WSJ Speaks Out Against Threat of Politicians Responding to Voters

The Wall Street Journal (2/26/24) is concerned that they live among us. They are Arab Americans. And what are they doing to threaten the United States? Voting.

The Journal’s editorial board sounded the alarm in response to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a Palestinian American and a member of the left-wing voting bloc known as the Squad, calling for Democrats to vote “uncommitted” in the Michigan presidential primary. “Will Dearborn, Michigan, Determine US Israel Policy?” the headline wondered ominously. The subhead explained: “The pro-Palestinian Democratic left wants to force Biden to stop the war in Gaza against Hamas.”

At issue was that Tlaib’s mobilization of the large Arab-American community of Dearborn, Michigan, against Biden’s pro-Israel stance could put Michigan in play in the 2024 presidential election, thus potentially swaying the incumbent to be more critical of Israel.

Voting as subversion

 Will Dearborn, Mich., Determine U.S. Israel Policy?

The Wall Street Journal (2/26/24) frames the question of whether to keep supplying an Israeli war that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians as “another test of how much Mr. Biden is willing to bend to the left.”

Expressing alarm at the idea of a president adjusting policy in response to democratic pressure, the Journal warned that the “left’s threats are already influencing Mr. Biden’s foreign policy”: As “domestic criticism of Mr. Biden’s support for Israel has increased…Mr. Biden has become much more critical of Israel.”

The editorial board continued:

The problem is that if the Arab Americans in and around Dearborn begin to set US policy, Hamas and Iran will be the beneficiaries. Ms. Tlaib and others claim not to support Hamas or the October 7 massacre, but the ceasefire they want would have the effect of leaving its fighters alive and free to rebuild their terror state. The suffering in Gaza is terrible, but the main cause is Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields.

What the financial class’s top paper is saying is that an ethnic voting bloc in Dearborn might “claim” not to be a Fifth Column—but in fact they are at best unwitting stooges, and at worst lying traitors, effectively supporting official enemies of the US government. (The Journal‘s logic would delegitimize virtually all opposition to US violence—since ending such violence would no doubt be welcomed by its ostensible targets, who are by definition enemies.)

Of course, opposition in Michigan to Biden’s Israel policy extends well beyond Arab Americans (or Muslims). A recent poll of likely voters found that nearly 74% of Michigan Democrats favored a unilateral ceasefire. And voters yesterday in Minnesota—a state with no sizable Arab-American population—cast “uncommitted” votes in such high numbers that it has stunned political analysts and raised alarms about the president’s viability in the general election (Reuters, 3/6/24; NBC, 3/6/24). A “no preference” campaign did surprisingly well in the liberal stronghold of Massachusetts (WBUR, 3/6/24).

Arab Americans in Michigan do have a small degree of political power now, because Michigan is a critical swing state. But that’s not a unique position for an ethnic enclave in American politics. Does the Journal also have a problem with the outsized role South Florida’s Cuban-American population plays in a state with so many electoral votes (Politico, 11/4/20)? Is the Journal concerned with the influence Hasidic voting blocs have on New York City’s politics (New York Times, 10/30/22)?

The uncommitted vote was successful; the AP (2/28/24) called it a “victory for Biden’s anti-war opponents,” reporting that the state will send two uncommitted delegates.

‘America’s jihad capital’


 Opinion Commentary Cross Country Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital

While the Wall Street Journal‘s subhead (2/2/24) refers to “politicians in the Michigan city [who] side with Hamas,” the only official mentioned is Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, who criticized Biden for “selling fighter jets to the tyrants murdering our family members.”

This editorial came just a few short weeks after the paper ran an op-ed (2/2/24) by Steven Stalinsky of the pro-Israel group MEMRI. Stalinsky declared Dearborn “America’s Jihad Capital,” reaching back to stale 9/11 hysteria:


Support for terrorism in southern Michigan has long been a concern for US counterterrorism officials. A 2001 Michigan State Police assessment submitted to the Justice Department after 9/11 called Dearborn “a major financial support center” and a “recruiting area and potential support base” for international terror groups, including possible sleeper cells.

That piece claimed that the problem in Dearborn was that its Arab-American residents were would-be criminals. “What’s happening in Dearborn isn’t simply a political problem for Democrats,” Stalinksy said. “It’s potentially a national security issue affecting all Americans. Counterterrorism agencies at all levels should pay close attention.”

The fallout from the op-ed was immense. Fox News (2/5/24), which like the Journal is a part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, reported that Dearborn’s mayor said that “city police increased security at places of worship and major infrastructure points as a ‘direct result’” of the article. Mayor Abdullah Hammoud (2/3/24) tweeted that the op-ed “led to an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city of Dearborn.” Biden, along with Michigan elected officials and Arab-American community leaders, condemned the article (Detroit News, 2/5/24).

State Rep. Alabas Farhat (AP, 2/6/24) co-sponsored a resolution demanding a retraction and public apology, saying the piece “fanned the flames of hatred and division in our country during a time when hate crimes are on the rise.” He added, “It makes it so that it’s normal to question how patriotic your neighbor is.”

The Journal editorial board doubled down with its own racist, Islamophobic tirade. This vilification of Arab-Americans is the same kind of thinking that led this country to force Japanese Americans into concentration camps in the face of a war against Japan. Enlightened society would like to think that times like that have been relegated to the dustbin of history, but the fact that we’re seeing this today in the Journal is proof that scary times are here again.

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By Ari Paul

March 12, 2024