Report: Biden's support for Israel is damaging his image in Ireland

 January 21, 2024

President Joe Biden has long touted his family's Irish heritage, having family roots that stretch back to County Mayo and County Louth.

Yet as Newsweek reported last week, many in Ireland are now demanding that the president reverse his policy regarding Israel. 

Poll shows strong support for Palestinians in Ireland

The magazine noted that Biden has thus far refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israeli forces are waging war against Hamas.

That operation was launched in response to the October 7 terror attack which left 1400 people dead and hundreds more taken hostage.

The president's position isn't popular in Ireland, however, where polling data suggests there is strong support for the Palestinian cause.

Robert Schmuhl is a professor emeritus of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame as well as an adjunct professor of law and government at Dublin City University, and he told Newsweek that Biden will face a backlash.

"Biden is paying a personal price in terms of popularity"

"President Biden's Irish heritage is important to his identity, but its value in Ireland is in jeopardy for what appears to many to be a lack of concern for the Palestinian people caught up in the war in Gaza," Schmuhl was quoted as saying.

"The perception abroad, particularly in Ireland, is that America's support of Israel tends to obscure a human tragedy—and Biden is paying a personal price in terms of popularity and respect for him," the academic explained.

"A big question is whether this opinion will affect the decisions the Irish government will make vis-a-vis Biden and the administration," Schmuhl continued.

"Will, for example, Irish officials forgo the traditional St. Patrick's Day activities in the White House this March? That's difficult to imagine, but well worth watching," he added.

Growing number of Democrats say Biden is too supportive of Israel

University of Notre Dame international relations professor Michael Desch offered a similar assessment, saying, "Blood is generally thicker than water and President Biden has had a good relationship with the Emerald Isle over the years given his family ties to the Old Sod."

"But," Desch stressed, "there are limits to how much Irish ancestry will make up for the gallons of innocent blood being shed in Gaza by Israel with the Biden administration's reluctant support."

"In general, global opinion is turning against Israel and the United States and it is not surprising that many in Ireland would share this critical view," he pointed out.

Dissatisfaction isn't just found in Ireland, as it is also becoming more pronounced within his own party: a CBS News/YouGov poll released last month found that 38% of Democrats think he has been too favorable towards Israel.

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