During a presidential campaign rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday night, a man in the crowd several rows above the candidate unfurled a red flag with a swastika emblazoned on it, the symbol of the Nazi Party in Germany from the 1930s and 1940s.
The symbol, then and now, is symbolic of anti-Semitism and white supremacy, and was seen as a direct confrontation and disturbing protest against Sanders, who is Jewish. Supporters at the rally booed the man, and promptly tore the flag away from him.
The booing attracted the attention of Sanders himself, who turned and looked up at the direction it was coming from, but only did so after the flag was taken from the man and he was being escorted out by security. Later, the Democratic candidate for president said he was “disturbed” by the action, according to reporting from the Washington Post.
A white supremacist rasied the Nazi flag at Bernie Rally
Bernie Sanders is a Jewish man whose family was slaughtered by Nazis during the Holocaust
HIS IDENTITY MATTERS
You don't have to support him to show him some empathy & solidarity against this hatepic.twitter.com/k10qWved6p
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) March 6, 2020
A rise in anti-Semitic crimes and actions in the United States has been documented by a number of agencies, including the FBI. Though he claims not to be anti-Semitic himself, the rate of hate crimes overall has gone up by leaps and bounds, corresponding with the rise of Donald Trump according to some experts, first as a candidate, then as he became president of the United States.
The latest display of hatred at a Sanders rally toward the candidate has prompted yet another call for the two top-tier candidates in the Democratic primaries to receive federal protection during the remainder of the race.
After protesters hopped on stage and interrupted a campaign rally for Joe Biden earlier this week — during which Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, took courageous action in physically stopping them from reaching the former vice president — it was suggested by many that the two top Democratic candidates still in the nomination races for president should receive Secret Service detail, The Independent reported.
“Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden need Secret Service protection,” former Obama Press Secretary Robbie Gibbs said. “What happened tonight was nothing short of genuinely scary. It’s happened to Senator Sanders and others on this trail.”
The Secret Service itself does not make such determinations. The Department of Homeland Security makes the final decisions on whether candidates require Secret Service detail or not, after a formal request is made by said candidates.
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr