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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Antivaxxer Del Bigtree is RFK's Comms Director

  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 wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

He just picked an antivax activist as his communications director.

In 2019, the Anti-Defamation League objected to one of his tactics:
The Star of David trend gathered additional momentum in late March, when anti-vaccine activist Del Bigtree took the stage at a “Parents Call the Shots” event in Austin, Texas, to rail against vaccines.

Bigtree, the chief executive of ICAN (Informed Consent Action Network), quoted from Rev. Martin Niemoller’s Holocaust-era poem “First They Came,” then referred to the Hasidic community in Rockland County, NY, where many parents have refused to vaccinate their children, and which is currently experiencing a measles outbreak. “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.” As the crowd cheered, Bigtree pinned a yellow “No Vax” Star of David to his lapel.

Poland’s Auschwitz Memorial and Museum quickly rebuked Bigtree’s theatrics: “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.