Robert F. Kennedy Jr. invokes Nazi Germany in offensive anti-vaccine speech

2022-01-24 11:59:29

“Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could possibly, you could possibly cross the Alps into Switzerland. You possibly can conceal in an attic, like Anne Frank did,” stated Kennedy, a outstanding anti-vaccine advocate, in a speech on the Lincoln Memorial. “I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met individuals who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was attainable. Many died, true, however it was attainable.”

Kennedy’s traditionally inaccurate anti-Semitic comment ignores the truth that Frank and a few 6 million different Jews had been murdered by Nazis. Frank, who was a youngster on the time, hid in an attic within the Netherlands, not Germany, earlier than she was caught and was despatched to a focus camp, the place she died.

The Auschwitz Memorial responded to Kennedy in a press release on Twitter, saying, “Exploiting of the tragedy of people that suffered, had been humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany – together with kids like Anne Frank – in a debate about vaccines & limitations throughout international pandemic is a tragic symptom of ethical & mental decay.”

The son of former Legal professional Basic and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy has an extended historical past of spreading vaccine misinformation.

Whereas there isn’t any nationwide vaccine mandate overlaying all Individuals, numerous cities across the nation, together with Washington, have required proof of vaccination for entry to many eating places, bars, gyms and different personal companies. The federal authorities mandated vaccines for federal employees, however a federal decide in Texas blocked the administration from implementing it on Friday. The administration’s try and mandate vaccines for giant companies was blocked by the US Supreme Court docket earlier this month, though it allowed a vaccine mandate for sure well being care employees to enter impact nationwide. Some companies have voluntarily mandated vaccines.

Sunday’s occasion, billed as a protest in opposition to vaccine mandates, featured audio system repeatedly spreading misinformation about vaccines and showcased a number of bigoted comparisons to the Holocaust. At the very least one man was seen displaying a yellow Star of David, which Jews had been required by legislation to put on as an identifier in Nazi Germany.

Whereas language referencing totalitarianism was widespread all through the speeches, references to the Holocaust had been discovered largely on indicators, considered one of which learn, “Make the Nuremberg Code nice once more!” and one other learn, “Convey again the Nuremberg Trials.” The Nuremberg Code delineated “permissible medical experiments” on human topics and acknowledged that such experiments have to be for the nice of society and fulfill ethical, moral and authorized ideas. The code was established in the course of the prosecution of German medical doctors who subjected Jews to torturous medical experiments.

One other signal with clear anti-Semitic sentiments learn, “Corrupt, N.I.H., Large Pharma Mafia, Large C.D.C. Cartel; Large Fraud Media: Your circumcision is dividing America! You all have foreskin-blood stained cash in your thug arms!!”

Different attendees donned apparel and held indicators that promoted former President Donald Trump or that attacked President Joe Biden. Many additionally wore shirts with “Defeat the Mandate,” the title of the occasion. Organizers secured a Nationwide Park Service allow for as much as 20,000 individuals for the occasion. Protesters began on the Washington Monument and marched to the Lincoln Memorial, the place audio system addressed the group.

CNN’s Joe Johns spoke to 3 girls — Kim Cogswell, Christina Patterson and Erin Nichols — who traveled from Pennsylvania and Maryland to Washington for what two of them stated was their first-ever large-scale protest. They stated the dearth of freedom is their greatest frustration with vaccine mandates, although none would say confidently they thought the vaccines had been protected.

Cogswell stated she is a well being care employee, “in order that has introduced me out right here because of the points that I’ve had with my job and my present vaccination standing.” Requested what sort of points, Cogswell stated, “A number of points with HR and medical doctors treating me in a different way and discriminating in opposition to me due to my, my selections.”

Patterson stated she works within the college system however says she hasn’t confronted private backlash at work for not being vaccinated.

The three vaccines accessible in the US are protected and efficient at stopping extreme Covid-19 sickness and demise. They had been studied in massive medical trials that included 1000’s of individuals, and greater than 210 million individuals in the US have been absolutely vaccinated because the vaccines had been licensed for emergency use by the US Meals and Drug Administration.

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention says the advantages of vaccination outweigh the dangers, and it continues to watch for potential issues of safety. Some individuals expertise transient, delicate negative effects comparable to headache, muscle ache and swelling on the injection web site after vaccination, the CDC says, however severe issues are uncommon.

In November, the CDC reported that unvaccinated adults had 13 occasions the chance of testing optimistic for Covid-19, and 68 occasions the chance of dying from Covid-19 in contrast with adults who’re absolutely vaccinated and boosted.

Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this report.

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