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Biden delivers speech at Morehouse College amid anger over Gaza war | Israel’s War on Gaza News

The historically black college is one of several U.S. universities to hold protests demanding an end to the killings in Gaza.

Joe Biden sought to quell anger on US college campuses over his support for Israel amid the Gaza war, as the US president delivered a graduation speech at a historically black university attended by Martin Luther King Jr.

Biden’s graduation speech on Sunday at Morehouse College in Atlanta, in the electoral battleground state of Georgia, aims to encourage black voters and young people to support him ahead of the US elections in November.

“It’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Biden said in his speech Sunday morning, adding that he was “working on a deal” to end the fighting and “build a lasting, lasting peace.”

“Leadership is about tackling the most intractable problem. It’s about channeling anger, frustration and grief into finding a solution. It’s about doing what you believe is right, even when it’s hard and lonely,” he said.

The US president is expected to face a tight election campaign against his Republican rival and predecessor Donald Trump, and he is trying to woo key segments of his Democratic Party base.

But Biden has faced widespread anger — particularly from progressives, young people, black voters and others of color — over his unwavering support for Israel amid the Gaza war.

More than 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli attacks since the conflict began in early October.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting Sunday morning from a protest in Gaza about a mile from Morehouse College, said protesters believed Biden should not deliver the keynote address because of his Middle East policies.

Students asked school to cancel Biden’s speech on supporting Israel despite disaster humanitarian situation in Gaza.

“Morehouse College has a history of social justice,” Fisher said.

“His most famous alumnus is Dr. Martin Luther King, who of course spoke about equality throughout the world and the importance of politicians always doing what is right, rather than what makes them money. votes.”

Photos from the commencement ceremony, during which Biden received an honorary diploma, showed students and faculty wearing kaffiyehs. Some turned their backs on the US president as he spoke.

Morehouse College valedictorian DeAngelo Jeremiah Fletcher had a Palestinian flag emblazoned on his graduation cap. Fletcher called on Sunday for “an immediate and permanent ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip.

“Listen to the people of this world, sing the song of just justice,” he said during his promotion speech.

Morehouse College graduate holds Palestinian flag during Biden speech
A Morehouse College graduate holds a Palestinian flag while Biden speaks, May 19 (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

The White House sent a senior official to meet with Morehouse students and faculty members last week to discuss objections to Biden’s speech, according to US television network NBC News.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that Biden was seeking to use the speech as “an opportunity to raise and deliver an important message to our future leaders.”

Bernice King, the civilian icon’s daughter, told Bloomberg in an interview last week that black voters are “very unhappy right now with the president” and that Biden risks losing a considerable share of their votes. voice.

The civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had said Biden should not speak at Morehouse.

“His team should have decided that this was not the right time to draw Morehouse students’ attention to the president and his poor policies toward Gaza,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell of CAIR.

The controversy over Morehouse’s speech came after weeks of major protests at US universities, including Atlanta University, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and divestment from Israel.

Biden said earlier this month that “order must prevail” on campuses, and police have made thousands of arrests across the United States raiding student encampments.

Protesters were arrested Saturday during a violent police crackdown in Brooklyn, New York, while hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand an end to the bloodshed in Gaza and the arming of Israel by the United States.

The protests, which have spread globally, continue amid Israel’s ground invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza as well as a deadly incursion in Jabalia in the north.

Meanwhile, Israel is allowing very little aid into the enclave, and the United States is implementing a much-criticized plan to deliver humanitarian aid via a temporary floating jetty.

News Source : www.aljazeera.com
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