Jake Tapper and Bernie Sanders by the Forward

Bernie Sanders Dodges Question On Whether He Feels Safe As A Jew In America

Senator Bernie Sanders skirted around a question about whether he, as a Jewish presidential candidate, feels less safe in America today, saying it’s “not only Jews” who have been targeted.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, host Jake Tapper called on Sanders to comment on the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend. Tapper ended his interview with a question about another racially motivated massacre: the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were killed at prayer last year.

“After the Tree of life shooting, which was also part of this deranged, white-supremacist theory of Jews bringing in Latinos to commit white genocide on this country so this was no longer a ‘white country.’ Again this is an insane conspiracy theory from the far fringes of the fever swamps of the internet,” Tapper said. “But that is what motivated the Tree of Life terrorist against Jews. You would be the first jewish president, and I’m wondering if you feel less comfortable, less safe in America today than you did 10 or 20 years ago.”

Sanders jumped right in: “Jake, it’s not only Jews,” he said. “And you’re right — I went to that synagogue in Pittsburgh and talked to the rabbi there, and what a horrible shooting that was.”

It was the last time Sanders mentioned Jews in his answer.

“It is the African American community that have to deal with the mowing down of people in a church in their community, it is the Muslim community today. … It is the Latino community, it is the gay community,” he said.

Sanders condemned President Trump, “a president who is very deliberately trying to divide us up based on our religion, based on where we came from, based on the color of our skin.”

“That is so un-American,” he said. “We have got to come together as a people, and we can’t let the NRA dominate the conversation.”

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


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