Walsh’s “note below” was another response he made to a similar comment, writing: “During WWII, when the Nazis told the Danes that Danish Jews had to wear yellow stars, the Danes ALL wore yellow stars. So the Nazis couldn’t ID the Danish Jews. It worked. The Nazis focused their evil efforts elsewhere.” Trying to analogize public health officials’ pushes for Americans to get free vaccinations—proven to literally save the lives of anybody of any race, creed, or religion—against the global pandemic that has been raging for more than a year and a half with Nazis creating identification symbols for Jewish citizens in areas the Nazis had invaded for the purpose of later “deporting” them to concentration camps where they would be exterminated … is offensive.
It’s offensive to the millions of Jews murdered during the Holocaust, and the millions more Jews whose families were destroyed by the Holocaust. It is offensive to history. It isn’t even a real thing. Just like the myth of self-determination that racists and antisemitic slanderers like Walsh believe, the myth that the Danes all wore yellow stars in solidarity—or that King Christian X of Denmark wore a yellow star in solidarity with his countrymen—is just that: a myth. The myth has some truth to it in that when the Nazis occupied Denmark, the Danish did not turn their backs on their Jewish brothers and sisters. But this easy-to-digest oversimplification of how people struggle against history and form solidarity in the face of real fascism is bogus.
Dee Simon, executive director of Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity, told the Seattle Times: “Our government is making an effort to protect their own citizens, not kill them.” This is the seemingly simple-to-understand reason why Walsh’s theatrics are deeply offensive to so many people. On Tuesday, Walsh said that he had been given the star by someone at the conservative-organized event and that “most attendees were wearing one.” Funny how all of those Germans, Hungarians, Polish, Slovakians, Romanians, Croatians, Bulgarians, French, Italians, and Norwegians wearing swastikas during the 1930s and the 1940s said pretty much the same thing in my recollection.
While the state of Washington has not mandated vaccinations against COVID-19, it has created a requirement that businesses that want to lift their mask requirements must also verify that their employees are vaccinated.
“I won’t say publicly whether I am vaccinated or not,” Walsh said, likening his stance to the film “Spartacus,” in which former slaves, under threat of crucifixion, refuse to identify the title character to a Roman general.
Walsh also likened any disparate treatment of unvaccinated people to the Supreme Court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld “separate but equal” racial segregation laws targeting African Americans.
Walsh’s rhetoric isn’t rooted in anything more than a whitewashing of history, placing himself and mostly white people on the receiving end of the foot of oppression. The irony of course is that at every point in the history Walsh is coopting for his political gain, a person almost identical to Walsh was the oppressing force. When it was mentioned to Walsh that the appropriation of such a serious symbol of hatred and oppression and unimaginable violence might just be considered offensive to lots of people, Walsh gave this third-grader’s response: “Some people are offended by having to provide vaccine documentation at their work.”
This analogy only works if in providing vaccine documentation to your workplace you were subjected to being arrested, having all of your possessions taken from you, your family split up, and then were forced to work on a labor camp until you were murdered by the state—violently. That’s what the yellow Star of David meant to Jews during the Holocaust. That was in fact the purpose of those yellow stars in the first place: to mark people for extermination.