A pro-Palestinian group has accused President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign of blocking two women from entering a Nevada primary campaign event because they were wearing hijabs.
The group Nevadans for Palestinian Liberation, which is calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, posted a video this week showing two Muslim women, both of whom were wearing headscarves, being denied entrance to a get-out-the-vote event on Saturday hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris in Las Vegas.
The video of the encounter went viral after the group posted it to Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter) earlier this week. “The Biden/Harris campaign is clearly fanning the flames of Islamophobia,” Nevadans for Palestinian Liberation wrote in the tweet accompanying the video, which has since garnered millions of views.
🧵 On Saturday, January 27th at the @KamalaHarris "Get The Vote Out" event in Las Vegas, two visible members of the Muslim community wearing hijabs were not let in by campaign officials.
The Biden/Harris campaign is clearly fanning the flames of Islamophobia. pic.twitter.com/FOhSyHOm1I
— Nevadans for Palestinian Liberation (@npl_palestine) January 30, 2024
“Why are you choosing us not to go in when we have an invite?” one of the women can be heard asking a campaign staffer in the video, adding: “That’s racist. Is it because we have hijabs?”
“This is disgusting,” the woman continues. “Obviously we’re the only hijabi women… they’re disinviting us because we have scarves on our head, literally… when we have an invitation just like everyone else.”
Although campaign staffers in the video don’t respond directly to those accusations, Biden’s campaign has since strongly denied that the women were refused entry to the event because of their race or faith.
“These individuals were among the group of people not allowed to attend Saturday’s event after previously disrupting and shutting down events with Democratic elected officials,” a campaign aide told HuffPost. “As a policy, the campaign will disinvite individuals known to have disrupted prior events.”
In a statement Tuesday, Nevadans for Palestinian Liberation reiterated that the “two women targeted by the Biden-Harris staff and Nevada Democrats staff did not attend [the event] together but were grouped solely because of the hijabs they wore.”
The statement also included a quote from the unnamed woman who recorded the viral video, in which she said she has “never disrupted a political event” in her life and “any insinuation of me doing so is categorically inaccurate.”
The Biden campaign said the other hijab-wearing woman in the video was among the pro-Palestinian protesters who recently disrupted a Las Vegas event where Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) had been speaking. At that event, three protesters listened to Rosen’s speech before standing up and confronting her, per a report by The Nevada Independent, to ask why she “supports genocide” and has backed sending billions of dollars in aid and weapons to Israel.
The incidents are the latest examples of the Biden campaign and Democratic officials grappling with persistent protests over the president’s unwavering support for Israel’s monthslong siege of Gaza, which has killed some 26,000 Palestinians. That offensive, launched in retaliation for a Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people, may amount to a “plausible” genocide, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week.
Earlier this month, protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza were dragged out of a United Auto Workers event after disrupting a speech Biden was giving. The day before, during another Biden speech, protesters chanted at the president, “Genocide Joe!” Actor and director Rob Reiner was also prevented from reaching a Biden fundraiser he was hosting after pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked off roads to the venue.
The steady drumbeat of these demonstrations, according to a report from NBC, led to donors raising concerns with the Biden campaign during a December summit in Washington. The Biden campaign has since selected Doug Landry, a veteran of presidential campaign logistics, to deal with the protests. If the Las Vegas incident is any indication, Landry’s task will be a delicate one, especially as support for a cease-fire in Gaza grows among Democratic voters.
“The administration’s disregard to respond to the demands of their constituents with regards to calling for a ceasefire and the end to the occupation of Palestine is ludicrous,” Nevadans for Palestinian Liberation said in its statement. “It’s shameful to see our elected ‘leaders’ rubber-stamp this genocide.”