Sen. Bernie Sanders called on people across the United States Sunday night to "recommit to standing together to defeat bigotry, violence, and anti-Semitism" in the wake of a violent attack on a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York over the weekend.
"What we're seeing right now—we're seeing it in America, we're seeing it all over the world—is a rise in anti-Semitism," Sanders said at an annual Hanukkah event in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the attack.
"We're seeing somebody run into a kid here in Des Moines because that child was a Latino," said Sanders, who is vying to become the first Jewish president in American history. "We're seeing people being stabbed yesterday in New York City because they were Jewish. We are seeing people being assaulted because they are Muslim."
"If there was ever a time in American history where we say no to religious bigotry," Sanders added, "this is the time."
Bernie Sanders at a Hanukkah event in Iowa gave a short speech on diversity and religious freedom, joked about not burning down the ice skating rink, lighted menorah, and sang a blessing with about 90 audience members.
Rabbi Jacobson handed the presidential candidate a kippah. pic.twitter.com/gNB1Z2YXFd
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) December 30, 2019
The attack took place late Saturday evening in Monsey at Hasidic rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's home, where dozens gathered to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah. A machete-wielding man later identified as Grafton Thomas entered Rottenberg's home stabbed five people before fleeing the scene.
"The toll might have been worse had those assembled not fought back, hitting the intruder with pieces of furniture, forcing him to retreat," the New York Times reported.
Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described it as an act of domestic terrorism.
"On this final evening of Hanukkah, a celebration of light overcoming darkness, Jane and I send our love and support to our Jewish brothers and sisters during this difficult time," Sanders tweeted Sunday night.