Michigan’s top Arab and Muslim elected state-level official said on Friday that the White House and fellow Democratic leaders have failed to reach out to him about concerns from the swing state’s significant Arab community about Israel’s continuous bombardment of Gaza.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, state Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D) said that he has received “ZERO correspondence” since Oct. 7 from the White House, the Democratic National Committee or the Michigan Democratic Party leadership about the community’s concerns regarding U.S. involvement in the “ongoing genocide unfolding in Gaza.”
“After 110+ days of US-backed Israeli bombings that have killed Palestinian babies and families, many who have ties to Americans right here at home, we will not allow our communities to be utilized for political expediency,” Aiyash, who serves as the state House majority floor leader, wrote.
“I highlight this for several reasons: Michigan has a significant Arab and Muslim community. Michigan is a critical state this November,” he continued in another post. “I am the highest ranking Arab and Muslim state elected in Michigan, and the lack of outreach only suggests there isn’t a legitimate concern or respect for our communities here in Michigan (and broadly across the US).”
Aiyash’s posts further highlight the difficulty facing President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in Michigan, a state that has one of the largest Arabic-speaking populations in the country. Arab and Muslim community leaders have repeatedly voiced their anger with Biden’s continued support for Israel’s ongoing attacks against Palestinian civilians, which are being investigated at the international level as possible genocide.
On Friday, community leaders rejected efforts by the Biden campaign to hold a listening session in the battleground state, with frustrations growing that the president is taking Arab and Muslim votes for granted. When asked about Arab and Muslim community members pledging not to vote for him, Biden dismissed the concern by implying that former President Donald Trump treats the community worse.
Abdullah Hammoud, the mayor of Detroit suburb Dearborn — which has one of the highest percentages of Arab Americans among U.S. cities — was one of the community leaders who was invited to the meeting. He explained why he declined on X.
“The lives of Palestinians are not measured in poll numbers. Their humanity demands action, not lip service,” Hammoud wrote. “When elected officials view the atrocities in Gaza only as an electoral problem, they reduce our indescribable pain into a political calculation.”
“Community engagement is powerful when it is used to shape policies that save lives – these conversations must be had with policy-makers, not campaign staff,” he continued in a separate post. “I will not entertain conversations about elections while we watch a live-streamed genocide backed by our government.”