Guest columnist Ian Rhodewalt: Biden should resign over role in genocide

IAN RHODEWALT

IAN RHODEWALT

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip walk through a street market in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, on June 29.

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip walk through a street market in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, on June 29. AP

A Palestinian child looks at the graves of people killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip and buried inside the Shifa Hospital grounds in Gaza City on Dec. 31, 2023.

A Palestinian child looks at the graves of people killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip and buried inside the Shifa Hospital grounds in Gaza City on Dec. 31, 2023. AP

By IAN RHODEWALT

Published: 07-09-2024 4:03 PM

Modified: 07-15-2024 8:05 AM


 

While it is true that President Joe Biden gave a historically disastrous debate performance, and the fallout in the following week put his chances of winning r-election in distinct jeopardy, we should not forget that he has been funding, abetting, and greenlighting what the International Court of Justice called in January a “plausible” case of genocide.

For those of us who imagine a better world with fully funded education, health care, housing, and decent jobs with living wages, our demands are met repeatedly by institutions — the political establishment, university administrations, corporate media — telling us that this country must instead fund genocide. The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee are now telling the 50 million people who watched the presidential debate not to believe our eyes about the fitness of the president to hold office in the same way that they have told us to not believe our eyes about the horrific images and footage coming out of Palestine, in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The Atlantic magazine published an article in May about the death toll in Gaza where the writer wrote the phrase, “It is possible to kill children legally.” A few days later, following the International Criminal Court’s announcement of warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, and the International Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel must immediately halt its assault of Rafah, Israel proceeded to bomb the tents of refugees in Rafah over 60 times in a span of 48 hours.

The overwhelming bipartisan message emanating from Washington, D.C. is that the ICC’s pursuit of the rule of international law will be met with sanctions. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Our government’s endorsement of this genocide is inexcusable. Biden’s unwillingness or inability to impose conditions on aid to Israel despite Israel’s disregard for massive civilian casualties are further reason that the president should resign.

The British medical journal The Lancet just released a study saying that the death toll in Gaza could exceed 186,000, or 8% of the population of besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Israel is weaponizing famine and starvation against those still struggling to survive there while the White House has chosen to build a political platform and economy based on continuing to prop up Israel’s military at the expense of policies that benefit working people.

President Biden has refused to take immediate, necessary, expansive action to cancel all federally held student debt, which he has the power to do under the Higher Education Act of 1965, but he has chosen to maneuver around Congress and use our taxes to send unconditioned billions to fund the wholesale destruction of universities in Gaza and destruction or damage of 90% of the schools in Gaza, the killing of over 100 Palestinian academics and more than 100 Palestinian journalists in the last nine months.

Pundits and politicians claim that Medicare for All is impossible to afford, and Biden in his debate said, “We beat Medicare,” at the same time that our government arms Israel with missiles to fire at hospitals, and says nothing when the Israeli army forces doctors, nurses and hospital staff to abandon their patients at gunpoint, including babies left to die in the natal intensive care unit.

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Universal pre-K in this country is deemed unattainable and child care workers make poverty wages, but our government will use our taxes to fund the murder of nearly 15,000 Palestinian children. In a moment of record homelessness in this country where the Supreme Court just ruled to criminalize being homeless in its Grants Pass v. Johnson decision, instead of providing housing for those who need it, this government uses our tax dollars to provide the bombs that destroy the homes of and make homeless 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza.

This spring, students at universities and colleges across the country captured the nation’s attention by demanding an end to Israel’s genocide, apartheid and occupation. President Biden has been creating a false narrative about the student protests occurring on campuses across the country, calling them violent, disorderly, intimidating, and fear-inducing. Unsurprisingly, even before the debate, only 24% of young voters ages 18-29 approve of the job he’s doing, while 62% have an unfavorable opinion of him.

President Biden is not just complicit, but is responsible for Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. For this specific reason, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Jim McGovern must publicly call for Biden to resign.

A longtime educator and organizer, Ian Rhodewalt is a voter in the 2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts. He taught from 2010 to 2012 in Palestine and lives in Amherst.