October 6, 2015

Via The Intercept, a conflict between security and a couple of activists at his Boston rally Saturday that was triggered by a Sanders staffer:

Among those visitors were a number of young activists from Boston Students for Justice in Palestine, who were curious about Sanders’ position on the occupied territories. They had a sign with them; in a playful nod to one of Sanders’ campaign slogans, it simply asked, “Will Ya Feel The Bern For Palestine?” The activists say they were well-received by other Sanders supporters in the crowd.

But staffers working for a candidate widely viewed as one of the most progressive members of the Senate were apparently not happy. Security was made aware of a threat: Some students who support Sanders were holding a sign with a question on it. A tactic right out of the Bush campaign “playbook” went into action.

“They told us to either put the sign away or leave,” said Sana Hashmani, one of the student activists. “We asked why, and they said that Bernie’s campaign staff had said the sign had to go.”

There had been no signs of trouble previously. The pro-Palestine group was doing nothing unusual — except, perhaps, for daring to question Sanders about territories occupied by Israel, of which Sanders has been a not-entirely-progressive supporter. “When we got there and entered the overflow space with our sign, people were supporting us and taking pictures, and other people had signs talking about various social issues as well,” Hashmani said.

In a brief cell phone video of the incident, security staff can be seen threatening to arrest the students if they didn’t leave the premises.

Two days after the students were ejected, a day after the group posted about the encounter on Facebook, a Sanders 2016 spokesperson acknowledged a campaign staffer was behind the ejection and that an error had been made. “What happened was a poor decision by a low-level staffer and doesn’t reflect campaign policy,” the spokesperson said.

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