The Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party has doubled down on his previous comparison of unvaccinated people to Holocaust victims which he made as part of a fundraiser advert.
In a Facebook post on the Oklahoma Republican Party page last Friday, Party Chairman John R. Bennett posted a link to a fundraiser accompanied by an image of a yellow star that resembled those which were forced upon Jews during the Holocaust.
The star had the word “Unvaccinated” written on it, along with “2020-ID-No V-123-666” and an image of a microchip. This was accompanied by the caption: “Limited access to travel with their State, Province or Territory. The bearer may not fly, cannot enter a pub, restaurant, club or theatre. Has limited access to either work, buy and sell goods or have access to services and healthcare. WAKE UP PEOPLE – is this sounding familiar?”
Below the image of the yellow star were the words: “Those who don’t KNOW history, are DOOMED to repeat it.”
Top Oklahoma Republicans, including Governor Kevin Stitt, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, released a joint statement condemning the post.
The statement read: “It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine — developed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed — to the horrors of the Holocaust. People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust.”
However, in a nearly seven-minute-long video posted to the Facebook page of the Oklahoma Republican Party on Sunday, Mr Bennett defended his actions. He said: “The Star of David, when they put that on the Jews, they weren’t sending them directly to the gas chambers…this was leading up to that. They’d give them a star to put on them. They couldn’t go to the grocery store, they couldn’t go out in public, they couldn’t do anything without having that star on their shirt. Take away the star and add a vaccine passport.”
He added: “If we don’t do something now, it’s going to end in the same exact result as we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told that they had to wear that star. So instead of supporting liberty and freedom here in Oklahoma, they said I shouldn’t have referenced that star. Well, it’s not about the star. What it’s about is a totalitarian government pushing communist agenda…and forcing people against their own liberties to get this vaccine.”
In April, a Kentucky rabbi criticised the state’s Libertarian Party after it also compared vaccine passports to the yellow stars which Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.