower that housed Al Jazeera
and The Associated Press
offices. According to the Gaza Health
Ministry, at least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes, including 59 children
and 35 women, with 1,300 people injured.
Dozens of Senate Democrats
, led by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), called for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip
Sunday night “to prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict,” including long-vocal lawmakers Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) and the Senate's second most senior Democrat, Dick Durbin (Ill.).
“It would be appalling for the Biden Administration to proceed with $735 million in precision-guided weaponry to Netanyahu with no strings attached in the wake of escalating violence and attacks on civilians,” Omar said in a statement released Monday. “If this goes through, this will be seen as a green light for continued escalation and will undercut any attempts at brokering a ceasefire.”