61% in US are against sending aid to Israel

The movement for Palestine in the US has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to oppose the US policy of unshakable support for Israel. Last Saturday, 100,000 surrounded the White House as part of the “people’s red line” against genocide

June 10, 2024 by Natalia Marques
Mohammad, an organizer with PYM, addresses the crowd on June 8. Photo: PYM

Broad consent for the Biden administration’s support for Israel is in severe jeopardy. A CBS News poll from June 5 to 7 reveals that 61% of people in the US believe their government should not send both weapons and supplies to Israel. For people under 30, that number jumps to an overwhelming majority of 77%. 49% of people under 30 believe that Biden should encourage Israel to stop military action in Gaza entirely (37% of the total polled also agree with this sentiment).

Poll numbers from just after October 7 reveal the extent to which public opinion has shifted, with 52% of people against sending weapons and supplies to Israel, and only 59% of people under 30. Poll numbers from August of 2021, shortly after the Israeli attacks on Gaza in May of that same year, show similar division in the US public’s support for aid to Israel, with 50% saying that the US should restrict military aid to the Zionist state.

For the past eight months, the Palestine solidarity movement and the diverse range of organizations involved in the movement, have been waging a mass consciousness raising campaign, mobilizing in the streets, shutting down major arteries of transport and the flow of capital, fighting for divestment within universities, alongside many more actions.

A national mobilization on November 4 became the largest pro-Palestine demonstration in the country’s history, with half a million people mobilizing in the nation’s capital. On June 8, 100,000 people gathered outside of the White House, many of them traveling overnight from as far as Florida, Michigan, and Iowa, in an action called by a diverse coalition of organizations in order to draw a “red line” at the White House gates. 

“The ruling class, they’ve shown us that they have no red line,” said Lamees M, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), opening the rally. “They have funded the massacre of Rafah over the past few weeks, the genocide in Gaza over the past eight months, and so many other instances of death and plunder, all in the name of empire and bloody profit.”

More and more people, maybe it’s not the majority yet, maybe it’s just a very large minority, but a very huge part of the population, numbering in the tens of millions… now think that the Israeli narrative is false,” Brian Becker, executive director of the ANSWER Coalition, a national anti-imperialist organization that helped organize the rally, told Peoples Dispatch.

A Gallup poll from March reveals that compared to November of 2023, in which 50% of people in the US approved of Israeli military action in Gaza, only 36% expressed approval in March. Polling from April also indicates that slightly more people in the US believe that Israel has gone too far in Gaza (32%) than believe Israeli actions are justified (27%). 

According to Becker, there are a few things contributing to that shift. “People can watch the genocide in real time for themselves on social media. The capitalist corporate owned media is not presenting it, but they can watch it on social media,” he said. 

“Secondly, we have created this consciousness. By we, I mean all of the groups in the movement who have been in the streets, using all kinds of tactics to show protest, to show opposition, to show struggle. People’s consciousness changes when they are in struggle. When they are in struggle, they open their minds to new ideas. And that’s what we’re witnessing in the United States. This is a new era, a sea change of political consciousness. But it doesn’t happen only spontaneously. It happens because of organization and movement building.”

Peoples Dispatch spoke to some of the demonstrators holding the miles-long “red line” surrounding the White House. One of the demonstrators, a member of Georgetown University Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, issued a message to Joe Biden: “We will not be voting for you,” she said. “Be assured, the universities will not become peaceful. We will not be silent. We will not shut up. It is time for Palestine to be free.”

A young member of Black Alliance for Peace, present at the rally in Lafayette Square in front of the White House, told Peoples Dispatch, “My message to Joe Biden is, we are not voting for you. We do not support you. We do not support the genocide that you have allowed, that you are complicit in.”

Mohammad, an organizer with PYM, spoke in front of the crowd of tens of thousands gathered at Lafayette Square, describing how hundreds of his family members have been displaced across Rafah as a result of the ongoing genocide. “My homeland, decimated. Our homeland, soaked in the blood of our martyrs everyday. And everyday it becomes increasingly difficult to find the energy to move forward,” Mohammad articulated. “I don’t say this to dishearten us, but to validate our feelings currently. We are tired, we are exhausted of this genocide.”

But Mohammad urged the crowd to instead find the impetus to move forward through the people of Gaza, as well as the actions of the movement thus far. “We have to remember who, through the tears and the pains, who we do this all for… It is for the people in Gaza, who exist as our compass,” Mohammad declared.

“We have shut down streets. We have shut down bridges, airports, train stations. Think about it, this has never happened in the history of empire for a very long time. Day in and out, we organize to clog arteries of imperialism here within the belly of the beast.” 

Protesters have vowed to mobilize in Washington, DC once again on July 24, when Benjamin Netanyahu himself is slated to address Congress, despite the International Criminal Court issuing a warrant for his arrest.