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Pro-Palestine Protesters Disrupt Biden’s Multimillion-Dollar Fundraiser

As Biden held a star-studded fundraiser in NYC, protesters disrupted the event and rallied outside to protest Biden’s support for Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

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Photo: Luigi Morris

Pro-Palestine activists mobilized to protest a high-profile fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday. The event — filled with celebrities and featuring Biden, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton — is expected to bring in $25 million for the Biden campaign, shattering previous fundraising records. That the Biden campaign was able to raise this much money with one single event while actively funding a genocide is a sign of the complete emptiness of the Biden campaign, which has based itself around “defending democracy” but which in reality is perfectly willing to subvert the will of the masses to fund Israel.

Indeed, the movement for Palestine has been the victim of many attacks from the state, university administrations, and businesses as activists are fired, doxxed, arrested, and otherwise retaliated against. Social media conglomerate Meta, which owns Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, banned the pro-Palestinian organization Within Our Lifetime, one of the organizations that called Thursday’s protest. In October, the Senate unanimously voted to declare all pro-Palestinain protests “antisemitic,” despite the fact that many are being led by sectors of the Jewish community who have broken with Zionism. The new McCarthyism that has emerged to combat the movement has been implemented with the full consent of the Democratic Party, whose politicians are now trying to pretend that they are defenders of our democratic rights. 

While Biden addressed a crowd which included war criminals, actors, and comedians, he was interrupted by many activists who shouted: “Shame on you, Joe Biden! You are supporting genocide in Palestine! … You have blood on your hands!” Outside hundreds of protesters rallied, chanting: “Democrats, you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!” and holding signs with slogans demanding an end to U.S. funding of Israel.

Those who mobilized to protest the event can see through the recent shifts in the Biden administration’s rhetoric around the genocide. Recently, Biden and the Democrats have changed their tack and begun to bring more criticisms of the military assault in Gaza and the Israeli government. The widespread opposition to the genocide, increased calls for a ceasefire at home, and Biden’s low poll numbers ahead of the election have forced Biden and other Democrats to take up some rhetorical support of a limited “ceasefire” — a proposal that does not even include an immediate and permanent withdrawal of all Israeli troops and an end to the siege on Gaza. (Then on Tuesday, the U.S. abstained from the recent ceasefire resolution vote made at the UN Security Council.)

But those shifts are cynical attempts to give rhetorical concessions to the movement for Palestine in order to bolster Biden’s re-election chances. The protesters who mobilized in New York City weren’t fooled by these shifts and we shouldn’t be either. 

Along with Biden, former presidents Obama and Clinton are both long-standing supporters of Israel who have sent billions of dollars to sustain the colonial state. Each hold their own blood-soaked legacies of imperialist military intervention abroad. Obama expanded the use of drones in the U.S. military, carrying out over 500 drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during his two terms, while supporting the Saudi monarchy in its relentless bombing of Yemen. Clinton, on top of signing the 1993 Oslo Accords that dashed prospects for Palestinian self-determination, led bloody military interventions in Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, and Kosovo.

After five months of protests, the forces of the Democratic Party and their allies are mobilizing to try to co-opt and quell the movement — much like they did in 2020 with Black Lives Matter. While it is urgent that we double down our efforts to massify the movement in the streets, schools, and universities, we also need to expand our resistance to the genocide with working-class methods of struggle that include disruptive work actions and larger demonstrations and strikes to force the regime to end all military and economic aid to Israel. In imperialist countries like the U.S., which are playing a key role in sustaining Israel to maintain their strategic interest in the Middle East, these efforts, along with the Palestinian people and Jewish workers who reject Zionism, are crucial. 

We defend the right to national self-determination of the Palestinian people and fight for a workers’ and socialist Palestine, within the framework of a socialist federation in the Middle East.

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Sybil Davis

Sybil is a trans activist, artist, and education worker in New York City.

Luigi Morris

Luigi Morris is a member of Left Voice, freelance photographer and socialist journalist.

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