lawmaker in Washington state
is facing criticism for wearing a yellow Star of David during a speech to protest vaccine
On Saturday, state Rep. Jim Walsh
(R-Aberdeen) was giving a speech to conservative activists at a church in Lacey when he attempted to compare the concept of vaccine passports and mandates to the Holocaust
, which killed 6 million Jews during World War II
“It’s a historical echoe,” Walsh wrote on a Facebook
page that featured a video of the event, adding, “In the current context, we’re all Jews.”
Unsurprisingly, Holocaust educators such as Dee Simon of the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle
found Walsh's remarks offensive.
“Our government is attempting to protect their own citizens, not kill them,” Simon told The Seattle Times. “It not only trivializes it, but it distorts history
Walsh told the New York Times
on Tuesday that he was given a Star of David by someone at the event, and that most attendees wore them, and that some of the organizers are "deeply concerned about vaccine passports and vaccine segregation
The Times reported that while Washington state does not currently require people
to be vaccinated against COVID-19
, the state Department of Labor
and Industries is requiring employers to verify employee vaccination
status before lifting masking requirements in their workplaces.
Walsh attempted to justify the Holocaust comparison by citing a debunked story about Danish citizens wearing Stars of David to protect the country's Jews, according to the Times.
He also appeared to dismiss concerns that wearing the Star of David in this context would be offensive to many people, telling the Times that “some people are offended by having to provide vaccine documentation at their work.”
“I have no control over who is offended by what,” he added.
Walsh is the latest politician to claim that encouraging people to get inoculated against COVID-19 is the same as being sent to a concentration camp due to religious persecution.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
(R-GA) was heavily chastised in May for comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, for which she later apologized after visiting the Holocaust Museum
in Washington, D.C.