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Video: VP Harris clashes with anti-Israel protester, says ‘I’m speaking right now’

Vice President Kamala Harris on the NBC Today Show, Feb. 17, 2021, at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
June 11, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris was interrupted during a Democratic Party fundraiser in Michigan on Saturday by a protester shouting about the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The vice president was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Democratic Party Legacy Dinner on Saturday, June 8, and used the event to touch on a range of topics for the 2024 presidential campaign. As Harris addressed the ongoing Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, a member of the crowd attempted to interrupt her with shouts.

“We mourn all the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today,” Harris began. 

She went on to say, “For the past eight months, President Biden and I have been working every day to bring this conflict. . .” before the protester’s shouts derailed the vice president.

“I’m speaking right now,” Harris said in response to the interruption. “And I value and respect your voice, but I’m speaking right now.”

Video of the incident showed two uniformed individuals and two other individuals escorting a woman from the room. The woman being escorted away reportedly shouted, “It’s genocide,” in an apparent reference to the ongoing conflict.

The South African government has appealed to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations court, to rule that the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip constitutes a genocide of the Palestinian population there. The ICJ has issued interim votes urging Israeli restraint in the conflict but has not reached a final determination on South Africa’s genocide arguments. 

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As of this week, the Gaza Health Ministry reported some 37,000 Gazans have been killed and 84,000 have been injured in the course of the eight-month-long conflict. The Gaza Health Ministry is a health bureaucracy that exists under the jurisdiction of the Hamas-controlled Gaza government. The ministry’s numbers do not distinguish combatants from noncombatants, and its numbers cannot be independently verified amid the active conflict.

While communicating some concerns about civilian deaths and humanitarian conditions in the conflict, the Biden administration has generally supported the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip and included new military aid for Israel in a broader $95 billion foreign aid package passed by Congress in April.

After the heckler was removed from the room during her Saturday speech, Harris went on to say, “We have been working every day to bring this conflict to an end in a way that ensures Israel is secure, brings home all hostages and [ends] the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and ensures that Palestinians can enjoy their right to self-determination, dignity and freedom.”