Democrats are becoming concerned that pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protesters will create a public relations crisis for President Joe Biden’s campaign at August’s Democratic National Convention(DNC), The Jewish Insider reported on Monday.
Protesters have disrupted Biden’s speeches and campaign events on several occasions in recent months over his public support for Israel’s war against Hamas in the Middle East. Some Democrats are worried that such a disruption, potentially on a much larger scale, will occur during the DNC convention in Chicago, which could become uncontrollable and tarnish one of Biden’s biggest campaign events and likely Democratic presidential nomination, according to the Insider. (RELATED: ‘F*ck Joe Biden’: Huge Pro-Palestinian Protest Ends Up At Biden’s Front Gate)
Biden is visibly stunned as pro-Palestine protestors disrupt his speech pic.twitter.com/HXRSxHorWJ
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 8, 2024
“If at 4 o’clock on the day that Biden is supposed to get the nomination, there are thousands of people marching down the street in Chicago, with keffiyehs and shouting, ‘No genocide, bloody Joe,’ that’s the story of the day,” Ken Baer, who worked as a speechwriter for several past DNC conventions, told the Insider. “Not only is that the story, it’s that every single reporter is like, ‘Is this going to be 1968 all over again? That’s in the back of their mind. We’re in Chicago.”
The 1968 Chicago DNC was mired in several massive protests against the Vietnam War, according to CNN. Thousands of protesters violently clashed with police, the National Guard and the Army over a series of days outside the convention center, garnering national attention and media coverage.
A similar protest could break out again at the DNC convention in August, which is being hosted in the same city as the 1968 protests, according to the Insider. A DNC spokesperson said organizers are putting “top priority” on security arrangements and coordination with law enforcement in the months leading up to the convention.
DNC events are often heavily scripted and highly controlled, according to the Insider. Biden’s team tasked with ensuring campaign events go smoothly has started prepping for the convention, and many staffers will go in advance to set the stage for the president, ensuring that things like lighting, banners and equipment for TV appearances are set up properly.
“You’re not allowed to bring in a sign to a convention. If you are in the hall, everything is controlled. Everything is part of the performance,” Baer told the Insider.
But even in a highly regulated environment, it may be impossible to prevent protesters from finding their way into an event and causing a disruption, according to the Insider. Creating further concern is the fact that some protesters may be high-level Democrat operatives who are unaligned with Biden on the Israel-Hamas war.
“What makes this difficult is there’s going to be a lot of people who legitimately should be there, like credentialed, probably even… relatively high-up people who will have access to sort of exclusive areas of the convention,” one source who worked on past Democratic campaigns told the Insider. “They might protest, but it’s not like you can just keep out, like, a vice chair of [a state] Democratic Party.”
Almost 75% of young voters (18 to 29 years of age), a demographic that usually leans Democratic, disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Gaza crisis and the Israel-Hamas war, according to a New York Times December poll. Approximately 38% of voters who backed Biden in 2020 said the same. There have been a host of anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the United States since Israel began its counteroffensive in October.
Anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters have disrupted Biden’s public speeches and appearances several times in January alone. A number of Biden’s campaign and administration staff have resigned out of protest for Biden’s support of Israel.
The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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