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The Great Biden Israel Gamble

joe biden
Joe Biden’s hopes for a second term are precariously dependent on the volatile nature of youth politics. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
April 22, 2024

I woke up this morning, like many of you, to yet another series of striking images from the Palestinian solidarity protests that have swamped American college campuses in recent days. One photo had already gone viral by the time I had my first sip of coffee: An outraged Jewish student at the University of Michigan named Josh Brown posted a photo of a pamphlet being distributed at a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” or a tent village erected in Ann Arbor, on Monday. It read, in part, “Freedom for Palestine means Death to America.” Like a lot of politically engaged Gen Z kids, Brown was media savvy. He posted his photo to X and immediately tagged @JakeTapper.

“Death to America” is probably a distraction from the protestors’ stated push to get their university to divest from companies doing business with the state of Israel—but then again, student activists have never been known for disciplined political messaging. Whatever the case, that single photo ensured that the University of Michigan would be the latest school to endure the campus wars over the war in Gaza.