Home News Democratic Donors Warn Biden Over Israel-Gaza Policy

Democratic Donors Warn Biden Over Israel-Gaza Policy

Democratic Donors Warn Biden Over Israel-Gaza Policy


A group of more than 100 Democratic donors and activists on Monday sent a letter to President Biden’s campaign warning that progressive anger over Israel’s war in Gaza is “increasing the chances of a Trump victory.”

The signed letter is the latest sign of Democratic disgruntlement about Mr. Biden’s alignment with Israel’s government as it executes the war that began when Hamas militants killed 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

Since then, more than 30,000 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israel, according to the Gaza health authorities. Anger over the fate of the Palestinians has roiled Democratic politics, with Mr. Biden tailed by protesters outside many of his public events calling for a cease-fire in the conflict and for an end to American military aid to Israel.

The letter’s signatories include a handful of donors who gave six-figure sums to Mr. Biden’s presidential campaigns in 2020 and 2024, though a preponderance of donors who signed the letter have given smaller amounts to candidates and causes more progressive than Mr. Biden, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Among those listed are Paul Egerman, a finance co-chairman for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign; David and Elizabeth Steinglass, who between them gave $1.4 million to Democratic candidates and causes in 2020, including $100,000 to Mr. Biden’s campaign committees; Caroline Gabel, an environmentalist who has given $315,000 to Democrats and $51,000 to Mr. Biden’s campaign committees this election cycle; and George Krupp, who gave $1.2 million to Democrats in 2020 and has donated more than $600,000 to them during the 2024 election cycle.

[Read the letter to President Biden.]

Mr. Steinglass declined to comment. Mr. Egerman and Ms. Gabel did not respond to messages. Mr. Krupp, in an interview arranged by Mr. Biden’s campaign, said that while he was upset about Mr. Biden’s position on Israel, he still planned to co-host a fund-raiser for the president in September in Boston.

“I would like to see the president take a harder stand as it relates to humanitarian aid,” Mr. Krupp said. “If he can prevent continued civilian casualties, that would also be a desire for me.”

Mr. Krupp said he was personally uncertain about the letter’s conclusion that the war in Gaza is hurting Mr. Biden politically. The letter laments Mr. Biden’s support for Israel’s war effort and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Regrettably President Biden has provided what appears to be unconditional support for the Israeli operation,” it reads. “The Biden administration has been providing armaments, including 2,000-pound bombs which have been used to flatten entire civilian neighborhoods, causing massive casualties with a high ratio of women and children. President Biden has asked Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties but has threatened no consequences as Netanyahu has continued to ignore him.”

The letter goes on to argue that the war is alienating progressive voters from Mr. Biden and fellow Democrats and warned that if it does not end it could lead to the president losing the November election to former President Donald J. Trump.

“As donors and activists, we have committed much time and treasure in helping increase the turnout of likely Biden voters, particularly among young voters and voters of color,” the letter states. “Many of these voters are now questioning whether the Democratic Party shares their values. If they stay home or vote for a third-party candidate, there is the very real danger that President Biden will be defeated in November. The re-election of Donald Trump would be a disaster for our country and a bigger disaster for Israel/Palestine, and we fear that the Gaza war is increasing the chances of that occurring. Because of the disillusionment of a critical portion of the Democratic coalition, the Gaza war is increasing the chances of a Trump victory.”

About 10 percent of Democratic primary voters have cast ballots for “uncommitted” in states where that has been an option. The “uncommitted” movement has become a stand-in for Democrats disillusioned with Mr. Biden’s policy toward Israel after it began with a group of Arab American activists in Michigan who sought to apply public pressure to Mr. Biden to end U.S. support for Israel’s war effort.

On Tuesday, the Michigan activists who began the “uncommitted” effort in their state announced they would seek to organize a national effort to organize antiwar delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August.

The Biden campaign shrugged off the letter on Tuesday.

“The president shares the goal for an end to the violence and a just, lasting peace in the Middle East,” said Lauren Hitt, a campaign spokeswoman. “He’s working tirelessly to that end.”

Among those who circulated the letter and recruited signatories to it was Liam Connell, a wealthy retiree in the Chicago suburbs. Mr. Connell said he did not wish to elaborate on the letter, which was sent to Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the Biden campaign manager.

“The letter speaks for itself, and I do not wish to be a spokesperson and editorialize,” Mr. Connell said. “I have asked others to do the same. The letter was meant to be a private communication and was not intended to be released to the press or put into the public domain.”

Mr. Biden’s campaign has to date raised substantially more money than has Mr. Trump’s. Independent groups have pledged more than $1 billion to help elect Mr. Biden and allied Democrats this fall — a sum that dwarfs the public commitments from Republicans backing Mr. Trump.

Taylor Robinson and Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.


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