Sanders Sidesteps Talk on Race Issues Because He’s ‘a White Jewish Man,’ Campaign Says

March 10, 2020
WATERLOO, IA – JANUARY 31: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to campaign volunteers during an event at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center January 31, 2016 in Waterloo, Iowa. Sanders continues to seek support for the Democratic nomination prior to the Iowa caucus on February 1. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Democratic candidate for president Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) canceled a planned speech on racial issues on March 8 because of his status as “a white Jewish man,” according to his campaign.

Bloomberg reported that at his “racial and economic justice” town hall in Flint, Mich., Sanders had planned to discuss why African American voters should support him but instead gave a speech and didn’t address racial issues. His speech was followed by a panel of six people discussing race issues; among the panelists was Harvard professor Cornel West, an African American who is a campaign surrogate for Sanders and a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Mike Casca, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign, told reporters that the campaign “decided it was probably better to let the people of color who were on the panel discuss instead of [Sanders] giving a traditional speech. He does not have those experiences. He is a white Jewish man.”

Casca added that Sanders “didn’t want to speak on behalf of people of color when there were people of color on the panel.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “No this isn’t a Purim joke. An American running to be our next President disqualified himself from giving speech about racial justice because he is white!”

Forward Deputy Opinion Editor Batya Ungar-Sargon tweeted, “You know who else were white Jewish men? Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman,” referencing two civil rights workers who the Ku Klux Klan murdered in 1964.

“I hope this spokesperson gets a stern talking to from the candidate,” she added. “Using Jewish identity to get out of talking about the need for racial justice is really unacceptable.”

Sanders is currently trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the delegate count, as Biden has 670 delegates and Sanders has 576. The next round of primaries are on March 10 in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.

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