OPINION: Comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust is absurd and dangerous

Hundreds gathered on the steps of the Legislature to protest on the anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors' trials. Their equation of vaccine passports with the Holocaust, Michael Bloomfield argues, is offensive

By Michael Bloomfield
December 9, 2021

OPINION: Comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust is absurd and dangerous

Hundreds gathered on the steps of the Legislature to protest on the anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors' trials. Their equation of vaccine passports with the Holocaust, Michael Bloomfield argues, is offensive

Photo: Capital Daily
Photo: Capital Daily

OPINION: Comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust is absurd and dangerous

Hundreds gathered on the steps of the Legislature to protest on the anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors' trials. Their equation of vaccine passports with the Holocaust, Michael Bloomfield argues, is offensive

By Michael Bloomfield
December 9, 2021
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OPINION: Comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust is absurd and dangerous

To compare the Holocaust and vaccine passport policies is beyond stupid and unkind; it is dangerous. And yet the scourge of Holocaust exploitation was on full display on Thursday at the BC Legislature.

An anti-vaccination rally organized by Common Ground magazine chose to disrespect the memory of Holocaust survivors and victims to express their opposition to COVID-19 vaccinations. They chose to demonize the elected officials and public health workers who have worked tirelessly to protect us from the ravages of COVID-19.

“Just as our parents and grandparents fought the Nazis in the 1940’s to protect our democratic freedoms, we are fighting these medicalized fascists and their corrupted government actors now,” reads a post promoting the rally.

The foundation of our democracy is the right to vigorously debate the issues that matter to British Columbians. However, these debates must be grounded in reason and truth. False, offensive comparisons to the Holocaust harm that foundation and the gross insensitivity to Holocaust memory is disturbing in the ignorance of Jewish suffering revealed. 

During the Holocaust, the Nazis used the yellow star to isolate, humiliate, and mark Jews for murder. The yellow star is an unambiguous symbol of Jewish pain and horror from which our community is still recovering, not a cheap gimmick to disagree with public policy. It is a deep-seated symbol of Jew-hatred and systemic persecution used by caliphates, churches and despots.

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Earlier this year, British Columbia and other governments announced a vaccine passport, which led to false, toxic, and distorted comparisons to the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. 

Anti-vaccine protesters wore yellow stars during a Sunshine Coast holiday craft fair and protests in Quebec and elsewhere and these aberrant ideas already have had real-world violent consequences. Just last week, a German man who is reportedly part of that country’s anti-vax Querdenker movement (members of which wear yellow stars in protest) murdered his entire family apparently out of paranoid fear related to vaccine passports. 

The horrors of the Holocaust are in no way comparable to a vaccine passport policy. The former was the systematic murder of six million Jews and millions of countless other people. The latter is a policy to protect the public, which simply inconveniences those who aren’t willing to be vaccinated.

Now, more than ever, we must be vigilant to preserve Holocaust memory. According to a comprehensive 2019 Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey by the Claims Conference an astonishing 62% of Canadian millennials and Gen Z do not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and an alarming 22% have not, or are unsure if they have, even heard of the Holocaust.

Photo: Capital Daily

More Holocaust education is urgently needed to combat misinformation and preserve and honour the memory of the lives lost. We must ensure these horrors are never repeated against anyone, anywhere, for any reason. At the same time, we must ensure they are not invoked to spread misinformation about public health.

Proof of vaccination protects lives and means greater freedom and safety. Businesses are open again; we can celebrate the holidays with friends, neighbours, and loved ones. We can attend public events. Our healthcare system can resume long postponed treatments.

COVID vaccines are a ground-breaking scientific achievement and vaccine passports are a logical, practical, science-based approach to keeping us safe. If you object you have choices. You can organize, protest, take legal action and vigorously debate but these debates must be civil.

Baseless comparisons between pandemic policy and the systematic identification, humiliation, persecution, imprisonment, deportation, and murder of Jews are absurd, disrespectful, and dangerous. Such comparisons not only trivialize the Holocaust and all genocide; they are symptomatic of virus for which we have no cure, one that threatens mob rule over democracy.

Michael Bloomfield is an educator, environmentalist and human rights advocate.

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