Posted on June 7, 2024

NAACP Asks Biden to Halt Weapons to Israel as He Seeks to Shore Up Black Voter Support

Jarrett Renshaw and Kat Stafford, Reuters, June 6, 2024

The NAACP urged President Joe Biden on Thursday to “indefinitely” halt all weapons deliveries to Israel and pressure the U.S. ally to end its war in the Gaza Strip, sending a reminder that his support for Israel could hurt him among Black voters in November’s election.

The NAACP’s call was a rare instance of the influential civil rights organization taking a position on U.S. foreign policy towards a country without a significant Black population. It appeared likely to deepen the Democratic president’s election-year challenges as he tries to back a key ally abroad and temper unrest among his supporters at home.


The NAACP, which has advocated for racial justice and rights for Black Americans, said the U.S. must use its influence with Israel to bring a permanent ceasefire to Gaza. According to health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave, Israel’s campaign has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, caused widespread hunger and displaced most of the population from their homes.


The NAACP stance represents the latest warning sign that Biden may pay a price at the ballot box among Black voters on Nov. 5 for his staunch support of Israel.

Black voters have long been a loyal Democratic constituency, and they played a significant role in Biden’s victory in 2020 when he beat Republican Donald Trump, whom he faces again this year. But polls show a lack of enthusiasm for Biden among Black voters.

Earlier this year, a group of more than 1,000 Black pastors called on Biden to secure a ceasefire in the crisis.

A poll by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in March found that 59% of Black Americans believe U.S. military aid to Israel should only be used for self defense and in accordance with human rights standards.

Biden’s re-election campaign is not as concerned that Black voters will shift toward Trump as they are that too many of them may sit out the election due to lack of enthusiasm, campaign officials have told Reuters.


In an interview with Reuters, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the U.S. needs to show moral leadership and stop sending weapons to Israel because of civilian deaths. Israel says it takes care to avoid civilian casualties and blames Hamas for, it says, hiding its fighters and command centers among civilians.

Johnson said the NAACP’s decision to speak out was driven in part by young Black Americans horrified by the images of dead Palestinian civilians on their smart phones.