Most commentators are pointing to the allure of the Arab-American vote and the growing woke caucus in the Democratic party to explain President Biden’s about-face in his policy towards Israel in the Gaza war. Since October 7 he has gone from presumptive, blanket support for Israel to a more questioning, skeptical case-by-case approach and even open opposition at times. However, while the Arab vote is, of course, part of the answer, we suggest there is something else also in play: President Biden is trying to avoid a repeat of the riotous run up to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the tumultuous convention itself, all of which led to the victory of the Republican Richard Nixon over the Democrat Hubert Humphrey in the presidential elections that November.

In that 1968 political firestorm, anti-Vietnam war student protesters, having already forced President Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to not run for reelection, now sought to remake the party platform in its own anti-war image on which the probable Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, would run for president that November. However, as noted the main result of their disruptive efforts destroyed any notion of party unity and virtually ensured a Republican victory. The sendoff from the convention was politically lethal.


The cause célèbres that ignited campuses across the country was the Vietnam War, together with the interrelated issue of the compulsory draft. The issues that are today roiling America’s campuses is U.S. support for Israel’s conduct of its war against Hamas and an extraordinary eruption of virulent anti-Zionism and antisemitism. And the protesters’ agenda also includes the dismantlement of Israel as a state, the end of all U.S. aid to Israel, an embrace of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and Israel being labeled as an illegal “occupier” of Arab lands.

The raging campus revolt is now almost seven months old. The Democratic Convention rolls around in Chicago, August 19-22, 2024. So as things now stand, President Biden can expect another three months of unrelenting pummeling in the run up to the convention, disruptions at the three-day convention in full view of the media, with still more of the same for approximately three months leading up to the November 5th general election.

President Biden could hardly be happy about this prospect and has been trying to mitigate it by very publicly taking a combative approach towards Israel that has included criticizing Israel for an alleged “humanitarian food crisis” facing Gazans, claiming Israel is not doing enough to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, criticizing the proposed Israeli invasion of Rafah and pushing Israel to accept a ceasefire with Hamas.

Surely it is well past the time when the illogic of his position needs any further elucidation. Suffice it to say that in the light of Israel fighting a war defending against an attack by a barbaric enemy that uses its citizens as human shields and steals its food supplies, the last remnants of the Hamas leadership and military structure has escaped to Rafah, a ceasefire in place would ensure the survival of Hamas, the Biden assertions are patently absurd on their face except if they are seen as window dressing by a presidential candidate getting more desperate by the day.

Yet President Biden also knows that the polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support Israel as against their predatory neighbors and would hardly take kindly to a broad cut-off of U.S. military support to Israel. And then there would be the Jewish vote to contend with for which the Arab vote is no match.

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that the pumped-up students would be appeased at this point by anything the President can realistically do in the coming months. They have been radicalized and seem to enjoy being the focus of all the attention.

Plainly, the indications are that getting back on the reservation is the politically prudent thing to do. It would also be the right thing to do.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleThe Charedi Draft Crisis: How To Move Things Forward
Next articleProtected By A Mitzvah