As another Holocaust Remembrance Day came and went Thursday, Jewish groups expressed their growing alarm at the trend among anti-vaxxers of comparing COVID safety protocols to the systematic murder of 6,000,000 Jews before and during World War II. They warn that this tactic is likely to increase anti-semitic sentiment and action across the U.S., and the world.
Most recently, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told a rally of Washington, D.C., anti-vaxxers that exterminated teen Anne Frank had it better than Americans who don’t want to get the shots, saying, “Even in Hitler Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.”
This forced Kennedy’s wife, Curb Your Enthusiasm actress Cheryl Hines, to issue a statement calling his comments “reprehensible and insensitive.”
Kennedy joins a long line of noteworthy individuals who have recently invoked the Holocaust when they’ve felt that COVID-related rules are impinging on their freedom.
Earlier this month, Republican Ohio Congressman Warren Davis tweeted an image of D.C. COVID rules juxtaposed with a photo of a Nazi Germany “gesundheitspass,” which he claimed was a “health pass” from that era, adding, “This has been done before. #DoNotComply”.
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) January 12, 2022
In fact, such documents attested to the holders’ “racial hygiene,” and Davis was quickly condemned by the Auschwitz Memorial, the American Jewish Committee and other Jewish organizations around the globe. The Rep. tweeted a semi-apology, writing, “Bad things happen when governments dehumanize people.”
During yesterday’s remembrance in Israel—where vaccine protestors have taken to wearing yellow Stars of David like the ones that marked European Jews for extermination—the Diaspora Affairs Ministry released a 152-page report stating that such “widespread” comparisons by anti-vaxxers were helping to spread anti-semitism around the world.
“There are people so fraught with hate who can, when faced with such imagery, be tipped over into action,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai tells Reuters.
Also this month, Utah-based Entrata co-founder and CEO Dave Bateman was forced to resign and divest his holdings in the multibillion-dollar tech firm after sharing his anti-Jewish paranoia in an email accusing “the Jews” of using the vaccines to “exterminate billions” and “consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule.”
There are also plenty of anonymous Holocaust-exploiters stirring the bile.
As The Hill reports, fliers have been found in California, Colorado, Nevada, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin which read, “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish,” followed by a list of health agency officials and pharmaceutical leaders who are Jewish.
Max Sevillia, the vice president of government relations, advocacy and community engagement at the Anti-Defamation League, tells The Hill that the U.S. is undergoing a “trend of callous disregard for the facts” which “creates a narrative that unfortunately has serious consequences.”
Sevillia continued, “It’s basically accelerating a callous disregard for the impacted communities, the feelings of the Jewish people, but it also ratchets up tensions and has the consequence, the potential consequence, of leading to demonization and further antisemitism.”
Former Israeli Chief Rabbi and concentration camp survivor, Israel Meir Lau—whose parents and brother were murdered by the Nazis—told Reuters, “Please leave the word ‘Holocaust’ for the Holocaust—and nothing but it.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.