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Speaking at Morehouse College in the midst of anger over the Gaza War, Biden

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President Joe Biden spoke to the graduating class of Morehouse College, a historically Black university in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday. It was a much-anticipated and contentious speech. The speech is being given in the midst of intense demonstrations and outrage on American college campuses about Biden’s continued backing of Israel in the Gaza conflict. Since hostilities began in early October, nearly 35,000 Palestinians—mostly women and children—have died in the fighting. These are huge deaths.

A Plea for Peace in the Face of Crisis

In his commencement speech, Biden stressed the administration’s attempts to mediate a peace agreement while also acknowledging the humanitarian situation in Gaza. “It’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said Biden, who also said he was “working on a deal” to put a stop to hostilities and create a “durable and lasting peace.” His words attempted to redirect the resentment and annoyance that many people felt into a productive route for settlement. “Being a leader means overcoming the most difficult issues. Finding a solution requires directing one’s rage, fury, and heartache,” he stated.

Attractive to Important Voter Populations

Biden’s visit to Morehouse College, which is situated in Georgia, a vital battleground state, is a part of a larger plan to mobilize Black and young voters in advance of the elections in November. Although these votes are crucial to Biden’s political success, many progressive, young, and minority voters are offended by his position on the Gaza crisis. Protests and demands for a change in policy have been sparked by the president’s steadfast support for Israel.

Actions and Reactions

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher covered a demonstration that took place around a kilometer away from Morehouse College. The protesters were against Biden’s address because of his policies on the Middle East. Given the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, students had already petitioned the administration to postpone Biden’s speech. With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as its most well-known graduate, Morehouse College has a rich tradition of promoting social justice, equality, and moral leadership.

Important Acts of Resistance

Many staff members and students showed their support for Gaza by donning traditional Palestinian scarves, or keffiyehs, at the commencement ceremony. Some participants were seen in photos from the event turning their backs on Biden as he was speaking, a quiet but effective protest against his views. DeAngelo Jeremiah Fletcher, the valedictorian, demanded a “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza and wore a Palestinian flag on his graduation cap. “Hear the people of this world, sing the song of righteous justice,” he implored throughout his address.

White House Communications and Reactions

The White House sent a senior official to meet with Morehouse academics and students last week to discuss their concerns in anticipation of the backlash. According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden wanted to convey a “significant message to our future leaders” during the address. Despite these initiatives, well-known figures have voiced dissatisfaction with Biden, including Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She said Black people are “very disgruntled right now with the president” and cautioned that Biden runs the danger of losing a sizable portion of this important voting bloc.

Requests to Modify Policy

Biden’s choice to speak at Morehouse was also questioned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who said that it was improper given his stance on Gaza. “His team should have made the decision that this is not the right time to take the spotlight from Morehouse students to the president and his bad policy on Gaza,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell of CAIR.

National and International Protests

The issue surrounding Biden’s Morehouse speech is a subset of a broader movement at American campuses calling for divestment from Israel and an end to the carnage in Gaza. Despite the fact that police have made several arrests during student protests, Biden’s previous appeal for “order” on campuses has encountered opposition. Protesters have been demanding an end to US military backing for Israel in places like New York and Washington, DC, where the intensity of the demonstrations has been particularly high.

Humanitarian Issues and Assistance

Humanitarian issues have been made worse by the continuing violence in Gaza, which has been made worse by Israel’s ground invasion. Gaza is only receiving a limited amount of supplies, and the US idea to use a temporary floating dock to carry humanitarian material has come under fire. Protests throughout the world persist in demanding an end to the violence and increased international involvement to lessen the suffering of the Palestinian people.

President Biden’s speech at Morehouse College underscores the difficulties in resolving deeply ingrained issues while retaining support from important voter categories as he navigates the complicated terrain of both domestic and foreign affairs. The reaction to his speech highlights how urgently the Gaza situation has to be addressed in a more compassionate and impartial manner.

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