Being anti-vaccine is, decidedly, not a very smart position to stake out. I’m not telling you that you don’t have a right to be against vaccinating yourself, or your child. I’m just telling you that making an active decision to eschew vaccines that on the whole prevent infectious, deadly diseases from wiping out our species is, well, dumb.
If being against vaccination is dumb, then what some anti-vaxxer protesters have started to wear is triply, monumentally so. According to the Anti-Defamation League, some in the anti-vaccine crowd have started to wear something Nazis made European Jews wear to identify them more easily. If you know even the littlest bit about the Holocaust, you know that Hitler made Jews wear yellow Stars of David, sewn onto their jackets, and now the ADL says that anti-vaxxers are wearing them voluntarily, to identify themselves as being against vaccines.
The stars, emblazoned with the stylized words “No Vax,” are showing up on social media, especially on Facebook, and at anti-vaccine events. This is a hugely inappropriate use of this enduring symbol of the persecution of Jews by the Nazis during World War II and minimizes and trivializes the experiences of the survivors and victims of the Holocaust. (ADL)
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The CEO of the ADL, Johnathan Greenblatt, didn’t mince words in a statement about the anti-vaxxers’ idiotic fashion statement.
“It is simply wrong to compare the plight of Jews during the Holocaust to that of anti-vaxxers. Groups advancing a political or social agenda should be able to assert their ideas without trivializing the memory of the six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.”
Dale Bigtree , a leader in the anti-vaxx movement, is credited with being the mastermind behind choosing to wear the badges. At a rally in New York, Bigtree referred to a Hasidic Jewish community in the state that does not vaccinate their children, and then told them he was going to wear a Star of David in honor of their religious beliefs. If you believe that, I have a bridge from San Diego to Israel to sell you.
“How will we know if you’re not vaccinated?” Bigtree shouted in a mocking tone, referring to measures the local government is taking to bar unvaccinated children from public spaces. “How will we know to arrest you? Maybe we’ll do it the same way we did the last time. So for you, for all the Hasidic Jews in New York, who never thought this moment would come, I stand with you! I stand for your religious convictions. We will let you believe in your God.”
It really is striking how tone deaf Bigtree is. His stunt was so repugnant and offensive, the Auschwitz museum in Poland issued a statement, harshly criticizing him for it.
“Instrumentalizing the fate of Jews who were persecuted by hateful anti-Semitic ideology and murdered in extermination camps like #Auschwitz with poisonous gas in order to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a symptom of intellectual and moral degeneration.” Other organizations, including ADL, weighed in with similar condemnations.
The fact is, European Jews were forced to wear the badges before they were marched off to camps, where they were killed en masse. It’s beyond offensive and stupid for the anti-vaxxer crowd to start willingly wearing the badges. To put their “struggle” on the same level as Holocaust victims shows them as being even more out of touch with reality than one would presume someone who is against vaccination is.
Of course, let’s be fair — there is some likely unintentional genius behind anti-vaxxers choosing this symbol. After all, if they grow in size enough, they could help wipe out a few million people themselves. The last people to wear the yellow Stars of David were victims of genocide, but hey, i guess in 2019 it makes sense for the next people to wear them to be perpetrators of accidental genocide.
Vaccines don’t cause autism. You don’t catch autism like you catch a cold anyway, but as we always like to reiterate around here when discussing anti-vaxxers, because it’s a primary concern of theirs, VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.
Cover image via Anti-Defamation League.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.