A far-right protestor has disrupted a rally by the leading Democrat contender for President Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish. The protestor, alongside others, chanted slogans and waved a Nazi swastika flag during the antisemitic disruption, hurling racial epithets as he was ejected from the building.
Bernie Sanders parents were Jewish, with his mother being born in New York and his father being an immigrant from Poland. Bernie’s father, Eli, saw his family wiped out in the Holocaust.
Mike Casca, Communications Director for Bernie Sanders, says that “the Senator is aware of the flag with the swastika on it and is disturbed by it.”
The incident is the most serious one yet in a developing campaign of antisemitic abuse that has begun to be directed at Sanders as he plays a leading role in the Democratic nomination for President, with Sanders campaign having being compared to a disease and commentators such as Ben Shapiro questioning Sanders’ Jewish faith, falling into good Jew/bad Jew tropes.
The reaction against the growing abuse against Sanders and his supporters has been muted, with both the right-wing press and even Democrat centrists seemingly far happier to concentrate on the fake news “Bernie bros” campaign that smears Sanders supporters as abusive. The campaign, which wilfully ignores the high levels of abuse from the centre and right, including antisemitism, has been heavily promoted by the likes of Elizabeth Warren.
The swastika incident will once again raise fears about the safety of Bernie Sanders, with far-right groups and militias being noted as virulently anti-socialist and anti-Jewish. These groups and individuals are known to be well-armed and certainly willing to engage in acts of violence to promote their message,. Sanders meanwhile is equally noted for his relaxed attitude in public, both utilising public transport and walking between destinations in Vermont and on the campaign trail.
In another concerning incident on Tuesday, two protestors from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere rushed the stage at Joe Biden’s rally in Los Angeles. One of the protestors became involved in an altercation with Biden’s wife, Jill Biden. The group had already interrupted a Bernie Sanders rally in Nevada last month, grabbing the microphone from the Vermont senator.
While their message is a positive one and no harm was intended toward either Biden or Sanders, the ease with which the group was able to twice reach the stage and candidate has to be a matter for concern.
On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has sent a letter to the current acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and members of the Candidate Protection Advisory Committee to ask them to immediately convene and decide whether they need to provide protection to Biden and Sanders.
In response to the growing criticism, the U.S. secret service has stated that at this time no individual has requested protection from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).