As President Joe Biden gears up his reelection campaign, outreach to Black voters — a group whose support has been crucial to Biden in the past — is a major priority, as the administration has become worried that enthusiasm for the president is dropping among Black voters. The administration’s controversial support for Israel’s war in Gaza has further put Biden at odds with many Black voters, highlighted by a coalition of Black churches calling for the administration to change course and back an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Guardian reported that, weeks after the war between Israel and Hamas began, a group of Black pastors met with White House officials and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis that was occurring in Gaza as a result of the war between Israel and Hamas. The Guardian characterized the Black church leaders as being “disappointed” by the response they received from these government officials. The delegation that visited the White House was part of a group of 900 Black church leaders who organized under the Black Christian Faith Leaders for Ceasefire.

In November, one month into the conflict, this group took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, calling for the Biden administration to push for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and commit to a long-term peace process for the region.

Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, has said that “Black faith leaders are extremely disappointed in the Biden administration on this issue,” referencing the situation in Gaza, according to Essence.


Support for the Biden-Harris administration, once strong among Black voters, has faded during the administration’s first term. Many people have been disappointed by Biden’s failure to achieve more progress on voting rights protections, police reform, and widespread student debt relief. A December poll of Black voters indicated that over one third of them reported that they would either vote for Donald Trump or support “someone else” instead of either Biden or Trump in the 2024 presidential election, which would represent a significant drop in Black support for Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris has been attempting to energize Black voters for the reelection campaign, while Biden has been campaigning in South Carolina, where Black voters’ support for Biden helped him secure the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Now, the crisis in Gaza has further alienated members of the Black community, who have in the past been sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians. Meanwhile, right-wing actors have weaponized the debate over Israel and Palestine to go after prominent people of color. Most notably, Harvard University’s handling of protests against the war, along with accusations of antisemitism on campus, led to the university’s first Black president, Claudine Gay, to resign in early January, only months after taking the job. On an international level, South Africa has accused Israel of committing acts on genocide in a case brought to the International Court of Justice.

Overall, then, the Biden administration’s close support for Israel and its lack of movement on improving the situation in Gaza has been creating increasing criticism from Black people in the United States and elsewhere. This could prove costly to the president’s efforts to win reelection in a tight presidential race.