Your Political Position is no Excuse for Antisemitism

Karli Applestein, Opinion Editor

Over the past few months, I have witnessed several antisemitic behaviors. Many are using COVID-19 to prompt their actions, and it has taken a huge toll on my life as a Jewish person. 

The Holocaust was a genocide, and a global pandemic is not the same thing. A picture went viral on the internet of a group of people equating those who are not vaccinated with those forced to war Jewish Star pins, replicating the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. The individuals in the photo put the word, “unvaccinated” on the star. So many things about this hurt, but the thing that stands out to me most is the fact that people took our symbol, The Star of David, and used it to defend themselves from choosing to not do something, that is killing thousands. The stars were used as a form of identification during the Holocaust, and to put a negative label on Jewish people. Replicating that now is soul-swallowing, and almost makes me think that those individuals see the Holocaust as a joke. 

Another issue that has come to surface is the harsh comparison of the mask mandate and protocol to the way the Nazi Party ruled over the Jews. When I first heard about this, my immediate reaction was confusion. Apparently, the trend of comparing masks mandates to Nazis is escalating worldwide. The Nazis were ordered by Hitler to kill as many Jews as they could, and mandatory mask-wearing is not deadly. In fact, it helps stop deaths as much as possible. Again, I view this perspective as people trying to downplay the Holocaust and failing to recognize the sadness and excruciating amount of deaths that were involved in it. This also signals to me that there is a huge piece of the story missing in a lot of people’s depictions of what happened. If people were continually getting educated on the subject, I believe that these situations could have been avoided. 

The most recent event that took place was the hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Congregants were held hostage in their local synagogue for 11 hours, and a terrorist was welcomed, in true Jewish spirit, into the shuul for tea. The victims were then trapped and worrying for their lives and praying for help to arrive. Pure kindness was taken advantage of, and the small grain of goodness in the world’s rice bowl was crushed. My heart is ripped in half. It sucks everything out of me to know that people who inhabit the mind of Adolf Hitler are still out there, running loose. While the suspect was captured, who knows how many alliances he may have. To live in fear of my identity is something I would never wish on anybody. 

Antisemitism is an illness, and people weaponizing it for their own political purposes can kill us.