Will Biden’s support for Israel cost him his reelection in 2024?


The impact of Biden’s support for Israel on his reelection prospects in 2024 is uncertain. While he has shown strong backing for Israel during the conflict with Hamas, opinions within the Democratic Party, especially among younger members, vary. The Democratic Party is undergoing demographic and political changes, with some factions expressing reservations about Israel’s policies. Biden needs to navigate this delicate balance between personal commitment, historical party support, and the evolving views within his party as he seeks reelection. The outcome will depend on how voters, particularly younger Democrats, perceive his stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

A frank and massive support from Biden to Israel

Joe Biden has provided substantial support to Israel since the beginning of the war, not only on the political and military fronts. Three days after the massacre, Biden spoke in deeply personal terms about Israel, resonating with the Israelis who were in open defiance of their own government, particularly Netanyahu. He then visited Israel in person to reaffirm the United States’ support, taking the time to meet extensively with the families of Israeli-American hostages.

This commitment has not wavered, with vetoes at the UN against any ceasefire calls and a continuous flow of weapons and money that Israel crucially needs to sustain the ongoing war. This support is particularly noteworthy as Biden is a candidate for reelection in 2024, relying on unanimous support from his party. However, the younger and more activist base within the Democratic Party is increasingly critical of the war, reflecting a profound shift within the party.

A Democratic Party undergoing demographic and political transformation

While support for Israel remains generally bipartisan, as evidenced by the resolution passed on October 10, with 200 Democratic representatives out of 210 (along with 225 Republicans), it varies in intensity. The Democratic Party is thus marked by factions more hesitant toward the country, ranging from criticism of certain aspects of its policies to a challenge of its legitimacy. The most extreme views find little support, with perhaps 2-3 out of 200 representatives in the House.

Within the Democratic electorate, support for Israel has somewhat weakened, especially among the younger demographic. According to a CNN poll from November 2023, 70% of Democrats view support for Israel as a national interest for the United States, but this percentage drops to 40% for Democrats under the age of 35.

Biden is navigating a delicate balance between unwavering personal attachment, political support from the “historical” Democratic Party, and consideration of the demographic and political evolution within his party. This complexity comes into play as he seeks reelection in 2024, relying on unanimous support and commitment from his camp, which could be jeopardized due to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Can the 2024 election be decided in Gaza?

Biden narrowly won the 2020 elections. If 25,000 votes had shifted from Biden to Trump in three states (Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin), he would have lost the election despite a significant lead in the national popular vote (7 million votes ahead), due to the electoral system.

Beyond the demographic and political influence of Arab Americans, which is only significant in Michigan (500,000 people out of a total population of 10 million), it is the youth vote that poses the greatest threat to Biden. The latest polls among 18-29-year-olds show Trump and Biden neck and neck. In 2020, Biden had a substantial lead in this age group (59%-35%), providing him with a comfortable margin of votes. Of the 7 million votes ahead nationally, 80% came from the 18-29 age group.

Let’s revisit our three key states to assess the impact of young voters as well:

  Margin of victory

Biden- Total

Margin of victory

18-24 years old

Margin victory

%- Total

Margin victory

%- 18-24 group

Arizona 11,000 votes 101,000 votes +0.3 point +31 points
Georgia 13,000 votes 64,000 votes +0.2 point +23 points
Wisconsin 20,000 votes 90,000 votes +0.6 point +28 points

In short, without the comfortable margin among young voters, Biden would not have won these three states, and thus the election. The challenge for Biden will be to mobilize American youth for him without abandoning Israel, amidst a context of deep distrust toward Netanyahu and his government, which predates the events of October 7.

Biden and Netanyahu, a long history…

As a supporter of Israel, Biden is wary of Netanyahu, much like the majority of the Democratic Party. In fact, Biden perfectly embodies the decoupling between support for Israel and support for its government.

This distrust did not start on October 7, nor even with the entry into office of the latest Netanyahu government in January 2023, the most right-wing in the country’s history. It dates back to Netanyahu’s accession to the position of Prime Minister in 1996 but has intensified since Biden became Vice President when Obama was president. During a visit to Israel in 2010, Netanyahu announced the expansion of settlements, and Biden subsequently showed clear support for Romney. However, the relationship significantly deteriorated in 2015, during the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal when Netanyahu came to plead against the agreement before the Republican-controlled Congress, without informing President Obama.

Netanyahu’s overt gestures towards Trump, dubbed the “best friend of Israel ever to be in the White House,” did not help matters, both for Biden and the Democratic Party, whose ties with Netanyahu are currently at an all-time low.

The judicial reform further worsened this relationship. Biden made democratic values a major focus of his election and presidency. He supported the protesters and repeatedly warned Netanyahu against this reform. Netanyahu has not forgotten this American defiance, which considerably weakened him in Israel. One might argue that a defeat for Biden would not displease him.

Will Netanyahu seek to defeat Biden?

Biden is currently very popular in Israel, much more so than Trump, which represents a significant change from 2020. According to a survey from the Times of Israel, 40% of Israeli Jews prefer Biden, compared to 26% for Trump in the 2024 election.

The paradox of the situation is that this popularity might go hand in hand with Biden’s downfall in the United States in 2024. As seen, the left wing of the Democratic Party might not forgive Biden for his pro-Israel stance, even if it means electing Donald Trump.

For Netanyahu, a confrontation with the U.S. president is beneficial from a purely cynical standpoint, allowing him to present himself as the defender of Israel against external pressures. Netanyahu has every interest in clashing with Biden to rally his government, making Biden’s defeat politically advantageous. By radicalizing his actions and prolonging the war without proposing a political plan, which is insistently demanded by the Americans to justify their continued support for the war, Netanyahu places Biden in an electoral political dilemma, something Netanyahu likely rejoices in.

Joe Biden’s courageous stance reflects his sincere affection for Israel, not a political calculation that would have led him to adopt a different policy. Netanyahu would much prefer Donald Trump, whose attachment to Israel is primarily transactional and independent of any defense of democratic values, of which Trump is as wary as Netanyahu. A Trump victory would allow Netanyahu to regain maneuvering room both diplomatically and in domestic politics. It is impossible not to see genuine ulterior motives in the growing conflict between Biden and Netanyahu.

Biden’s political courage is all the more admirable as he supports a country while harboring distrust for its leader Netanyahu, who may hold a part of Biden’s political future in his hands.

Sebastien Levi

French American Israeli, JStreet’s member 


Last Event

Press Release