State of the Union speech: Biden defends genocide

March 13, 2024

Mainstream Democrats appear to be breathing a sigh of relief after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech March 7. What was unofficially the first campaign speech for Biden’s reelection in November has been deemed well-delivered and coherent — even “fiery.”

The International Action Center sees things differently. We noticed that Biden began his speech with a call to arms — as in more arms to Ukraine to continue the U.S./NATO proxy war against Russia, which Congressional Republicans demagogically oppose.

And we noticed that the few minutes devoted to the genocide in Palestine — during a 67-minute speech — reiterated U.S. support for the Israeli apartheid state.

Uncommitted Minnesota activist Asma Mohammed speaks to the media on the day of the primary election, March 5, 2024.

Biden might appear fiery, but not to anyone who has been at a Palestinian solidarity demonstration, where the speakers represent the oppressed masses and turn their suffering and resistance into passionate words. What Biden did was read prepared lines and raise his voice.

The president bragged that 1,000 U.S. troops will be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea to build a “floating pier” to allow material aid to enter Gaza. But this plan has been widely criticized by the Palestinian resistance, as well as United Nations representatives and groups such as Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children. And there is a concern that, under the guise of delivering aid, Washington will find an opening to move its troops into Gaza.

Neither the U.S. nor Israel has budged an inch when it comes to opening the border crossings where aid trucks are blocked from delivering aid to Gaza. Three times the U.S. has used its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to kill resolutions mandating a permanent ceasefire. Biden only meekly admonished Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying:  “Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority,” while still continuing to provide arms to the apartheid state.

Biden and Netanyahu united

There is no real rift between Biden and Netanyahu. Perhaps it looked to be a breakthrough when Vice President Kamala Harris supposedly called for a ceasefire. Yet she only called for a “temporary” ceasefire and, “Harris reiterated the Biden administration’s ‘unwavering’ commitment to Israel’s security and its right to defend itself from the threat of future attacks by Hamas.” (, March 4)

The very next day Harris met with Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, who proclaimed on Oct. 11, “Now is a time for war.” (, Oct. 11, 2023)

If there is any real rift, it’s between Biden and rank-and-file, working-class voters, who are choosing “uncommitted” on primary election ballots in record numbers. First, around 13% of Michigan Democratic voters, over 101,000, filled in the circle for uncommitted on Feb. 27. In Dearborn and Hamtramck, Detroit suburbs with large Arab and Muslim communities, a majority chose uncommitted.

Then on March 5 — called “Super Tuesday” for the large number of state primary elections — nearly 19% of Minnesotans who voted in the Democratic primary made the same choice. Smaller but significant percentages were recorded in other states, and on March 6 “uncommitted” garnered a whopping 29% of the vote in Hawaii.

While the votes took place within the confines of the capitalist Democratic Party, they reflect the mass anger over the genocide in Gaza. No one with even modest progressive leanings wants to see Donald Trump — who is every bit as pro-Zionist as Biden — win the November election. But millions of U.S. workers are also disgusted with “Genocide Joe.”

The fact that those two are presented as the only choices for U.S. president in November exposes the much-hyped sham that is capitalist “democracy.” As Karl Marx wrote in “The Civil War in France” in 1871, “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”