Granddaughter of Hillary Clinton's 'Mentor' Arrested in Anti-Israel Protests

Ellika, Zoe, & Marian Wright Edelman, unknown man, Hillary Clinton (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
June 11, 2024

The granddaughter of Hillary Clinton's mentor was arrested on felony burglary charges after she occupied a Stanford University building during anti-Israel protests last week.

Zoe Edelman, a rising senior and a managing editor of the Stanford Daily, was one of 13 students who barricaded themselves inside the Stanford president's office while demanding that the school divest from Israel, according to arrest records.

Edelman is the granddaughter of Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, whom Hillary Clinton has called "my hero and mentor." Clinton interned with Marian Wright Edelman while studying at Yale Law School, and she later served on the board of the Children's Defense Fund.

"Adults can have mentors, too. I had one after I met Marian Wright Edelman during my first year of Yale Law School," Clinton wrote in The Person Who Changed My Life, a book on mentorship edited by Matilda Cuomo. "Marian, a civil rights lawyer and children's advocate, inspired my own commitment to justice."

Edelman's husband, Peter Edelman, served in the Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, but he resigned in protest of the administration's welfare reform policies in 1996. Peter Edelman later served as president of the liberal New Israel Fund.

Zoe Edelman's father, Josh Edelman, was the longtime K-12 deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photos show the Stanford student posing with Hillary Clinton at a gala in Washington, D.C., in 2022.

Zoe Edelman was part of a group calling itself "Liberate Stanford," which smashed a window and broke into the administration offices around 5:30 a.m. last Wednesday. After entering, group members began "knocking down interior doors to gain access to locked private offices," where they "damaged and vandalized offices and their contents," according to Stanford administrators.

"Surveillance video shows that a number of individuals entered the building but then left before the protestors who wanted to be arrested began barricading themselves inside," school officials said.

The activists barricaded themselves in the president's office for three hours. Arrest logs show that Edelman and 12 other students were taken into custody by Stanford police on felony burglary charges.

The news comes days after protesters caused extensive damage to campus buildings, including graffiti reading, "Death 2 America," "De@th 2 Isr@hell," and "kill cops," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Clintons and the Edelmans have remained close despite some political disagreements in the 1990s. Marian Wright Edelman has called Clinton an "old friend" but criticized her economic policies as too conservative.

"Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but [the Clintons] are not friends in politics," Edelman said in a 2007 interview with Democracy Now. "We profoundly disagreed with the forms of the welfare reform bill, and we said so."