Appearing before a largely black audience in Harlem, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that he is proud of his Jewish faith, citing it as the basis for resisting racist injustice throughout much of his life. He recalled learning from his father as a child that much of his father’s family had been killed by Germany’s National Socialist regime during the genocide of Jews and other enemies. He said that it helped him to understand that racist prejudices are "grotesque and awful."
When Sander later took questions from the audience, an African American man who was later identified as John Prince made statements about Jews and Judaism. "As you know, Zionist Jews -- and I don't mean to offend anybody, alright?" said the man. "They run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street, they run every campaign." The crowd loudly booed at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater. Prince then asked Sanders, "What is your affiliation to your Jewish community? That's all I'm asking."
"I am proud to be Jewish," Sanders answered as the audience erupted with applause. While admitting that he is a "strong defender of Israel,” the candidate continued, “but I also believe that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinians." The crowd loudly applauded and cheered again.
"Love always trumps hate," Sanders said, according to CBS.
On the dais with Sanders were activist/entertainer Harry Belafonte, Ohio politician Nina Turner, and Eric Garner – the daughter of Staten Island man, Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by New York police officer.
On that same day, Sanders won the Wyoming Democratic caucus. While this was his seventh victory in the last eight state contests, it is not likely to yield him much benefit against fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race to the party nomination. Wyoming yielded but 14 delegates. Clinton already has a lead of 200+ pledged delegates. Both Sanders and Clinton have been hitting the streets in New York in advance of the April 19 primary. Sanders, a New York native, said on April 9, "If we can win here in New York State, it will be a huge step forward."
And the June 7 California primary may matter this time around: while Clinton is the leader, Sanders’ support is surging in the Golden State, according to recent polls.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.