Photo Credit: John the intern
Michigan State Senator Sylvia Santana apologized to her Arab constituents for visiting Israel.

On Monday night, October 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined 2,500 demonstrators outside Congregation Shaarey Zedek in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan in a rally supporting Israel following the Hamas atrocities two days earlier.

“Let’s say very plainly a few fundamental truths,” the Governor said, “We here in Michigan condemn this vile act of terrorism. We stand with Israel. And Israel has a right to defend itself.”


The Governor was criticized for her initial milquetoast response to the atrocities after she tweeted: “I have been in touch with communities impacted by what’s happening in the region. It is abhorrent. My heart is with all those impacted. We need peace in this region.”

Frightened by the backlash to her timid statement, Whitmer added: “There is no justification for violence against Israel. My support is steadfast.”

Give ‘em hell, Guv’ner.

According to the Detroit Free Press, her remarks drew loud applause and a standing ovation from the audience that included US Sen. Gary Peters, US House Reps. Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, and Haley Stevens, D-Birmingham, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Lt. Gov. Gil Gilchrist, as well as several state legislators and local politicians.

But, as the Associated Press reported, “None of them attended a rally in nearby Dearborn the next day to show support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who were being killed or forced from their homes by the Israeli military’s response.”

On October 14, NBC News quoted Arab demonstrators who vowed, “I will never vote Biden.”

Ahmad Ramadan, a former staff member of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), recently quit his job as the first Arab American to serve in President Biden’s Department of Labor’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs to lead coalition efforts for the Michigan Democratic Party.

Michigan, a swing state with the largest Muslim and Arab American population in the US, was crucial to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign’s victory. Now, with Biden’s unabashed support for Israel against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Ramadan is threatening to knock Michigan off the president’s win column.

Ramadan told NBC News that “people are very disappointed,” and say they “will not forget what President Biden did and why he lied to them. President Biden won with historic numbers in 2020. And I was proud to represent that, but the last two weeks have really shifted things. I’ve also been getting calls from people saying, ‘I have blood on my hands because I got people out to support him during that campaign.”

Alabas Farhat, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives for the 3rd district who was elected in November 2022, told the AP this week: “In 2024, Democrats are going to have a problem with Arab Americans. For too long, they’ve isolated Arab American voices within the party. They’ve isolated the perspectives of Arab Americans. And on this specific issue, they’ve denied even recognizing the human rights of Palestinians.”

In addition to their rage at the president for supporting the other side, Arab Americans fear retaliation from anti-Muslims. On the Thursday that followed the October 7 massacre, Police arrested a Farmington Hills resident on suspicion of threatening Arab Americans in Dearborn.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan police boosted their presence around houses of worship and schools of both the Arab and Jewish communities in metro Detroit. The FBI Detroit office told the Free Press that federal agents are in touch with local communities around Michigan. US Sen. Peters visited a Royal Oak synagogue that was vandalized earlier in 2023, to show support and discuss the congregation’s security needs.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat representing parts of Dearborn and Detroit, and a known antisemite, poured gasoline on the fire of Arab discontent immediately after the October 7 massacre, stating, “As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”

Axios’ Samuel Robinson reported that Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud criticized President Biden’s response to the killings, and then issued another statement, saying, “Ending this violence requires ending the occupation.”

What occupation? Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, taking with it some 8,000 Jewish settlers.

Wayne County health director Abdul El-Sayed joined the mayor in attacking Biden.

The shape of things to come in the Democratic Party may follow Michigan State Senator Sylvia Santana, whose district includes north Detroit, who dared to visit Israel last August and when she came back apologized to her Arab and Muslim constituents:

“I recognize that my presence on this trip has aroused the anger and disappointment of many members of the Arab-Muslim community,” she wrote. “As such, I sincerely apologize, ask for your forgiveness, and hope you will understand that I had no malicious intent. There is no perfect combination of words I can offer that truly reflects the feelings of my heart. My only goal was to experience this area of ​​the world and improve my understanding of Michigan issues.”

And that’s how Democrats win votes in Michigan!

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