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Lexington rabbi responds to Ky. Libertarian Party comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 12:20 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Jewish leaders are criticizing Kentucky’s Libertarian Party for comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust.

Rabbi Shlomo Litvin told us, because of Passover, he didn’t see this tweet from the Libertarian Party of Kentucky until Monday night.

Jewish leaders are criticizing Kentucky’s Libertarian Party for comparing vaccine passports to...
Jewish leaders are criticizing Kentucky’s Libertarian Party for comparing vaccine passports to the Holocaust.(WKYT)

The tweet says “Are the vaccine passports going to be yellow, shaped like a star, and sewn on our clothes?” It’s a reference to the yellow Star of David that was forced to be worn by Jews during the Holocaust.

Rabbi Litvin told us he wasn’t surprised, but he was disappointed.

“It’s morally wrong to make this comparison, but it’s not an uncommon one, unfortunately,” said Rabbi Litvin, Chabad of the Bluegrass. “In fact, it’s a growing issue of using Holocaust comparisons to make literally any political point you want to make.”

There has been talk of private businesses using a vaccine passport to identify those who have been vaccinated. Tuesday, the White House said that wouldn’t be issued by the government.

Rabbi Litvin said comparing the two minimizes the horrors inflicted on millions of people.

“When you suggest that the vaccine passport, which again is a controversial idea, is the same as a yellow star you’re suggesting those who don’t have it will be shuttled in cattle cars to camps to be gassed. You are suggesting that not having one would be grounds to be shot in the streets. To be assaulted, to have your beard torn off, your body. These are things which happened to Jews on a daily basis in Europe,” Rabbi Litvin said.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday the Kentucky Libertarian Party said, while the tweet may have been insensitive, it was in no way antisemitic. They also said it started a conversation that needed to be had.

For Rabbi Litvin, that conversation is one that shouldn’t include comparisons to the holocaust.

“It’s certainly condemnable, there’s nothing here that’s unforgivable,” Rabbi Litvin said. “They weren’t calling for a holocaust. They were merely engaging in a light form of Holocaust denial. Which is a major problem. But the way to counter such a problem in my opinion is with education, specifically moral education.”

Rabbi Litvin said he saw responses to the tweet from people who were painting all of Kentucky as anti-Semitic. He said that isn’t the case and, in fact, the state is at the forefront of fighting anti-Semitism.

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