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

A commentary by a founder of Jews for Justice/Justice for Jews, who is also a director of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

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 B.C. 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.

Organizers failed to tell you that the doctors in Nuremberg were on trial for human experimentation and mass murder and that Joseph Mengele was an enthusiastic Nazi who conducted the most ghastly experiments. What kind of people use the anniversary of their trial to denounce public health measures that have saved many lives?

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.

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.

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 people.

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 per cent of Canadian millennials do not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and an alarming 22 per cent have not, or are unsure if they have, even heard of the Holocaust.

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.

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 health-care 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 a virus for which we have no cure, one that threatens mob rule over democracy.