NEW YORK (CIRCA via STORYFUL) — Students at a March 15 vigil for Christchurch shooting victims in New York University (NYU) confronted Chelsea Clinton and accused her of stoking Islamophobia through her recent remarks about Representative Ilhan Omar.
Omar, a Somali-American Muslim and first-time congresswoman from Minnesota, tweeted on February 10 that US political support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins” – a reference to $100 bills which feature a picture of Benjamin Franklin’s face. The comment was criticized by politicians on both sides of the political divide, including Chelsea Clinton, who accused Omar of using an anti-Semitic trope. Others defended Omar, arguing that her comments were intended to criticize the influence financial donors have over governmental policy decisions.
This footage shows Leen Dweik, a Muslim Palestinian studying International Relations and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU, telling Clinton that the attack in Christchurch that left 49 people dead was “stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world.”
Clinton responds to Dweik, saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Another person then asks Clinton, “What does ’I’m sorry you feel that way’ mean? What does that mean?”
The students came under fire online after the video circulated on Friday and Saturday, with many insisting that Clinton’s comments were not Islamophobic, or saying that Clinton should not have been confronted by the students due to her pregnancy.
Earlier, Clinton responded about the Christchurch attack, tweeting that she was “heartbroken and horrified by the white nationalist terrorist attack” on the mosques.
Leen Dweik was involved in the confrontation along with Rose Asaf, a 22-year-old Israeli-American Jewish woman who founded the NYU chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Following the spread of the video, Dweik and Asaf issued a statement in which they said Clinton’s “false accusations of anti-Semitism against Rep Omar was deeply harmful” and had “hurt our fight against white supremacy.” They accused Clinton of using her “vast platform” to “weaponize antisemitism and to silence criticism of Israel,” and to fan “the flames of racism and Islamophobia.”
Clinton had an unlikely defender in the form of Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted on Saturday: “It’s sickening to see people blame @ChelseaClinton for the NZ attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism. We should all be condemning anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.”