Shortly after the New Zealand mosque terrorist attacks, two young students confronted Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims over her criticisms of Representative Ilhan Omar, who has been under fire (mostly racist fire) for going after Israel.
Let me back up.
A couple weeks ago, Omar started publicly criticizing Israel and Israeli lobbies operating in this country. Everybody freaked out because, if you know anything about the U.S., this is just Not Done. Not by politicians, anyway.
Some Jewish Americans said she was engaging in antisemitic tropes in her criticisms. Some said she was not. Many right-wing assholes who constantly engage in antisemitic tropes and support the same white supremacy that absolutely targets Jewish people jumped on the opportunity to attack the Muslim, Somali, hijabi, refugee congresswoman, because they are racist and Islamophobic assholes.
I am not Jewish so it's not for me to say if there was engagement in antisemitic tropes going on in Omar's statements/tweets. But I recognize opportunistic bullshit when I see it, Fox News.
Chelsea Clinton, who is also not Jewish, publicly criticized Omar and tweeted directly at Omar during this time chastising her for the alleged antisemitism. She and Omar had a bit of a discussion on Twitter, which appeared to be friendly. Omar also engaged with multiple Jewish community leaders, apologized, and promised to educate herself on antisemitic language.
Fast forward to last weekend. The terrorist attack happens, and Chelsea Clinton attends a vigil for the victims. Two students, one a Jewish American-Israeli, Rose Asaf, and one a Palestinian Muslim, Leen Dweik, took a video of themselves confronting her for piling onto Omar, saying that the attacks on the congresswoman are part of cultural Islamophobia that leads to shit like mass shootings at mosques.
And everyone flipped out.
I've been on Twitter a lot lately because of work, and due to the nature of my work, I get a lot of liberals on my feed, which is much different from my preferred social media platform, Tumblr. So I saw a lot of outrage toward these students, and particularly toward the Palestinian Muslim woman, with people saying it was ridiculous for them to "blame" Chelsea for the shootings.
My position is this: Every person of an oppressed community has good reason and a right to be sensitive about their own oppression. Are Jewish people hypersensitive about antisemitism? Fucking right they are, and they have earned that sensitivity. Do you know how many times I've paused when a dude says something that would seem completely innocuous to another dude but I'm there scanning for misogyny because I'm sitting on a lifetime of enduring cultural misogyny so I'm hypersensitive to it?
If you're not Muslim, you have no right to say that the Muslim woman who confronted Clinton was overreacting or wrong to confront her about her role in global Islamophobia. All of us who are not Muslim have a role in Islamophobia. We all have a responsibility. It's fucked up to attack a Palestinian Muslim woman for confronting a non-Muslim and non-Jewish white woman who probably should have stayed in her goddamn lane at a vigil to mourn the slaughter of Dweik's people. Even if Dweik was wrong, and I don't think she was, let her take out some of her grief on a rich, famous white woman from a massively powerful political family. Chelsea's very privileged and this confrontation could not possibly have harmed her in any substantial way.
At the very least, you should be reading the words of the students who confronted Chelsea, and I'll repeat that one of them was Jewish because people are conveniently leaving that out, on why they did what they did.
Opinion: We Confronted Chelsea Clinton At The Christchurch Vigil. Here's Why.
I also feel the need to say that Chelsea should know that "I'm sorry you feel that way, that wasn't my intention" is a classic shitty non-apology.
But mostly, every one of us who is not Muslim absolutely needs to FEEL how we contribute to Islamophobia. We need to be thinking about it and watching for it and when Muslim people tell us that we fucked up, we need to listen.
If your first instinct was to jump to the defense of the very privileged white woman at the expense of a Palestinian Muslim woman who now has to endure the assault of every Islamophobic asshole with a Twitter account, you need to think about how you contribute to the very same Islamophobia that killed those 50 people in New Zealand.