March 16, 2024


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Chicago Pro-Palestinian groups reject White House requests to meet before primary in strongly-worded letter

More than two dozen Palestinian, Muslim and Arab groups across Chicago boycotted the White House’s invitation to several community groups this week, citing the Biden administration’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

In a joint letter to the White House on Thursday, leaders of the groups said there was ‘no point in more meetings’ since the administration ‘already knows the position of the aforementioned groups and our allies across the nation’ to have an ‘immediate and permanent’ cease-fire.

The groups said ‘the White House has not only refused to call for a ceasefire, but also enabled this blatant campaign of ethnic cleansing to take place by providing financial and military means, as well as diplomatic support at the United Nations.’

‘A meeting of the minds is nowhere in sight,’ they wrote. ‘We are interested in serious action.’

Some of the groups include the American Muslims for Palestine, American Muslim Health Professionals, CAIR Chicago Champaign-Urbana Muslim Action Committee, Coalition for Justice in Palestine, Doctors Against Genocide, Islamic Center of McLean County Muslim Bar Association of Chicago and the Muslim Civic Coalition.

According to a source familiar, ‘several of the letter signees who agreed to boycott meetings with the White House were not invited — including CAIR — the organizer of the boycott.’ 

‘The meetings were well attended by members of Arab American, Palestinian American and Muslim communities,’ the source said.

The Coalition for Justice in Palestine — the group that led the letter just days before the Illinois primary — includes several of Chicago’s main Arab and Palestinian groups. The group is urging voters to write in ‘Gaza’ under the option for the president on the ballot next week. 

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a White House official said the meetings with community leaders is ‘part of an ongoing process to engage with communities impacted by the Mideast conflict.’

President Biden has been under growing pressure from the left to ramp up his criticism of Israel as the conflict continues to drive a wedge between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party. Hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters in Michigan, Minnesota and elsewhere have protested Biden’s nomination by voting ‘uncommitted’ in presidential primaries.

Republicans, for the most part, have stood firmly behind Israel, citing its critical role as the U.S.’s firmest ally in the Middle East. They have also backed Israel’s mission to eradicate Hamas, arguing a cease-fire is untenable as long as the terror group exists.

Israel’s bombardment and ground invasion in Gaza was spurred by an Oct. 7 surprise attack launched by Hamas militants who invaded the southern part of the country and killed more than 1,200 people — mainly civilians. Hundreds more were taken hostage into Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters, has said that more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed so far in Israel’s responding military campaign. Palestinian officials have warned that the number of children who are dying due to being unable to access food or medical care is also expected to increase.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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