Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday gave encouragement to a student who criticized Israel during her PR pit stop at George Mason University.
Harris showed up at the Fairfax, Virginia, school to promote voter registration, then stopped in a class to take questions. One student used the opportunity to make pointed comments about Israel, according to a C-SPAN video.
“I see that over the summer there have been, like, protests and demonstrations in astronomical numbers about Palestine,” the student said.
“Just a few days ago, there were funds allocated to continue backing Israel, which hurts my heart because it’s ethnic genocide and a displacement of people, the same that happened in America, and I’m sure you’re aware of this.”
Harris nodded in apparent agreement through the student’s comments, even as the student mentioned “ethnic genocide.”
For some, this was a betrayal moment.
There is the TRUTH, and then there are LIES.
— BrookeGoldstein (@GoldsteinBrooke) September 29, 2021
The @VP Kamala Harris just affirmed two vicious lies about Israel as someone’s subjective or personal truth: that Israel commits ‘ethnic genocide’ and that Americans remain needy because of Israeli aid.
These libels are used to justify hurting Jews.
— Colum Gleason (@gleason_colum) September 29, 2021
Kamala Harris nods as a college student accuses Israel of “ethnic genocide.”
Harris adds, “Your truth cannot be suppressed.” pic.twitter.com/E0Wm36Ffuj
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 28, 2021
During the class, the student had more to say to criticize America.
“I bring this up also because of the issue of how Americans are struggling because of lack of health care, public health care, lack of affordable housing, and all this money ends up going to inflaming Israel and backing Saudi Arabia and whatnot,” she said.
The student said she feels that those opposed to Israel are not being heard.
“And I think that the people have spoken very often in what they do need, and I feel like there’s a lack of listening, and I just feel like I need to bring this up because it affects my life and people I really care about’s lives,” she said.
Harris said she was ‘glad” the student said what she did. The vice president said that whatever anyone wants to say should be considered valid.
“Again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth, should not be suppressed, and it must be heard, right? And one of the things that we’re fighting for in a democracy, right?” Harris said.
“A democracy is at its strongest when everyone participates. It is (at) its weakest when anyone is left out.”
Harris then offered an oblique justification for her failure to stand up for Israel.
“Unity should never be at the expense of telling anyone personally that, for the sake of unity, ‘Oh, you be quiet about that thing. You suppress that thing. Let’s not deal with that thing.’ That’s not unity. True unity is everyone in that room has a voice,” the vice president said.
“The point that you are making about policy that relates to Middle East policy, foreign policy, we still have healthy debates in our country about what is the right path, and nobody’s voice should be suppressed on that.”
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