At White House meeting, Biden faces protests for supporting Israel.

Washington — The Gaza crisis has prompted protests across, but this week one occurred inside the White House. On Tuesday, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and national security authorities heard Muslim Americans' worries over the Israel-Hamas war in a private meeting.  

Thaer Ahmad, a Chicago-based Palestinian American doctor who helped in Gaza, left shortly after the interview began. Ahmad gave the president a letter from an orphaned 8-year-old girl in Rafah, which Israel wants to attack next. He enclosed a photo. Ahmad claimed Biden’s protest response was mild. The doctor recounted, “He said, ‘I understand,’”  

Muslim Americans are furious with Biden's backing for Israel's Gaza operations, especially the transfer of U.S. arms. Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis in a surprise strike on Oct. 7, starting the conflict  

Israel has killed 33,000 Palestinians since then. Biden has expressed worry over civilian casualties but has not curtailed Israel's military aid.  

Ahmad said the rhetoric has changed. “But concrete actions, we have not seen a significant change.” Instead of a Ramadan dinner, the White House organized this week's gathering. Several Muslim community leaders declined invitations to break their fasts with the president, citing Gaza's famine.  

We understand how this community is feeling in a deeply painful moment,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. She declined to discuss Tuesday's meeting, saying it was private. She added Biden “respects their freedom to peacefully protest” after Ahmad left.  

Ahmad thought the White House visit would be Biden's first chance to talk to someone who had been in Gaza for six months following the war. Jean-Pierre wouldn't confirm. Ahmad said news headlines about U.S. weapons shipments to Israel concerned him as the meeting approached.  

I wondered why the meeting was happening. My presence will make what difference? He said. Ahmad planned to leave the White House meeting soon it began. “I won’t yell. Nothing will be thrown. Ahmad stated he will leave gently. “So I did.” At the end of the month, Ahmad will visit Gaza again.  

View for more updates