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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

RFK Jr. and Anne Frank

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong.  

A leading anti-vaxxer is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  Yesterday, he appeared at an "anti-mandate" rally in DC.  In recent years, he has invoked the Holocaust, and he did it again this time.  (His remarks were inaccurate as well as abhorrent. The Nazis did find Anne Frank, in Amsterdam.)  UPDATE:

Andrew Jeong at WP:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. drew quick public criticism, including from his wife, on Monday after he compared the U.S. government’s vaccine mandates to the Holocaust actions of the Nazis, invoking Anne Frank to imply Jews then had more freedoms than unvaccinated Americans today.

... [H]is latest remarks drew especially strong condemnation for invoking Frank, a child who died in a Nazi concentration camp. “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” Kennedy said at a anti-vaccine rally in the District of Columbia on Sunday, speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial.


In a statement a Kennedy spokeswoman sent to the Associated Press on Monday, he said he “compared no one to the Nazis or Adolf Hitler.” 
“I referred to Anne Frank’s terrible two year ordeal only by way of showing that modern surveillance capacity would make her courageous feat virtually impossible today,” Kennedy said.

It was not the first time Kennedy invoked the Holocaust in reference to vaccines. In 2015, he said of vaccinations: “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months ater their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

For years, Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and author, has publicly supported the conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism. They do not.

In 2005, Kennedy incorrectly wrote in an article published in Rolling Stone and Salon that an ingredient in some new vaccines, thimerosal, was dangerous and that the government was hiding its links to autism. Rolling Stone issued several corrections. Salon retracted the story from its website. Kennedy expanded the article into a book published in 2014.