Today we are going through tough times. It does not help when the leader of the free world increases hate by using his own words. In New Zealand, there was a horrible terror attack against the Muslim community during their prayer service, with the death toll as of today reaching fifty. This is an awful experience, the likes of which I have lived through personally when I lived in Israel. Terror is global and it has no remorse, no matter if the victims are women, children, elderly. It comes in many forms, and this week it came in the form of white supremacy.
Right wing media plays a key part using incitement against Muslims. We see the same incitement against the Jewish people with anti-Semitism, which brings me to my main point of this column. Chelsea Clinton went to a vigil to show solidarity with the Muslim Community and was ambushed by an angry Muslim NYC student.
The student said that Chelsea’s claim that Congresswoman Ilan Omar’s questioning of Israel’s policy was anti-Semitic, was partly responsible for inciting the white terrorist to kill the fifty Muslims in New Zealand. I understand the frustrations and concerns the student had and they were just, but the anger was misdirected. It seemed like there was no one there for her to lash out at about her feelings, and it just so happened to be that Chelsea Clinton was there.
I also hope that the student wasn’t intentionally using this time to seek attention, because at a vigil, this wasn’t the right time to do it. The purpose of the vigil is to honor the dead, and taking your anger out on someone who is nowhere near to blame is irresponsible, and it does not help the situation.
I also want to take this opportunity to say, it’s okay to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia at the same time. Even though Congresswoman Omar had every right to question a foreign country’s policy, Chelsea Clinton, as an American citizen, had the right to question the Congresswoman’s words, and in the long run they had a civil discourse about it. And that’s how things work in a Democracy: we talk to each other. We may have current leadership in the White House who may think otherwise, but he will find out that he is not above the law, as no one is.
As a Jew, I have seen numerous instances of antisemitism. As a liberal Jew, I have seen support from the Muslim community in fighting against antisemitism, as well as seen the liberal Jewish community fighting against Islamophobia. We should continue this fight together, and keep ourselves in check because we need everyone’s support in this. Misdirected anger will only push people away. Chelsea Clinton, I want you to know, you handled the situation with class, and you have my full respect.