Vice President Kamala Harris faced backlash after offering supportive words this week to a college student who accused Israel of committing “ethnic genocide.”
Harris’ office was doing damage control after the vice president held a question-and-answer session with students while addressing a class Tuesday at George Mason University to mark National Voter Registration Day, Politico reported.
A student who identified herself as part-Yemeni, part-Iranian and “not an American,” said the U.S. affects her life daily because of its military funding to Saudi Arabia and Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“You brought up how the power of the people and demonstrations and organizing is very valuable in America,” the woman told Harris, the Post reported.
“But I see that over the summer, there have been, like, protests and demonstrations in astronomical numbers standing with Palestine, but then just a few days ago there were funds allocated to continue backing Israel, which hurts my heart because it’s an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people — the same that happened in America — and I’m sure you’re aware of this.”
The woman added that she believed the U.S. was ignoring protests even though Harris had been discussing the power of demonstrating.
“Your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard,” Harris responded.
The vice president also said she was “glad” the student spoke up, the Post said.
The Republican National Committee Research Twitter account tweeted a video clip of the exchange between the student and Harris.
Harris’ words drew immediate backlash from Israeli media and prominent Israelis.
“Shameful. There is truth and there are lies. No one is entitled to their personal truth. This attack on Israel is simply a lie and VPOTUS should have called that out,” David Friedman, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, tweeted.
Politico reported Harris’ team quickly went into action to try and repair relationships with pro-Israel Democrats.
The influential Democratic Majority for Israel was contacted Thursday by Harris’ office, Politico reported.
“We were pleased Vice President Harris’s senior staff reached out to us today to confirm what we already knew: Her ‘commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering,'” Mark Mellman, the president of the group, Politico said.
A Harris senior adviser also reached out to Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., co-chair of the Bipartisan Anti‐Semitism Taskforce, a source told Politico. The source also said the vice president’s team contacted Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.