The incident comes the day before Bernie Sanders heads to Michigan.
By Ron Kampeas
JTA — A protester later identified as a known white supremacist unfurled a Nazi flag at a Bernie Sanders rally in Phoenix.
The incident caught on social media shows a man in the higher seats of the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum unfurling the swastika flag on Thursday. Sanders, the Vermont senator vying with former vice president Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, is Jewish.
The man was subdued and taken out. Imraan Siddiqi, a staffer with the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations, posted a photo on Twitter of someone standing on the flag and tagged “snatched from a Nazi.”
“Whoever it was, I think they’re a little outnumbered tonight,” The Washington Post quoted Sanders as saying.
A reporter for ABC 15 Arizona posted video on Twitter of what appeared to be the protester sauntering out of the arena shouting a racial epithet.
The Anti-Defamation League identified the white supremacist as Robert Sterkeson of Glendale, Arizona, who on multiple occasions has posted video of himself harrassing Muslim and Jewish targets.
On Oct. 27, 2018, the day a white supremacist murdered 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue complex in Pittsburgh, Sterkeson unfurled a Nazi flag at a Jewish National Fund conference in the Phoenix area shouting anti-Semitic epithets while someone filmed him.
“Flying the swastika at Jewish National Fund conference on the same day as the synagogue shooting! #RobertBowersDidNothingWrong,” Sterkeson said at the time on social media.
Sanders will be in Michigan on Friday, March 6 at Detroit’s TCF Center and at the University of Michigan on Sunday, March 8.
Horrifying. Last night, a man brandished a Nazi flag at a Bernie Sanders rally in Arizona.
It’s a clear attack on the only Jewish presidential candidate — in a time of rising white nationalism & antisemitism spurred on by Trump & the GOP.
It must be condemned all over the news. pic.twitter.com/Y0XEbpvCtk
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) March 6, 2020