When Anti-Semitism and Vaccine Refusal Converge https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/politics-current-affairs/2021/08/when-anti-semitism-and-vaccine-refusal-converge/

August 13, 2021 | Ben Cohen
About the author: Ben Cohen, a New York-based writer, has contributed essays on anti-Semitism and related issues to Mosaic and other publications.

As fears over the delta variant of the coronavirus have risen, so the rhetoric of those who don’t wish to take the vaccine has intensified. In its wake, the anti-vaccine movement brings anti-Semitism. Ben Cohen writes:

To begin with, there is the nauseating use of the Judenstern, the yellow “Jews’ Star” the Nazis forced Jews to wear on their outer clothing, with the word “Jew” replaced by “Not Vaccinated.” This visual appropriation of Nazi genocidal policies towards Jews as an analogue for the social difficulties that vaccine refusers are bringing upon themselves has been alarmingly widespread—so much so that in June, the city of Munich banned the display of the Judenstern from the vaccine-refusal demonstrations that have proven chillingly popular in Germany. Only last week, flyers bearing exactly this imagery were distributed on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Then there is the comparatively even less subtle rumor mill insisting that Jewish business moguls are getting fat off vaccine profits. A study conducted in June by a group of academics at the University of San Martin in Argentina revealed that more than 30 percent of Argentines strongly agreed with the statement that there are “laboratories of Jewish businessmen who seek to profit financially” from the vaccine with another 7 percent concurring with that statement to a lesser extent.

It would be comforting to believe that in a few months, with a fresh wave of vaccinations in place, these calumnies will have faded from view. While it is reasonable to think that a decline in vaccine refusal will similarly impact pandemic-related anti-Semitic propaganda, these beliefs will always find a ready audience within the hardcore of remaining vaccine refusers, whose rhetoric will become even more violent and apocalyptic.

Read more on JNS: https://www.jns.org/opinion/not-vaccinated-how-refusal-is-spreading-the-virus-of-anti-semitism/

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