Joe Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign has become closely tied to a new moniker: “Genocide Joe.”
The US president can hardly make a public appearance without being protested for his role in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which entered its fifth month on Wednesday.
Biden still refuses to implement a ceasefire even as more than 4 percent of Gaza’s population has been killed, injured or missing and presumed dead.
The Biden administration has given Israel carte blanche to carry out its genocide in Gaza with total impunity, near-constant delivery of weaponry and even bypassing Congress to greenlight weapons sales to Israel. But administration officials discuss the possibility of a ceasefire as if it’s a distant aspiration they’re struggling to achieve.
In reality, the Biden administration holds the power to cease the supply of military aid to Israel at any moment.
With November’s US presidential elections on the horizon, Biden’s actions in Gaza are coming under greater scrutiny.
But protests are also extending to other members of the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers more broadly. Activists are heckling politicians on Capitol Hill, interrupting campaign rallies, staging walkouts and engaging in other forms of dissent.
Protests at Blinken’s house
Activists have been camped out in front of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s residence in northern Virginia for nearly two weeks, in protest over his role in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
Protesters, who have been living in makeshift tents on both sides of the road, engage in what they call a “blood dump” – they spill red paint on the narrow street outside Blinken’s house when he or other family members leave in the morning or return in the evening.
Activist Hazami Barmada, who organized the encampment, joined The Electronic Intifada livestream on Wednesday live from outside Blinken’s house.
“Every time they leave or enter their home, as you might see behind me, we douse the street and the cars with this red, symbolic blood of Gaza’s children,” Barmada told The Electronic Intifada against the backdrop of a red-stained road.“We have signage all over the place that reminds Blinken of his direct role in enabling, funding, normalizing, endorsing and in essence perpetuating an ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people.”
Blinken’s wife, White House Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, also drives by the protesters “numerous times a day” and is “very clearly uncomfortable” with the action outside her house, Barmada explained.
Last month, activists staged blood dumps at the staff entrance of the White House, forcing Biden administration employees to either step on or walk around the fake blood on their way in and out of work.
In December, activists dumped fake blood outside the headquarters of Raytheon, a US weapons giant that supplies arms to the Israeli military. Other weapons manufacturers, including Boeing and Elbit Systems, have also been the site of such protests by activists.
When Israel launched its assault on Gaza in October, the chief executive of RTX, Raytheon’s umbrella company, spoke candidly about how the war would boost his business and make a profit.
Barmada has also organized protests outside the home of Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, whose brother is Israel’s president Isaac Herzog.
When the US Senate voted in January to table a resolution – put forth by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – intending to audit Israel’s human rights abuses according to US law, activists led by Barmada visited the offices of US senators who voted to table it.
Activists presented the lawmakers with doll limbs smeared with red paint, symbolizing the amputated limbs of Gaza’s children.
The White House’s intransigence has been making an impact on the administration’s staff.
Biden administration official Tariq Habash resigned last month in dissent against the president’s actions.
“The White House doesn’t even know the level of dissent within its own ranks,” Habash told Democracy Now!.Habash’s resignation followed that of Josh Paul, a former director at the US State Department who quit in October in protest over continued, expedited and expanded arms shipments to Israel.
In recent weeks, Biden has hardly been able to make a public appearance without protesters interrupting to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
In January, “all of Biden’s big set-piece speeches marking the launch of his re-election campaign have been disrupted by pro-Palestinian protests,” The Guardian reported.
“Until there is a ceasefire, there will be protests and disruptions at every single Biden event. That’s just a fact,” IfNotNow, a progressive American Jewish group, tweeted earlier this month.
On Wednesday, protesters rallied outside Biden’s campaign reception in New York City, causing traffic congestion:Another demonstration took place at Biden’s helicopter landing point in downtown Manhattan. Last month, members of the United Auto Workers protested Biden during his speech accepting the union’s endorsement of his 2024 election campaign.
The union president announced the endorsement despite Biden’s refusal to call for a ceasefire, creating a contradiction with the union’s call.
“A president who supports genocide and is actively sending funds and weapons to Israel to kill children, families, that’s not something that I feel has earned my endorsement,” a UAW member who was one of the disruptors told The Intercept.Protesters also repeatedly interrupted a campaign event Biden held in Manassas, Virginia, where the president touted his support for women’s reproductive rights.
“Israel kills two mothers every hour!” one protester said, to which Biden supporters responded with “four more years!”“Palestine is a feminist issue! Gaza is a feminist issue!” protesters shouted at Biden.
Chants of “Biden, how many kids have you killed today?” were drowned out by Biden supporters who shouted “four more years!”
“Although sporadic protests over the war in Gaza are not unusual at Biden events, the scene Tuesday was at another level,” USA Today reported.
“Biden was interrupted from his opening remarks – and then every couple of minutes until he finished.”
Protesters also interrupted Biden at a political event in Columbia, South Carolina on 27 January.“You’re funding a genocide!” one audience member told the US president. “Four more years!” Biden supporters shouted back.
During a 1 November fundraiser for Biden in Minneapolis, a local rabbi interrupted Biden to ask for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“Mr. President, if you care about Jewish people, as a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now,” Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg said, as other audience members tried to tell her to be quiet or to sit down.
Rosenberg is on the rabbinical council of Jewish Voice for Peace.During a campaign speech by Biden at a historic church in South Carolina on 8 January, protesters interrupted him demanding a ceasefire. As they were escorted out, protesters shouted “20,000 Palestinians, their blood is on your hands.”
The campaign speech was held at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the site of the 2015 murders of nine people by a white supremacist.
With 50 percent of Biden voters believing that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute genocide, it appears the sitting president will face significant challenges on the campaign trail until November.