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"My father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland. He came to this country fleeing anti-Semitism and fleeing violence and fleeing terrible, terrible poverty," Sanders said.
"And that is the story of millions of people."
Sunday marked the eighth and final night of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. A night before, a man burst into a holiday party at a rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, and stabbed five people.
Sanders said that attack was another example of the need to stand up to hate.
"We're seeing people stabbed yesterday in New York City because they were Jewish. We are seeing people being assaulted because they are Muslim," he said.
"If there was ever a time in American history where we say 'no' to religious bigotry, this is the time."