Bullies for Bernie Harass and Blame Chelsea Clinton for New Zealand Massacre

At this should have been the headline of the recent story about NYU students approaching and harassing Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims, blaming her "rhetoric" for the unspeakable white supremacist terrorist attack on a New Zealand mosque - an attack that left 49 people dead. Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her third child. Evidently, the students are upset that Chelsea Clinton dared challenge Rep. Ilhan Omar on her use of antisemitic tropes in challenging the influence of the pro-Israel lobby.

The most visible student, named Leen, is seen on video confronting Clinton, saying, "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."

Ironically, by attacking Chelsea Clinton for calling out something that the Anti Defamation League called antisemitic and Omar herself apologized for, the harasser proves only her own bigotry. The idea that American policy towards Israel or Israel's actions cannot be criticized without raising antisemitic tropes about money and Jews is as much an indictment of the intelligence of those engaging in such criticism as it is bigoted. It is no different from the bigoted belief that Islamophobic tropes are necessary to criticize the actions of Saudi Arabia.

The focus of most of the reporting on this is the fact that the student who most visibly did so, as well as others who could be heard in the background questioning Clinton and performing "snaps" are Muslim. That is the wrong focus. Chelsea Clinton was invited to the vigil by its Muslim organizers, and she is being defended by the vast majority of Muslims commenting on this story. Chelse Clinton wasn't accosted because her verbal attacker was a Muslim.

She was accosted by her attacker because Leen came with a specific political agenda, in the hopes of promoting a political candidate with her notoriety. That candidate is Bernie Sanders. It flashes through quickly in the video, but Leen is wearing a T-shirt with Sanders's campaign logo on the sleeve.

Why in the world would I think that Sanders supporters are targeting Chelsea Clinton? For one thing, the attacker showed up wearing a Bernie T-shirt.

But more importantly, Bernie Sanders has himself been stoking rage against Hillary Clinton - and by extension, her family - on the campaign trail. Just yesterday at an ultra-white campaign rally in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders buffeted the dubious claim that he won more votes from young people of color in 2016 than "Trump and Clinton combined". Earlier this month, Sanders trashed the woman who got more votes for president than anyone in history not named Barack Obama for "not reaching out to [WHITE] working people" in 2016 and pointedly said he doesn't want Hillary Clinton's advice.

Bernie Sanders's supporters are merely following their candidate's lead. Despite some CYA email about "engaging respectfully", Bernie Sanders has not been shy about trashing his former opponent (who isn't even running), and his supporters are continuing their 2016 trend of harassing those who are not willing recruits to his cult.

The story here is not that "Muslim students" accosted Chelsea Clinton. The story is that just like in 2016, a significant portion of Bernie Sanders backers are going to try to bully anyone they happen not to like.

But this time, we are going to stand up to them.

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