Vice President Kamala Harris ignited a controversy this week when she responded to a student’s anti-Israel comment by saying, “Your truth cannot be suppressed.”
Harris’ office said the vice president remains supportive of Israel, but the comment nevertheless led to concern from Israeli officials and coverage in Israeli media, including in The Jerusalem Post.
The vice president’s comments came during a question-and-answer session with students at George Mason University. One of the students raised the issue of American funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which has been credited with saving countless Israeli lives.
“A few days ago, there were funds allocated to continue backing Israel, which hurts my heart because it's ethnic genocide and displacement of people,” the student said, asserting that the money would be better spent on health care and affordable housing in the U.S.
“All this money ends up going to and funding Israel,” the student said.
Harris then responded.
“This is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed. And it must be heard,” Harris said. “... A democracy is strongest when everyone participates. It is its weakest when anyone is left out. And that's not only about being physically present, but that your voice is present.”
David Friedman, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2017 through this year, criticized Harris.
“Shameful,” Friedman wrote. “... No one is entitled to their personal truth. This attack on Israel is simply a lie and VPOTUS should have called that out.”
Harris’ remarks led to her office conducting damage control, Politico reported, with staff contacting Democratic Majority for Israel. “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,’” said Mark Mellman, the president of the organization.
In March, Harris tweeted that she and President Biden are “unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.