In Rare Remark, Sanders Invokes Judaism at Harlem Campaign Event

At a forum on race and social justice issues, Vermont senator recalls moment he learned as a child of fate of relatives who died in the Holocaust.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders touches the "Tree of Hope" as he takes the stage for a campaign "Community Conversation" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York April 9, 2016.
Reuters

Campaigning in New York City, Bernie Sanders invoked his Judaism as a basis for his understanding of racial injustice.

Sanders spoke Saturday at a forum on race and social justice issues at Harlem's Apollo Theater. He said he can remember tears coming down his face when he learned as a child that most of his father's family had been killed in the Holocaust.

He said that knowledge helped him understand that hatred based on the color of someone's skin or accent is "grotesque and awful."

Sanders said he knew from a young age he wanted to spend his life fighting that type of hatred and systemic racism

The Vermont senator rarely talks about being Jewish when campaigning. He told the crowd he finds it "uncomfortable" to talk about himself.

Sanders won the U.S. presidential Democratic nominating contest in Wyoming on Saturday, besting rival Hillary Clinton and adding to a string of recent victories as the two candidates gear up for a crucial matchup in New York. 

Sanders has won seven out of the last eight state-level Democratic nominating contests, trying to chip away at Clinton's big lead in the number of delegates needed to secure the party's nomination. 

Wyoming's 14 Democratic delegates - fewer than any other state - are awarded proportionally based on support from individuals participating in the nominating contest. 

Early estimates showed that while Sanders won the contest, both he and Clinton would likely receive seven delegates each in the close race, maintaining Clinton's lead overall. 

Going into Wyoming, Clinton had more than half of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination. Sanders trailed her by 250 pledged delegates, those awarded based on the results of the state nominating contests.