It has been reported that at a demonstration held outside Westminster yesterday, an anti-vaccination protester claimed that wearing the yellow star that was forced upon Jews during the Holocaust was the “ultimate tribute” to Holocaust victims.
The protester, identified as Jeff Wyatt, wore a yellow star armband with the words “Not Vaccinated” written below, as well as the German translation of “Nicht Geimpft”. “It’s the ultimate tribute – because where we are heading is where the Jews went,” Mr Wyatt reportedly said.
He added: “Bear in mind in the 1930s, the Nazis didn’t just suddenly become the tyrants they were – they slowly had their evil way over the public of Germany. And the Jews, for years and years, said ‘just do what they say’ – and eventually they gassed them.”
The individual is believed to be the same Jeff Wyatt as the former Deputy Leader of the For Britain Movement who stood as a UKIP candidate in Milton Keynes. The For Britain Movement has been described as a “far-right UKIP splinter group” and has been accused of antisemitism and racism.
On a video uploaded to the official YouTube account for UKIP Cambridge & SE Cambs, Mr Wyatt can be seen talking to the camera at an anti-lockdown rally from last year whilst holding a sign that reads “No Gestapo Policing”.
This is not the first time that the yellow star or comparisons to the Nazis have been used by anti-vaccination demonstrators.
In April, protesters at an anti-vaccination rally held in London were pictured wearing the yellow star. Comedian David Baddiel took to Twitter to share a photo of a woman wearing the yellow star, accompanying it with the caption: “Take. That. Off.”
Footage taken on 13th July showed Piers Corbyn comparing vaccinations to Nazi policy outside the Houses of Parliament, despite being arrested after a similar incident in February. The video shows Mr Corbyn and another man standing in front of a sign which reads “No Nazi forced jab” and yelling “arrest Matt Hancock” through a megaphone.
The inflammatory and misleading comparison has also been used among international anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown circles.
Earlier this week, we reported that antisemitic protest signs have prompted hate speech and incitement of violence investigations in France. In addition to this, several people have been spotted wearing yellow stars. In March, organisers of an anti-vaccine demonstration in the city of Avignon were described as “brainless” by Eric Ciotti, the Deputy (parliamentarian) for the region, for using the Nazi yellow star in their protest. Joseph Szwarc, a Holocaust survivor, spoke out against these acts, saying: “You can’t imagine how much that upset me. This comparison is hateful. We must all rise up against this ignominy.” With tears in his eyes, Mr Szwarc added: “I wore the star, I know what that is, I still have it in my flesh. It is everyone’s duty to not allow this outrageous, antisemitic, racist wave to pass over us.”
Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.