The Slatest

Watch Bernie Sanders Respond to a Heckler Who Asks Anti-Semitic Question

John Prince interrupts Sen. Bernie Sanders during a community conversation at the Apollo Theater in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on April 9, 2016.  

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Things got heated near the end of a Bernie Sanders campaign event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where a protester uttered anti-Semitic remarks in the form of a question. “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,” John Prince, 32, shouted. Sanders starts to frown, shakes his hand and holds up his hand: “Brother, brother, brother.” Prince continued: “What is your affiliation to your Jewish community? That’s all I’m asking.”

Sanders apparently knows an anti-Semitic question when he sees one and quickly fired back: “That’s not what you’re asking.” The senator went on to say that he’s “proud to be Jewish” and then used the opportunity to talk about his stance toward Israel, noting that while he’s a big defender of the country he also thinks that the Palestinians need to be taken into consideration. The heckler continued to shout as the crowd around him booed.

“They’re buying Harlem,” Prince then shouted, according to the New York Observer. “If you’re in Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, you see them—they’re playing Monopoly,” he said. “He’s part of them, yes, he’s part of them. That’s like me saying ‘I don’t want to help the blacks out when I get the presidency.’ ”

Sanders had mentioned his faith earlier in the event, citing it as a reason why he is particularly interested in combating racism. “I think most of you know, I’m Jewish,” he said. “I can remember as a kid, tears coming down my eyes knowing that much of my father’s family was wiped out by a lunatic in Germany.”

Tablet criticizes Sanders for failing to turn the anti-Semitic question into a teachable moment: “Sanders had the chance to educate a young progressive audience about the perils of anti-Jewish prejudice, and he didn’t quite rise to the occasion as he has when coming to the defense of other minorities, or when railing against millionaires and billionaires.”

Read more Slate coverage of the Democratic primary.