French anti-vaccine protests compare themselves to Jews in Nazi Germany, sparking criticism

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French anti-coronavirus vaccine protesters who compared themselves to Jews in Nazi Germany have received widespread condemnation from across the country.

As The Associated Press reported on Monday, more than 100,000 demonstrators marched around France on Saturday, some wearing yellow stars similar to the ones Nazis forced Jews to wear. Others carried signs referring to the Auschwitz death camp and the South African apartheid regime.

While at a ceremony commemorating victims of racism and antisemitism by the French state, Holocaust survivor Joseph Szwarc reportedly said of the protesters, “You can’t imagine how much that upset me. This comparison is hateful. We must all rise up against this ignominy.”

“I wore the star, I know what that is, I still have it in my flesh,” Szwarc continued with tears in his eyes, according to the AP. “It is everyone’s duty to not allow this outrageous, antisemitic, racist wave to pass over us.”

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal also condemned the “absolutely abject comparisons” while stressing the continued for vaccinations.

“We won’t cede to a dictatorship of images and outrageous words,” Attal said of the protesters.

The AP reported that the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism accused the protesters of “mocking victims of the Holocaust” and minimizing the crimes that took place during World War II.

More than 1.3 million people in France last week signed up to receive vaccines after French President Emmanuel Macron said COVID-19 passes would soon be needed for many daily activities beginning in August.

Tags anti-vaccination Antisemitism COVID-19 vaccine Emmanuel Macron France Racism The Holocaust
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