dem disagreement

Young Democrats of America slam Biden for condemning violent protests

In a statement released on Saturday, the group defended campus anti-Israel protesters and called for Biden to end unequivocal support for Israel

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President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on May 2, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

Days after President Joe Biden delivered a White House address condemning violence at campus protests, the Young Democrats of America issued a sharply worded denunciation of Biden and asserted its support for the protesters.

One source familiar with the group’s plans said the Young Democrats’ 12-member executive board passed the statement with a slim majority. 

The statement from Young Democrats, an organization that claims a membership of 20,000 Democrats under the age of 36, warned Biden that his stance on the Israel-Hamas war and his criticism of the protests risk the support of a key demographic in a major election year. 

“With so much at stake in the upcoming election, the party cannot afford to alienate the voters who showed up for Democratic candidates in 2020 and delivered victories up and down the ballot,” the group said in the statement. “We stand in solidarity with these peaceful demonstrations and continue to call on the Biden administration to back an immediate and lasting ceasefire as well as the release of all Israeli hostages.” 

The group pledged to continue to support Biden in his election year, but stated that its members are “disheartened by the lack of urgency shown by the administration’s handling of the conflict, and its inability to heed the concerns of young people.” 

The Young Democrats took particular issue with Biden’s characterization of the protests as violent and disorderly, arguing that “disorder” is sometimes necessary in political movements.

“President Biden’s remarks that ‘Dissent should never lead to disorder,’ ignores the history of our country and flies in the face of its values. From the streets of Selma to the classrooms of Little Rock — students have always been at the heart of political dissent in America,” the statement said.

The group also diverged from Biden on his support for Israel in its war against Hamas after the Oct. 7 terror attacks, urging the president to “rethink the disastrous policy of unfettered support for the Israeli government, which has led to unthinkable bloodshed and suffering for the Palestinian people.”

Zach Shartiag, the chair of Young Democrats’ Jewish caucus and a member of the group’s 12-person national board, denounced the statement in a comment to Jewish Insider.

“It is very disappointing for YDA to kick off Jewish American Heritage Month with a statement that both trivializes the seriousness of campus antisemitism and undermines support for Joe Biden,” Shartiag said. “It’s very frustrating for the entire Jewish caucus to be excluded from input when a statement is rushed out on Shabbat.”

The Young Democrats statement comes the same week that the College Democrats of America, another major force in the party, issued its own statement standing with the protesters. The College Democrats’ top Jewish activist accused the group’s leaders of ignoring her requests to forcefully condemn antisemitism. 

A spokesperson for Young Democrats did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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