Biden forced to scale down White House iftar dinner after boycott over starving Gazans

The White House altered its arrangements for President Biden to host an iftar dinner on Tuesday night, planned to mark the Ramadan fast-breaking with Muslim community leaders. Instead, they opted to convene a meeting with the group due to mounting anger and concern from Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim American communities amid the Israel-Palestine war.

A White House official disclosed earlier on Tuesday that President Biden would host a small dinner exclusively with senior Muslim administration officials, as external attendees were expected to join the meeting only after facing substantial resistance from anticipated guests.

Another insider familiar with the plans noted a lack of enthusiasm among participants for a celebratory gathering, prompting a decision to pivot towards a policy discussion instead.

Reports indicated that several invitees had declined to attend, citing frustrations over the administration’s support of Israel amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

This event marks a significant departure from previous Ramadan observations under the Biden administration. Last year, the White House eschewed an iftar dinner, opting instead to host nearly 350 individuals for an Eid al-Fitr reception, marking the conclusion of Ramadan.

The post-meeting iftar was described by a White House official as “a modest breaking of the fast, prayer, and iftar with a select group of senior Muslim administration officials.”

White House officials have engaged in numerous meetings with prominent Arab American and Muslim leaders across various cities. Recently, senior officials met with Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian American community leaders in Chicago. Notably, some invitees declined attendance due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The administration’s handling of the conflict is causing discontent and political challenges for Biden, particularly in battleground states like Michigan, with over 200,000 Muslim American voters. In February’s Democratic primary, more than 100,000 voters chose “uncommitted” as a message to the president. Biden has also faced interruptions from activists during his campaign appearances.

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