A Bernie Sanders rally in Harlem almost turned ugly when a man demanded the Vermont senator explain his stance on Israel.
As Sanders was ready to call it a day, one of the attendees at the event, John Prince, cited the Democrats’ Jewish ancestry and referred to the widespread rumors of Jews controlling the world’s financial markets.
“As you know, the Zionist Jews — and I don’t mean to offend anybody — they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street, they run every campaign,” said Prince as the crowd started booing the offensive line of questioning. “What is your affiliation to your Jewish community? That’s all I’m asking.”
Needless to say the White House hopeful was not impressed, but managed to keep his cool despite the prejudice behind the question and even replied to it in a manner that successfully diffused the tension in the room.
“I am proud to be Jewish," Sanders replied. "You're not going to find any candidate running for president, for example, talking about Zionism and the Middle East. I am a strong defender of Israel, but I also believe that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.”
The diplomatic answer won him a round of applause as Sanders continued, “There are good people on any side of an issue, and there are bad people on any side of an issue. But if we are going to bring peace, hopefully, God willing, in the Middle East, we’re going to have to treat both sides with respect and equality, all right?”
The Democrat candidate is not new people questioning his faith. In 2015, the radio talk show host Diane Rehm caught Sanders off-guard by asking him why he has a U.S.-Israel dual citizenship. The comment was later retracted and an apology issued once it was discovered it was not true.
But Sanders has a history of defending minorities, whether from his own faith or from another. Last year, he answered anti-Islamic sentiments by movingly embracing a Muslim student after inviting her on stage.