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Gaza war: US Muslim groups call for boycotting Biden's Eid celebration

'We cannot celebrate Eid with a president who justifies the killing of our brothers and sisters in Palestine,' Muslim-American organisations say
Palestine solidarity protesters rally in Washington, 15 May (MEE/Umar Farooq)
By in
Washington

Muslim-American and Palestine solidarity groups are calling for a boycott of a White House event celebrating Eid on Sunday over President Joe Biden's unquestioning support for Israel during the ongoing conflict.

"The recent statements made by President Biden personally, by White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, and by Department of State spokesperson, Ned Price, regarding the oppression that the Palestinian people are subjected to are outrageous and complicit," a statement backed by prominent US Muslim organisations says. 

"The statements not only completely ignore the Israeli assault on Al-Aqsa and the Muslims worshipping inside, the expulsion taking place in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and the ongoing siege of Gaza that has already claimed the lives of hundreds, but also have the audacity to lay the blame on the victims; the Palestinian people."

American Muslim Bar Association, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Jetpac Resource Center and ICNA are among more than 30 groups calling for the boycott. Progressive organisations, including CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights have also added their names to the statement.

"We cannot celebrate Eid with a president who justifies the killing of our brothers and sisters in Palestine," the statement said.

The organisers are holding an alternative virtual event voicing solidarity with Palestinians and circulating an online petition rejecting the White House celebration.

Biden had announced the Eid celebration earlier this week in a White House statement that said: "Palestinians - including in Gaza - and Israelis equally deserve to live in dignity, safety and security."

The administration, however, has failed to condemn Israeli attacks against Palestinians, including air raids against homes and residential towers in Gaza. The bombardment by Israel has killed at least 145 Palestinians, including dozens of children.

On Saturday, Israel destroyed a building housing the offices of major media outlets in Gaza, including the Associated Press, Middle East Eye and Al Jazeera.

Hours later, Biden held a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed uncritical support for Israel.

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The US president did not denounce the Israeli air strike on media offices, merely expressing "concern" for the safety of journalists. 

Biden has also refused to explicitly call on Israel to halt its efforts to displace Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which sparked the current crisis.

"We don't want any Muslim to attend the Eid festival tomorrow that is organised by the White House at the expense of our people, at the expense of our blood," Osama Abuirshaid, AMP's executive director, said at a rally in Washington on Saturday.

"If you are a Muslim, American Muslim, and you go to this Eid celebration tomorrow by the White House, you are a traitor."

Biden had engaged in unprecedented outreach to the Muslim community ahead of the general elections last November, and Arab and Muslim voters played a key role in his victory in some swing states, including Michigan.

"I'm boycotting President Biden’s Eid celebration," Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director said in a tweet on Saturday.

"I cannot in good conscience celebrate Eid with the Biden Administration while it literally aids, abets and justifies the Israeli apartheid government's indiscriminate bombing of innocent men, women and children in Gaza."