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Sunday, July 16, 2023

Antisemitism and the Antivax Movement

 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.

RFK Jr. has floated the lunatic theory that COVID is a bioweapon that somehow spares Ashkenazi Jews.

There are deep links between the antivax movement and antisemitism.  From previous posts:

Dr. Peter Hotez:

Antisemitism was always part of the far right, and here it manifested in two forms: One, there were direct antisemitic threats against Jewish doctors and Jewish scientists. More commonly, however, anti-vaxxers were invoking Nazi-era imagery and statements…kind of to mess with your head. These people would not only compare vaccines to the Holocaust but would claim that vaccines were a violation of agreements made at Nuremberg, along with requests to see doctors hanged or executed after Nuremberg-style trials. They would compare people like myself or Anthony Fauci to Josef Mengele. So, there were direct antisemitic threats, but it was more commonly the heavy use of Nazi imagery that I interpreted as a form of intimidation.
Media Matters:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s group Children’s Health Defense sought support from users of the far-right social media platform Gab in 2021, including white supremacists, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and an open neo-Nazi.

Anit-Defamation League:

In recent months, some anti-vaccine activists (known as anti-vaxxers) have appropriated the yellow Star of David badge, which some European Jews were required to wear during the Holocaust, to symbolize their “persecution” at the hands of government vaccine rules.
At least two protesters displayed Nazi symbols during an anti-vaccine protest outside a Jewish lawmaker’s office in the Bronx on Sunday.

One woman held a poster that included the image of a swastika and a man wore a yellow Star of David affixed to his jacket during the protest outside the Kingsbridge office of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, according to photos provided by the legislator.

Dinowitz blasted the symbols as “repugnant and offensive” in a statement posted to Twitter.

 Washington Post:  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.