Sanders Campaign Says Status as ‘White Jewish Man’ Disqualifies From Giving Racial Justice Speech
US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday canceled a planned speech on race issues because he is “a white Jewish man,” his campaign said in a statement.
Sanders was set to deliver the speech at a town hall on racial and economic justice in Flint, Michigan, a majority African-American city.
Sanders campaign spokesman Mike Casca said the speech was intended to “directly address the African-American community” and criticize Sanders’ rival, former vice president Joe Biden, on racial issues.
The decision to cancel Sanders’ speech on race, Casca said, was made because he “does not have those experiences. He is a white Jewish man.”
Instead, a panel of “people of color” discussed race issues after Sanders gave his traditional stump speech.
Included on the panel was Sanders supporter Cornel West, a prominent academic who is bitterly opposed to Israel, supports BDS, and has compared the Jewish state unfavorably to Hamas.
“The rockets of Hamas indeed are morally wrong and politically ineffective — but these crimes pale in the face of the US-supported Israeli slaughters of innocent civilians,” West wrote in a Facebook post in 2014.
Sanders has proven unpopular with African-Americans, a decisive voting bloc in the Democratic party, losing all the primary contests in states with large black populations.
In the upcoming Michigan primary race, Biden is currently beating Sanders 41%-16% among black voters, polls show.
In contrast to Sanders, Biden is well-liked in the African-American community, partially because he is identified with the administration of the first black president, Barack Obama, and seen as being loyal to both the former president and his legacy.