May 24, 2024

Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s brutal war on Gaza has drawn protests across the country, from college campuses to public streets, and has even led to the president minimizing events that could potentially be interrupted by protesters.

To his top donors, though, Biden’s stance has largely been music to their ears, according to a new report from the Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft. The publication reviewed campaign contributions, philanthropy, and public statements from people who gave more than $900,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, and found heavy sympathy for Israel sometimes coupled with bigotry against Muslims and Palestinians.

For example, longtime Democratic donor Haim Saban, who contributed $929,599 to the Victory Fund, also serves on the board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. The billionaire has also donated $1 million to the United Democracy Project, an independent arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. After Biden briefly paused a weapons shipment to Israel last week, Saban sent an email to Biden aides saying, “Let’s not forget there are more Jewish voters who care about Israel than Muslim voters who care about Hamas.”

Compare that to a recent New York Times poll that found that 13 percent of 2020 Biden voters who planned to defect from him in 2024 cited his foreign policy and stance on Israel’s war in Gaza as the reason. But Biden isn’t likely to hear about those concerns at his big fundraising events.

The article names several other top Biden donors who support Israel’s military actions, described by many as war crimes, and attack Palestinians and the protesters who support them. These include pundit George Conway, mobile gaming magnate Mark Pincus, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Another separate report Thursday revealed the extent to which billionaires are affecting U.S. policy on Israel. The Washington Post exposed a WhatsApp chat group set up in late April by business titans and wealthy individuals who pressured New York City Mayor Eric Adams to use police force to shut down Columbia University’s Gaza Solidarity Encampment. These billionaires included Kind snack company founder Daniel Lubetzky, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.

The fact that wealthy donors seem to have more influence than public opinion over a city mayor, let alone a sitting president, is a travesty. Israel’s war on Gaza has killed over 35,000 people, including more than 15,000 children, much of it thanks to U.S. military aid and weapons. Calls for the Biden administration to end its support for the war and halt weapons shipments to Israel seem to fall on deaf ears. While this might make his donors happy, perhaps Biden should be more concerned about voters and a growing humanitarian crisis.