Yesterday, Chelsea Clinton attended a vigil at NYU for those killed in the massacre at a mosque in New Zealand. NYU turned out not to be a “safe space” for Ms. Clinton, who is pregnant.
Muslim students berated Clinton, blaming her for the killings. Their theory? They cited a statement she made condemning anti-Semitic remarks following the utterance of such remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar. In response to someone else’s tweet to this effect, Clinton wrote:
Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.
This didn’t sit well with the NYU Muslims. One of them, Leen Dweik, informed Clinton:
This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world. And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deeply – 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.
Clinton replied, “I’m so sorry you feel that way.” This was a reasonable and polite response given that Dweik had made no argument, but merely expressed her “deep feelings.”
It didn’t satisfy the mob, though. Someone shouted, “What does ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ mean?” someone shouted.
I hope it meant, “I’m sorry your feelings are so ridiculous.”
After this encounter went viral, Dweik and one of her friends tried to explain why they hold the insane view that Clinton’s “rhetoric” is responsible for the New Zealand massacre. They told the Washington Post they objected to Clinton prefacing her condemnation of anti-Semitism with the words “co-signed as an American.” They claim that Clinton was saying she’s more American than Rep. Omar.
The inference is idiotic. I’m guessing that Dweik has never sprinkled a course in logic among the various victim studies classes she probably takes at NYU.
But even if it were somehow inappropriate for Clinton to have written “co-signed as an American,” how does Dweik infer from those words that “40 people died because of the rhetoric [Chelsea] put out there”? What’s the causal link? Dweik didn’t tell the Post and the Post’s Colby Itkowitz apparently didn’t ask.
Maybe she didn’t want to be berated.
There’s talk about a “cold civil war” in America. Incidents like the one at NYU make me wonder about the possibility of a cold civil war between liberals and leftists.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a longtime Clinton ally, recognizes the danger. After Donald Trump Jr. tweeted in support of Chelsea, Tanden wrote:
The right wants to exploit disputes in the Center-Left. I know people are upset by the video but I urge all to move on. People were murdered by white nationalist hate. Spend your time fighting that instead of each other.
I suspect Tanden’s advice will prevail now and going forward. Left-liberals are unwilling to purge anti-Semites and other such elements from their movement the way William F. Buckley did with the conservative movement more than 60 years ago.
Their reluctance is an outgrowth of identity politics. The purveyors of anti-Semitism possess favored identities.
It’s also an outgrowth, of course, of ambivalence (or worse) towards anti-Semitism by many on the left. But it’s the identity politics, I think, that keeps those who aren’t the least bit anti-Semitic from taking on even the most egregious anti-Semites in their ranks.