VP Kamala Harris Receives Backlash After Exchange with Student on Israel 

In Summary

The Biden Administration has been on cleanup duty after a brief moment of a conversation between Vice President Kamala Harris and the student went viral on social media.  

A student, who described Israel’s actions toward Palestinians as “an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people” in an exchange with Vice President Kamala Harris, stirred controversy online and caused Harris’ administration to begin a cleanup process.  

On Tuesday, Harris visited George Mason University to honor national voter registration day. Harris opened up the floor for questions and took some from three students inside a political science class. One of the students mentioned how the United States is funding Israel.  

“You brought up how the power of the people and demonstrations and organizing is very valuable in America. I see that over the summer, there have been, like, protests and demonstrations and astronomical numbers done 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 student said in part of her question, saying the funding occurs as Americans suffer at home.  

The student then added, “And I feel like there’s a lack of listening, and I just feel like I need to bring that up because it affects my life and people I really care about’s life…”  

Harris responded: “I’m glad you did.”  

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“And again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard,” the Vice President said to the student. “Our goal should be unity, but not uniformity. And the point that you’re making about policies 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.”  

Harris received backlash after not delivering a stronger stance towards the student. Symone Sanders, Harris’ spokeswoman, said, “The Vice President strongly disagrees with the student’s characterization of Israel.”  

“Throughout her career, the Vice President has been unwavering in her commitment to Israel and to Israel’s security,” Sanders said in a statement. “While visiting George Mason University to discuss voting rights, a student voiced a personal opinion during a political science class.”  

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