The Washington Post

Answering question on Israel, Bernie Sanders tells townhall hecklers to ‘shut up!’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 24. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(This post has been corrected. On second reference it referred to Sanders as a Democrat. He is an Independent.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has little patience for being heckled.

The self-described “socialist,” often named as a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016, fought with constituents over Israel and the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza that escalated into an angry screaming match.

At a town hall meeting in Cabot, Vt. over the weekend,  Sanders began to answer a question about the conflict by saying that Israel had “overreacted,” but that Hamas was firing missiles into Israel from “populated areas,” and later said the militant Palestinian Islamist group did not want Israel to exist.

Several people in the audience began screaming over each other at Sanders.

“Excuse me, shut up!” Sanders yelled. “You don’t have the microphone.”

“You know I don’t want police officers here,” Sanders began to say.

“What, are you going to arrest people?” a constituent challenged.

“No, I’m not going to arrest people, but are you going to allow us to have a discussion?” Sanders shot back.

After some more yelling, Sanders said, voice raised, “I’m trying to answer a question and I do not want to be disturbed.”

And even after that, there was more heckling and some profanity directed Sanders’ way.

Progressives have wanted Sanders to be more forceful in condemning Israel. Before Congress’ August recess, the Senate passed a resolution unanimously reaffirming its support for Israel. Sanders did not object, but he also did not sign on as a co-sponsor. As the Daily Beast writes, Israel puts left-wing politicians like Sanders in a tough spot because their base can be critical of Israel, but not taking a pro-Israel position is politically risky.

Here’s the video of the town hall confrontation:

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Colby Itkowitz · August 20, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.